Before The Hippodrome opened its doors, the owners were adamant that they would be innovative with their gaming proposition, embracing technology that would enable them to offer a unique central London casino. A key part of the Hippodrome’s floor is R Franco’s Tombola Roulette, which fits perfectly with the approach of the casino’s owners.
Hippodrome owner Simon Thomas says that part of the reason for their success is because they fill a gap in the UK market – a market which demonstrates a clear appetite for a quick roulette-style game, as the booming FOBT market will attest. Simon said the machines are doing well in his establishment: “Tombola Roulette machines are increasingly popular. The product fills a gap in the market; there’s a huge demand in the market, clearly, for fast roulette games, which currently only bookmakers can provide because they can have an electronic random number generator. That means they can have a game cycle of just 20 seconds; in a casino, with an actual traditional wheel, to get a random result you’re talking about a much longer game cycle. By using the Tombola Roulette – which instead of having 37 pockets and one ball has 37 balls and one pocket and produces exactly the same result as a roulette wheel – it has a materially quicker game cycle, of about 20 seconds.
“If you look across the country there is over £1.5billion spent on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, so the demand for a 20-second roulette cycle is evident.We know that gamblers often want a quicker result, and the trick for me was to have all of the fun of a roulette game in terms of betting structure, while delivering a decent random result more quickly than a conventional roulette wheel. But a truly random result, unlike a concern a player might have with an electronic random number generator.
Having the customer starting the game, the tombola drum, gives them a feeling of control which also helps.”
Serious casino product
It’s an unusual-looking cabinet, with the tombola wheel physically present on top of the cabinet, something which Simon admits is unusual – but it’s not harming their takings. He said: “They look, at first glance, like possibly a novelty game but we’re finding the average spend per game is going up as people realise it’s a serious casino product. It’s good, and getting better.
“We have three on the ground floor, two on our smoking terrace and one in the bar area which is an area we’re moving more gaming in to.
“The machines on the smoking terrace are doing very well, but our more ‘hardcore’ gamers are playing the ground floor.”
Restrictions on slot-style machines grate with many operators though, and Simon is no exception. He added: “It’s clearly a nonsense when a casino has the highest level of regulation, player protection and social responsibility that we can’t deliver product with the same game speed as you can get in a betting shop. And being limited to 20 slot machine terminals when there are hundreds of thousands of slot machines all around us, is obviously also a nonsense. So to have a roulette product with a decent speed game cycle in an upright terminal, ticks an awful lot of boxes.
Thomas is effusive in his praise for Tombola Roulette developers R Franco, who are already investing in the next cycle of Tomobola Roulette products. “I recently came back from Madrid to see R Franco, and the product has seen sufficient success to enjoy further development and investment. There is a 23” widescreen model being produced as we speak, as opposed to the current 19” screen; the 23” is more comparable to other roulette cabinets out there,” Simon enthused.
Benjamin Fernandes, International Sales Director, R Franco:
“We have a unique product in Tombola Roulette. The mechanical device on the top means the player gets what they see, it is totally random. Everybody knows how roulette plays, and with this the customer can see the extraction of the winning number ball. And it’s much faster – a wheel takes upwards of 30 seconds in Roulette, but this takes a fraction of that time. So the casino makes more money, because the customer can play more.
R FRANCO WOWS ASIA
The G2E Tradeshow held in Macau witnessed R. Franco’s Tombola Roulette essence of gaming presented hand in hand with RGB Games, their local distributor for Asia. The event received a large number of casino and bingo visitors and operators searching for new and different products to offer additional gaming and entertainment alternatives and incentives to their clients. Tombola Roulette stood out as it is a completely novel roulette model that starts from a bingo card and leads to a genuine roulette game in two forms: a physical drum on the upper side of the cabinet with the numbered balls, and also a second Slant Top cabinet.
Guaranteed and supported by its success at London Hippodrome Casino, Aspers London and Aspers Northampton, Tombola Roulette’s state-of-the-art technology, technical features and design made it stand out and become a product integrating every feature that provides an arcade with a special hallmark, a unique and differentiating touch. Indeed, it is a unique game within its category, completely developed by R.Franco, which meets and exceeds demanding client expectations.
Mr. Jesús Franco headed the delegation for the event, accompanied by Ms. Mª José Gallardo, Benjamin Fernández, Marcos Marugán and José Miguel Esteban, who strengthened their commercial links with RGB executives.