Casino Online Interview Ahead of the game April 17, 2020 By Owain Flanders Cathryn Lai, SVP Product Management and Product Marketing at Scientific Games, speaks to Gaming America about gaming innovation and the supplier’s plans for 2020. This interview was conducted before the coronavirus pandemic. You’ve been at Scientific Games for close to six years now. What are some of the most important developments you’ve seen in the business during that time? If we’re talking about the past five to six years, we have gone through a lot of mergers. That is one of the strengths of Scientific Games, that we’ve been able to bring together some of the biggest brands through the Bally brand, the WMS brand and the Shuffle Master brand. Through that, we have been able to bring all the great content and unique games that come from these studios and put it into one package in the form of a Scientific Games product offering. That has been the strongest attribute on our roadmap that has propelled us forwards. You took up your current role over a year ago now. What have been some of the main challenges you faced as Senior Vice President of Products and Marketing during that time? I think we have a lot of great technology that we have been trying to push out in the past year, so trying to get that aligned across the business and their product lines has been, not so much a challenge, but more of an opportunity. We have great content on the propriety table games side, so we have been trying to leverage all of the great findings and great ideas to make strong this proposition that comes from Scientific Games. Also, we have had to ensure all the different product lines and the commercial side are all talking to each other and offering a full Scientific Games offering. What were Scientific Games’ proudest achievements of 2019? We were proud of a lot of things. We launched our Wave XL cabinet and that has been a very successful cabinet for us. It has this new age curve 49” display and has been getting a lot of strong performance in North America. We put it in both gaming ops and for sale. We launched Table Master Quartz at the end of Dec 2019 which is our next generation table electronic game quartz product. That’s been growing very quickly. A major part of your role is product innovation. How does Scientific Games stay ahead of the game in terms of product development? There’s two parts. There’s the technology piece and the game design piece. I truly believe we have some of the best game designers in the industry. They’re from all over the world because we have global studios. We have a really good understanding of each unique market. We also leverage a lot of our insights and analytics. We have strong insights and analytics team so we can really focus on the player and making products for the players and segmenting it correctly. We do a lot of focus group testing so I think that really makes us make stronger and better games. From a technology perspective, we also think beyond gaming. We are one of the leaders at looking at technology. You’ve probably heard a lot about the vision technology we’ve been working on, such as chip recognition, and thinking about how advanced learning and object recognition can be leveraged into our game play and services. A lot of people are moving to mobile commerce with non-cash handling, so we have had a lot of innovations in that area too. It’s really about being able to bridge across, not just gaming, but sports betting, our digital offering and our lottery offering with these new technologies. This is the Scientific Games ecosystem. Is there something a younger consumer requires from a casino gaming product that is different to an older demographic? We have been trying to target younger demographics and we know that card games and more social elements are important to the younger generation. We will create games where you can earn an award that offers prizes for everybody in a joint bank to create more of a community style to gaming. That is an important thing we have been driving. Also, our whole electronic table games segment is popular with the younger demographic. Younger players like to play poker and blackjack so we look to bring them from the table onto our electronic table games. That’s been a big opportunity for us. What are the most exciting markets for you right now? There’s a lot of exciting markets for us right now. First and foremost our core is North America which is our biggest revenue generator, but we are everywhere. Australia is a big exciting market for us. We’re number one in the Asian market in Macau. Even in North America we have gotten into historical horse racing, and class II is a very big market for us. We look at all of the opportunities globally and make sure we are investing our R&D resources where we can get the most profit. What is the focus for 2020? At NIGA we’re going to be launching two new platforms. We have this cabinet called the Twin Star Matrix which is a new dual screen. We are going to be launching it as a for-sale product and a gaming operations product. We’ve also got some new strong hits that we’re very excited about including a new game called 88 Fortunes Gong which we will be showing in gaming operations with a game called Penny Pier, which is from our Australian studios. It has been doing very well over there so we’re bringing it over.