Anaxi exclusive Q&A: Enhancing the player experience for Tribal operators

December 7, 2023
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SVP Product & Technology, iGaming at Anaxi, Josh Morris, and VP, iGaming Strategic Partnerships & Operations at Anaxi, Mohsen Ghazizadeh, speak to Gaming America about Anaxi's latest launch, mobile-on-premise, and what it can offer Tribal operators and players alike.

Tell us about any developments that Anaxi has been working on since G2E?  

Josh Morris: G2E was great for us this year. It represented a year of Anaxi being out in the market. In that time, we made a lot of progress that is focused primarily on getting some of our brands to market. We've been launching with multiple new customers in multiple markets. We're live in six different territories now, we have multiple customers and we have a selection of content that we've brought to market; both Aristocrat content, the likes of Buffalo Classic, which was in the market at G2E, and some of the Roxor brands that came across with the acquisition of Roxor. We're really building our portfolio in the market and building up partnerships with some new key partners in the industry. 

But since G2E it's been very busy and we're just keeping going on that trajectory across Anaxi, launching with new customers in additional markets. There's a lot of work going on with new integrations for us. Most recently, we've had the next game in the Buffalo franchise go live and that's Buffalo Gold; it has now launched into New Jersey and it is imminently about to launch across Michigan and Pennsylvania. We’re very excited to see that rolling out with several of our customers in North America. I neglect to mention probably the most obvious point... that's obviously our very significant launch in the last week, which relates to mobile-on-premise. 

Speaking of that new partnership with WinStar and Chickasaw, can you give us any more details, now that it has finally launched? 

JM: There's been a lot of focus on this as a project for us and we see it as very much a strategic initiative for Anaxi. What it does is it gives casino guests on Tribal land the ability to play some of the leading Aristocrat Class II games through their mobile devices. It's an exciting step forward for us in a really exciting partnership that takes Anaxi into a new genre of gaming. Mohsen, who leads the product on our side, has been working very closely with the team over at WinStar to bring this to life. 

Mohsen Ghazizadeh: The partnership is the start of a very new era in Tribal gaming, I would say, because of the fact that up until now, it's been the traditional way of gaming. The Tribes have been very used to this and have established themselves with traditional land-based games and slot machines. Right now, we have basically pioneered a different avenue, which would open up a ton of possibilities for them. We are extremely excited about this partnership, but we worked very hard for it as well; it's been tremendous. Chickasaw Nation has been gracious to work with us on all levels to ensure this project moves forward and it actually goes live. 

How do you think this is going to help Tribal gaming operators improve the customer experience?  

JM: I think there is an opportunity to broaden the experience and create a deeper relationship with players. The transition into a mobile device lends to a different and involved kind of relationship with the player, so what we see is there are some really hugely popular class II games. The likes of Mr Money Bags, Polar High Roller and Hot Red Ruby to name but a few. What this does is it extends the relationship between the player and some of those key brands around a mobile device within the ring-fenced area on Tribal land. 

So it allows the operator to build a closer digital relationship with the player, whether that be digital registration through to digital play. We see across the whole of Anaxi, we see the evolution of gaming, coming closer and closer together over the next five to 10 years between iGaming and land-based. We think this is a really interesting, strategically important step forward within that arena of working with the Tribes. 

Do you think we're seeing more Tribal operators going online compared to years gone by? 

JM: Yeah, I think it's a highly relevant area of expansion and opportunity for Tribes and I think we're going to see a lot of focus in this area in the years ahead.  

So would you say Tribal gaming operators are a key area for Anaxi,. Are you trying to partner with more? 

JM: Absolutely. Tribal relationships are fundamentally important for Anaxi and Aristocrat as a group. The relationships we hold with our Tribal customers are seen as hugely important for the group in general. Through mobile-on-premise, now we have an additional way to build closer relationships with our Tribal customers and we see this expanding as we move forward. 

MG: One point to add here is that the offering we're doing with mobile-on-premise specifically is, for the most part, we are trying to enhance and better the customer journey that the Tribal operator is already trying to improve. So, it's for us to become a shoulder to help them out as much as possible on that journey. The enhancement of their customers’ experience and journey is at the top of their agenda and certainly mobile-on-premise is something that has been deemed to genuinely help out that journey. 

Discussing mobile-on-premise a bit deeper. Would you be able to tell us more about how the technology works for both the operator and the players themselves?  

MG: As Josh mentioned, it is an application which can actually be played on Tribal land. Through the platform, we are offering converted slot games to mobile applications. The technology used has geofencing applications to fence out players, ensuring gaming only occurs where it's allowed; and it certainly prevents players from playing the slots where they're not supposed to. The mobile-on-premise is a hybrid of a land-based and mobile application. What's unique about this application is that we utilize the existing CMS and existing PAM (Player Account Management) to bring this experience into the customers. 

Although what we prefer is to have it in an environment that actually integrates with our own brands and with our own offering and products. But that certainly has not limited us to what the Tribes already have, to basically integrate with it and get it to work. In the case of Chickasaw, it's been an integration of four or five different brands and technologies to make sure that this thing actually does come into life. We certainly have provided the backbone and the engine for the entire thing. One other thing to also know and, again, I keep bringing this up, mobile-on-premise is a casino within a casino. 

For this thing to work, it has to be able to provide a certain level of casino experience and how the player is validated to work. Those are some of the procedures we had to build into it. So that's why I always call this a hybrid. 

What are your plans going into 2024? 

JM: 2024 is a really big year for Anaxi. We will very much be continuing along the path we're already on. So, this is about forging deeper partnerships with our customers, getting our products live in more markets around the world and bringing a broader catalogue of Aristocrat brands into the market, as well as some of the legacy Roxor brands. We've got a really exciting roadmap of new content coming, which sees a lot of big-hit titles from the casino floor coming into iGaming. Those are the likes of Cash Express, Luxury Line, Jackpot Carnival, as we grow and we expand, but we'll also be bringing in some of the daily free game experiences and putting them alongside the Buffalo brand; this should really work to drive engagement and o push incremental value. 

From a mobile-on-premise perspective, it's very much about rolling out our partnership with WinStar and learning as we go. As Mohsen said, there are complexities in terms of the technology and how this comes together; but we see it as a real opportunity to learn, to get closer to players, to get closer to our Tribal customers and to build deeper partnerships for everyone as we go forward. So, we will be learning as we go and very much looking to understand how we can expand the mobile-on-premise offering into the market more broadly.  


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