What does the future of casino gaming look like?
Well, just imagine, for a moment, being on a cruise, playing the tables at the casino, and you hit a patch of rough waters. Well, Jackpot Digital, it seems, has thought of this.
They signed a deal in 2017 with Carnival Corporation, supplying electronic table games for the cruise ship industry. The company’s dealerless casino machines have successfully captured the cruise ship market since then and Jackpot Digital has now begun introducing its revolutionary casino machines into the huge land-based, regulated casino market.
The company’s proprietary next generation gaming platform is ‘Jackpot Blitz®’, which allows casino guests to play table games such as poker, blackjack, baccarat and more on a digital, dealerless platform while allowing casinos to operate with far more efficiency, flexibility, and profitability.
Joining us today to discuss future growth of the company and where it sits within the industry is CEO, Jake Kalpakian. Hello and welcome to our little slice of internet.
TMH: Jake, you’ve said before the company’s time is NOW. Can you elaborate on why that is?
Jake Kalpakian: Sure. After Covid hit or came across we got hit very hard because our business was with the cruise ships, but what we’ve seen now is a move towards dealerless electronic tables for many different reasons. Primarily the biggest is the cost for the operators. They like the fact that they don’t have to have dealers. It costs less to operate. They actually make more money because they get more hands per hour and there’s no operational headache, but more than that, technology has come a long way and that’s of course nothing to do with Covid and it’ll only continue to improve.
When these first the dealerless poker tables were introduced, there were very rough antiquated tables. The first generation of those tables no longer exist. When we took over the business, we wanted to make sure that we won the hearts and minds of the players because as I mentioned, from an operator standpoint, it’s a very easy decision, you make more money, you have less expense and you have no operational headache – of course you want that – but the technology has come such a long way that players now like enjoy playing on the table because they don’t feel like they’re playing on a computer. They’re actually playing against each other but on a dealer’s table and the technology now allows you to bend the cards, splash the chips and there’s many other products or features that we can add to the table.
Consider this Brieanna, think of this product or this table, not as a poker table but as it is being described to us, it’s a smart table disguised as a poker table and when I say that, it’s basically a giant iPhone where people sit around, socialize and can play, and yes, the initial applications have been for gambling, but the applications can be much more universal and that can include board games and many other products. So what we thought what we would create was a smart table and that’s how we entered into the industry, we factored in and let’s build a great social game such as poker on these tables and then build out more features and games and more apps, so to speak on this table.
TMH: I spoke earlier to the company signing a deal with Carnival Corporation, what do the numbers/sales look like for Jackpot on the cruise ship level?
Jake Kalpakian: Well, we have pretty much a monopoly in the cruise ship industry for our tables. The tables were originally designed for the cruise ship industry which doesn’t have the same regulatory requirements as you would need on the land-based side. Now the cruise ship industry has been very good to the company, and we continue to look at building and strengthening our position there. We’ve added other customers as well since then and we’re looking to expand our footprint there, but the real blue sky is the land-based regulated industry that’s 99.9% of the market and we’ve made a very conscious decision to get into that market and we’ve improved the product significantly since we first entered the space in 2015. And the real upside of blue skies I mentioned is that land-based side, and we’ve made a lot of improvements to the table. Consider that we have our own internal tech team that will continue to add more features and enhancements. Just like on your iPhone, you get more upgrades, the same will be true with these tables.
TMH: The tables that Jackpot make cost less to operate. Why do you think this was not thought of before, and what issues, if any, have you run into getting this company off its feet when it was first established?
Jake Kalpakian: Well, when we bought the assets of a previous company and got into the business, the tables were already somewhat antiquated. They were just one game with one way of funding the table and it just was very cumbersome or onerous for a player or for an operator. We felt that if we were going to make a significant impact in the industry, we had to change it where it was a much more diverse product. So it took two or three years to build the product out. We completely had to start from scratch with our second-generation product and then the regulatory requirements are very heavy in our industry and we’ve been dealing with that over time and we’ve been addressing those so that we could get into the land-based business. Right then as soon as we were ready, Covid hit and that basically really threw a hurdle in everything we did, but we took that time to improve the product and focus on building a significantly better product with many more features and here we are today poised to reap those rewards.
TMH: Can you explain what makes it so attractive for casinos to utilize your technology?
Jake Kalpakian: Well, with poker, which is a hobby of mine and it’s become a big pastime throughout the world now, it’s a low yielding profit for a casino. They have a lot of expenses with the dealers. They have to have dealers on staff all the time. Running tournaments is not that lucrative but yet they still have to do that. Many times there’s no action and so it’s a low yielding business and what we wanted to do was take that expense out for the operators but we wanted to do it in a way where the technology made it so much fun to play. When you go to our tables and play poker, you still get the social atmosphere or the aspects of being able to play with other people and have fun doing it as if there’s a dealer there.
Of course, you’re playing against each other but there’s so many other things you can do like side bets and other features that keep the players engaged. If you go to a poker room today, almost worldwide you’ll see that the players, if they’re not involved in a hand, they’re on their phone or iPad playing on a different online site. They don’t have to do those type of things with us because we give them so much more action and stimulation on our table that even if they’re not involved in the hand itself, they’ve got many other things to do that keeps them engaged and that’s a very big plus and something that the operators now are seeing is very popular with the players with our product.
TMH: What does growth look like for your company in the coming quarters and years?
Jake Kalpakian: We’re very excited. We think we have a Goldilocks opportunity. We basically have the dominant position, if not a monopoly in the space with these electronic poker tables and what we want to do is focus and strengthen our position in that space globally and then build other products inside the table and expand our footprint. As far as growth is concerned, we have about 70 plus tables out right now in the marketplace, but we think we’ll significantly add to that over the next 12 to 24 months. You should see enormous growth in the space as we get more and more jurisdictional approvals to license our product. Right now our bottleneck is not demand believe it or not. We have enormous demand and it’s really from all parts of the globe, the only bottleneck we’re facing is getting licensing, which we do get, but it takes time and money. Other than that, we’re well on our way to some significant growth.
TMH: And you spoke about having a monopoly? Do you foresee the company continuing to lead the way or are there other companies starting to come up?
Jake Kalpakian: Well, we’re always keeping an eye out on the marketplace. Covid basically knocked out virtually any other competition. Of course that competition can come back at some point, but this is a very interesting point you bring. I think there’s only space for one or two players in this actual segment of electronic tables, of which we are certainly one of them. I don’t know as far as to the best of my knowledge of any others. The issue is with electronic tables or slot machines when you go to a casino, you’ll see slots for instance are the most popular product out there, and that’s because the bigger companies that have bigger deeper pockets can license and pay for those titles, but for poker, you can only play poker so many different ways and I think if someone takes a look at our tables, we’ve perfected that and we continually add more games and features, so it’s very difficult for someone I think to catch us from a product standpoint. So, we are well on our way, I believe, in cementing our dominant position and expanding our footprint and with that other opportunities are starting to come about in other segments of electronic tables.
TMH: Now Jake, I am not known to frequent the casino. How easy and enjoyable would it be for someone like me to play on a Jackpot Blitz table?
Jake Kalpakian: Well Brieanna, there’s something for everyone on these tables. We’ve designed the tables so that we have an anchor customer, meaning the poker players themselves and they’re fully engaged with the different side bets that they have, different features that just wouldn’t be possible on a regular table, but if you’re not a poker player yourself, there are other games that you would be able to play on. For instance, you’ll be able to play blackjack, or if you’re playing poker and you’re not involved in the hand, betting on side bets similar to options trading in the stock market. So there’s many different other features for any type of player or other games. On top of that, as I mentioned earlier, we believe that the applications for this table are universal and you’ll start seeing you’ll be able to play board games, the traditional board games you may play at home at the casino and many other different options. So consider this as a smart table that just is disguised as a poker table.
For more information, please visit Jackpot Digital.
FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by The Market Herald.