International Game Technology’s Sabby Gill recently expanded his regional Vice President role from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, to include the Latin America region with the exception of Mexico, which is being managed by the North American Sales team. Gill is excited to be part of this multi-faceted and vibrant region; and talked to Ricki Chavez-Muñoz, International Editor, about his new role and IGT’s participation at last November’s SAGSE Expo in Buenos Aires.
RCM: How do you see IGT’s role in Latin America under your leadership?
Sabby Gill: “In view of the vibrant pace of growth in the Latin American market, both in sales volumes and in the number of strategic territories and initiatives spanned by our company’s plans, my priority will be to underpin growth by building on our relationships with our customers.
This will be done by abiding by two principles: that we establish with our customers a climate of mutual reliance and that we, as a company, endeavour to understand the business environment inherent in each particular territory.”
RCM: IGT was the first major company to enter the Latin American market in 1994 based on sound customer service foundations with undeniable quality products. How do you intend to improve on this?
Sabby Gill: “The foundations for reliance call for predictability. Our predictability will allow customers the tools necessary to better plan their businesses with us on their side. As we become familiar with each operator’s business environment we gain an understanding of the preferences of our customers’ customers: the players. We also are able to focus on impact of new rules and regulations, not only on the current games and systems, but also on the new technologies that soon will be adopted in the region, such as IGT Cloud, Interactive and server-based game theme management.
RCM: At previous SAGSE Buenos Aires shows, IGT always showcased some of the latest games and technology and had great visitor reaction. Tell us about the games you showed in Argentina.
Sabby Gill: “At G2E, we had a sneak peek of the enthusiasm that our Latin American customers felt as they flocked around our new market-attuned products. These themes combine the gameplay and rich graphics that appeal to players in this region. At SAGSE, we showed our Latin Treasures progressive games as well as Recuerdos Dorados, Tango de Oro, Fiesta Chihuahua and Día de Muertos.
“We also showcased the Spanish version of CSI, where players may select their city of choice, be it New York, Miami or Las Vegas. And, attendees will also be interested in our new DoubleDown platform of “For Free” or “For fun” interactive games available to operators“.
RCM: How important is the Latin American region for IGT?
Sabby Gill: “This is one of the few regions in the world where the industry has had and still has growth potential. There are countries with a lengthy history in gaming whilst in others the gaming industry is a relatively new concept.
“There are jurisdictions that encourage investments in tourism infrastructure in exchange for the grant of gaming licenses. There are still other jurisdictions that require the gaming halls to enhance their offerings to include restaurants and shows, in order to offer more options to their residents. Governments seem keen on standardizing and regulating the industry, which speaks of a desire to maintain the industry while protecting against the risk of unlawful activities. For IGT, this represents another chance to assert our leadership by contributing to the sustainable growth of the industry in the region.”
RCM: What will IGT have as its principal focus will be for the Latin American market in 2013?
Sabby Gill: “We will be focusing on underpinning our growth through excellence in the relationships with our customers and an ever-deepening understanding of their particular business environments throughout the region. We’ve redoubled our efforts to develop region-attuned products, not only in terms of themes and games, but also by focusing on technologies, systems and services.
“IGT is in a position to supply our customers with services in the following areas: marketing, coaching and training as well as knowledge management. It has now become a habit for us to organize seminars and courses and we intend to keep doing that throughout 2013.”
RCM: In spite of the government restrictions on imports to Argentina, it seemed that you were doing great business during SAGSE Buenos Aires 2012. Did this business come from Argentina as well as other regional markets?
Sabby Gill: “The importation restrictions are something that we, and everyone, have to deal with in the country. We remain committed to Argentina and the business we have built over many years continues to be a key focus. We will do whatever it takes to build, grow and support our customers. There are not many manufacturers that continue to invest to the degree that we do. If you look at the statistics from SAGSE, there were 6,959 attendees this year, down 50 from last year with 36 less exhibitors. This meant that we had more concentration, which is the best thing you can have with a smaller overall foot print for that traffic to visit. Approximately 74% of the attendees were from Argentina and the rest were from surrounding countries. Some 60% of the interest we saw and potential orders for the coming months was indeed from Argentina and the rest from the Latin American region. It was very encouraging to see that this was more than a show for Argentina.”