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11 February 2016
By John Grochowski
Growing player acceptance has brought a whole new world of opportunity to providers of electronic table games, so much so that Rob Bone, president, North America, for Interblock, personifies the company as a 25-year startup.
“Good people, technology and innovation make for a great player experience,” said Bone, who is confident Interblock is poised to rise to the top among electronic gamemakers.
For Interblock, North American success has come fastest and biggest on the East Coast, especially in New York where live table games are not permitted. A mix of fully automated and dealer-assisted tables with electronic betting pads, along with multiplayer and single-player units, offer casino operators to tailor their floors to fit customer demand.
Why would players choose an electronic table game?
“One thing I really want to convey is that the odds are exactly the same,” Bone said. “If you’re playing at a blackjack table, a roulette table, any live table anywhere around the world, we offer the same odds or better. You also have the ability to play at your own pace.
“A lot of our customers use our games to manage budgets. Whereas a live table game might have a $25 minimum bet on blackjack, we’re able to have no labor and provide them with a $5 to $10 minimum. It gives them a little bit more time on device, it gives them more ability to manage their budget.”
The most popular electronic tables so far have been roulette games such as Interblock’s Organic Roulette. It uses a physical roulette wheel, just like live tables, except instead of the dealer releasing a ball, it uses air pressure to launch the ball, then tracks it with optical and proximity sensors to detect the final position so payouts can be made on the electronic betting pad.
Bone is confident player acceptance will be coming to other games, too.
“Our biggest message to players now is that we really want to be the dominant choice for all electronic table games, baccarat, craps and blackjack as well roulette,” he said.
Electronic formats open the door to some extras. On blackjack, there’s a Lucky Aces side bet. Live tables have side bets, too, but on electronics, the automatic payouts mean the side bets are handled without slowing the game.
On roulette, baccarat and craps, streaks are tracked and information relayed at the touch of the screen. If you want to know what numbers have been coming up most often, the recent win percentages on red or black, or on the columns or dozens, that’s all there.
“With electronic table games, and I think we do it the best of anyone, we convey that patterns, the statistics and the history of what has happened,” Bone said. “Every play is independent, but customers like to bet on a winner or a loser. That’s a large trend with the Asian community in baccarat.”
Last fall at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, Interblock introduced another innovation: the Pulse Arena, which melds entertainment and gambling at dealer-assisted tables. Games, lighting, music can be rethemed instantly.
“It’s a dynamic, thematic customizable area that we can make work anytime Monday through Sunday,” Bone said. “We can get a discotheque environment on Friday and Saturday, jazz on Tuesday, and cowboy theme on Wednesday. We’re already signing deals not just because of the electronic table games and the dealer-assisted nature of it, but the thematic experience we can create in this area."
It’s just a beginning, said Bone, who promised, “There’s much more to come. “
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