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Ever-evolving Bulgarian slot manufacturer Casino Technology has acquired a dynamic new license in Penthouse; Sharon Harris finds out more about this exciting synergy
The alliance makes perfect sense. For decades, gaming has functioned as adult entertainment, as has the “Penthouse” and “Penthouse Club” brand and lifestyle. Both categories have steadily expanded to become more mainstream globally. Last year, the two industries blended their resources and product lines to produce exciting new slot machines.
Casino Technology (CT), Bulgaria’s leading slot manufacturer, currently has product installations in more than 50 countries. The company’s new game theme will now use the legendary images and suggestive photos of beautiful young women to launch its new Penthouse Slots series of gaming machines. This lineup will include video slot games, branded slot machines and jackpot systems. A proposed multigame will be available in the PlayMe multiplayer system. The series will ultimately offer a complete product portfolio.
Established in 1999, Casino Technology has selected the Penthouse brand as its first line of licensed products for development. The choice aims to enhance the company’s collection of gaming products through a mutually successful relationship.
Penthouse is a “lifestyle brand” of General Media Communications (GMC). The subsidiary of FriendFinder Networks, Inc. of Boca Raton, Florida is a prominent participant in the Internet-based social networking industry, and is positioned as a social networking lifestyle websites leader.
Casino Technology Vice President Rossi McKee says, “Penthouse provides a great opportunity for a technology company like ours to develop a different product with a unique concept, innovative math and sex appeal. The Penthouse Slots are the first licensed games that CT has developed.”
Going in this specific direction resulted from a deep analysis of the potential marketplace. Their general concept did not immediately call for licensed title games since they have not been popular in Europe and its native markets. Casino Technology hopes to change that scenario in the future.
Two years ago, when Casino Technology decided to actively approach the U.S. market for the first time, it decided to explore all potential opportunities through the development of games under a popular brand. The company’s management had discussed various options that included licensing musical, movie and show brands. They believed that all those choices seemed way too exploited by the other gaming vendors, deciding to seek a different avenue.
McKee says, “Our game scripts were typically based on classic and popular themes, so we went through a search process. Exploring the options, we decided to search for a partner that could provide a recognized brand throughout the world.
The brand would have to simultaneously bring excitement and entertainment, while also offering longevity and room for future creativity. Penthouse appeared to perfectly fit this description. We are very proud that after the long research and negotiation, GMC chose us as their partner in the gaming industry, aiming to work together to further promote the Penthouse brand through our games.”
The actual introductions for the partnership resulted from a mutual connection with veteran executive advisor Roy Student. As Founder/President of Applied Management Strategies, Inc. of Las Vegas, Student has consulted for Casino Technology, and has also maintained a long friendship with FriendFinder Director of Global Club Licensing Jeff Stoller.
All parties approve of the alliance. According to McKee,” It took almost a year to clarify all details in the relationship between GMC and CT. The lengthy process was worth the time and work involved. Going through this process challenged both companies, but it also helped to promote a better understanding of the objectives on both sides.
We enjoyed working with Jeff Stoller in order to develop the concepts for potential cross-marketing opportunities with Penthouse Clubs. We believe that this relationship will work successfully in all gaming aspects and will prove beneficial to all parties.”
Student agrees, stating, “Putting the two companies together was a real coup for Casino Technology. The Eastern European company successfully worked with a household brand like Penthouse when the ‘big boys’ couldn’t. Most of our meetings were in Las Vegas, but a few took place in London.”
Stoller also praises the relationship, saying, “This agreement is a milestone for our brand since it represents the first worldwide license we have given in the gaming category. Casino Technology and its executive team have shown a willingness to go above and beyond the norm. Through their business relationships around the globe, we feel confident that the Penthouse and Penthouse Club brands will continue to expand to new locations and consumers.”
The global venture needed to resolve some time-consuming compliance and trademark issues. The multinational project required legal research and resolution that would satisfy the needs of all involved.
Student states that because Penthouse had always been involved in magazines and clubs, this new venture took time. Now completed, there will be a full-fledged effort to market and distribute the games. “The legal department needed time to familiarize itself with the nuances and terminology when handling the publicity and marketing,” he says.
Stoller applauds Casino Technology for its professionalism. He states, “Since the license was signed, we have seen an enormous commitment on the part of Casino Technology in terms of creative programming, innovative cabinet design and enticing graphics to make the Penthouse and Penthouse Club slots an exciting and important part of their product line. We are anxious to see them in the field and how the marketplace responds.”
The agreement calls for game variations themed to the license, with numerous cross-marketing opportunities and merchandise discounts. The machines will include multiple features, bonuses and jackpots. Using casino locations, Casino Technology may showcase the newest Penthouse and Penthouse Club equipment by hosting on-site Penthouse promotions with Penthouse Pets and Penthouse Key Girls.
Sonia Nikolova, sales and marketing director at Casino Technology, claims, “We have developed a special marketing program that features special events and onsite promotions. These will help operators raise the profile of the new line at their locations, while acquainting the visitors with all of the games’ attractive features.”
In October 2011, Casino Technology introduced the prototypes of the first three Penthouse Slots, “Butterfly Dreaming”, “Umbrella Dance” and “Wild Temptations” at the G2E convention in Las Vegas. These demos received very positive feedback, and were then exhibited at the Bulgarian BEGE EXPO 2011 the following week. They earned the award for the “New Visual Content for Video Game Product” category.
The games feature a snow white cabinet with innovative LED lighting in the series’ brand colors. Called SENSAtional Plus, the special cabinet features seductive “red lips” and additional 22” widescreen toppers, plus illuminated pink lighting on the sides. The cabinet’s sexy design should quietly lure customers to play. Internal sensors activate a seductive voice to use the “Find me, Key me, Play with me” Penthouse Slots slogan to invite passersby to play.
The game’s interactive multimedia screen expands its entertainment capabilities by employing different channels that enhance player enjoyment of the Penthouse concept. This screen also facilitates the Penthouse Players Bonus Club. Frequent players may register for the dedicated program that allows them to accumulate points for play. Like many customer loyalty programs, these points may be redeemed for various member discounts and promotions.
Following approvals from GLI, Casino Technology plans a major European game launch at the 2012 IGE convention in London. The first European location installations are scheduled during the first quarter of 2012. To further distribute products details, Casino Technology will hold a press conference on the first day of the show. Several U.S. installations are also already lined up, pending the finalization of the GLI lab tests.