Table games inventors should take these tips to G2E

Table games inventors should take these tips to G2E

September 13, 2016 3:08 AM
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Roger Snow is vice president for Scientific Games and heads up their table games division. I’ve worked with Roger for more than a decade and together we’ve invented countless successful table games and sidebets.

Together, we’ve seen hundreds of game ideas submitted from inventors. A lot had merit. Even more were absolutely awful. That’s okay. I find a bad game much more desirable than a bad attitude.

With the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) just a couple of weeks away, I think it is a good time to remind inventors of some of the do’s and don’ts of table game inventing, focusing on professionalism.

The first item on my list is don’t send obnoxious, hateful emails to anyone (okay, maybe an ex-spouse). So, someone didn’t like your game. Why burn bridges – in two years, you might have another idea.

Rejection goes hand in hand with trying to invent anything like a table game. You’ve got to learn how to accept it. G2E, which begins in two weeks, is a great opportunity for inventors to get access to many industry people with a single trip to Las Vegas.

Make the most of it, but don’t create a pain of yourself either. You have two potential targets for your game idea, depending on the status. If your game is fully developed, with math and patents taken care of, you can reach out directly to casinos.

Of course, casinos don’t have booths at the G2E. Table games managers are roaming the floors checking out the offerings from the table game companies that have booths.

So, a good place to hang out is at the table games booth. Keep in mind that those guys have paid big money for those booths and the likelihood is the casino personnel are more interested in their offerings than yours.

This doesn’t mean you can’t make “first contact.” When there is a break (perhaps while the casino guys are leaving the booth or done looking over the offerings), present yourself and your game.

This means having a business card and a folder that describes everything about your game. Please don’t dress like you’re a walking billboard. This is Las Vegas, so things are casual, but be dressed in at least business casual. Don’t expect a table games manager to drop everything he is doing to review your game right there.

Your best bet is to try to set up a specific time for a meeting. If you don’t live in Las Vegas, this might mean making sure you’re in town for a few extra days. There is a lot of stuff going on during the three days, and most of their calendars are likely to be full.

Getting a game into a casino as an unknown and without any contacts is a definite longshot. If you don’t know anybody in the casino, I strongly recommend you consider targeting the table games companies and partnering with them. Yes, you won’t get as much per table by splitting the pot, but your odds of getting placements will go way up.

So, would you rather get 100% of nothing or 25% of a very large number? The costs of marketing will be borne by the company instead of you.

If your game is only an idea with fuzzy math and unfinished patents, this is likely your only possibility. The G2E is a terrific opportunity for you. But, these three days are for the gaming companies to show their wares to all the casinos.

The focus is on sales and marketing, not reviewing new game ideas. But, this doesn’t mean they are unapproachable. It just means you have to remember you are not their top priority. Your goal, again, should be a meeting at a set time when no one is distracted.

If the gaming company gives you a business card and tells you to call next week, don’t take this as a brush off. Call them! It can’t hurt. I know Scientific Games (formerly Shuffle Entertainment) reviews dozens if not hundreds of games from the outside every year. They want submissions.

I have no doubt the other companies do, too. It is just about the right time and place. Making the right impression can help, too. Nobody wants to strike a deal with someone who seems irrational. For some of you, this advice might seem obvious. In my 12-plus years in the industry, I’ve seen and heard of too many cases where the obvious is just not done. I’ve yet to see anyone benefit from doing business that way.

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