Bally Updates System i Gaming Systems
November 18, 2008 Alex Woodie
The slumping economy has dropped Las Vegas tourism 10 percent, a decline not seen since 9/11, but that isn’t stopping the gambling industry from showing off the latest and greatest technology at the Global Gaming Expo, which is being held today through Thursday in Sin City. The big dog of the market, Bally Technologies, will also be flashing some new goods, including a new release of its i OS-based casino management software, a new command and control center, and, of course, lots and lots of new slot machines.
Bally provides a variety of products to casinos. While players may know Bally best for the slot machines they play for hours, the company also develops the software that connects the one-armed bandits to the back-office servers (usually System i machines) that track the money and the players.
This software is available from Bally in i OS, Windows, and Unix flavors, and includes the Slot Management System (SMS), Casino Management System (CMS), and Table Management System (TMS) series of products. For large casinos that need it all, Bally offers ACSC, which is a suite of i OS-based products that combines CMS and SMS functionality, and integrates directly with the i OS-based Hotel Information System (HIS) and Lodging Management System (LMS) products from Agilysys and other vendors that are also commonly found in the world’s biggest casinos.
This week at the Global Gaming Expo, Bally will unveil the version 11 releases of ACSC and SDS, which is a slot accounting system that runs on Unix and Windows. ACSC version 11 brings better support for international markets, a new Universal Player Card capability, and a new GUI that replaces the green screen, according to Bally. SDS version 11, meanwhile, gains support for multiple currencies and languages, as well as new systems monitoring capabilities.
Bally will also be demonstrating a new command and control center for what it calls “the networked floor of the future.” Equipped with Bally’s Business Intelligence Solution, the control center will use data analytics and graphics to give casino managers real-time information on the performance of their business–the performance of their slot machines and table games, in other words.
The command and control center includes pre-built metrics for player behavior and trending, player-game interaction, and player loyalty and value. Based on this information, casino managers can develop targeted marketing campaigns on the fly, Bally says, and hopefully boost their revenues and profits.
Solutions like the command and control center are crucial for casinos to remain competitive in the bad economy, says Richard Haddrill, CEO of Bally Technologies (and formerly the CEO of another big i OS ISV, Manhattan Associates). “In today’s challenging business environment, the best way to be competitive is to give players a great experience at the right cost,” Haddrill says in a press release. “The new technologies and games that we are showcasing at G2E provide casino operators with exciting and innovative ways to both increase play and manage floor and player-marketing programs more efficiently, thereby driving enhanced profitability.”
Bally also released its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2009. The gaming industry proved resilient for Bally, which recorded revenues of $237 million, a 26 percent increase from a year ago, and earning per share of $0.52, a 41 percent jump.
The Las Vegas-based company also narrowed its EPS forecast for the remainder of 2009, from the previous estimate of $2.10 to $2.50 for the full fiscal year to $2.15 $2.45. The company’s stock, which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, has been hammered this year, down from a high near $50 to a current low of about $17, and now features a ridiculously low price/earnings ratio of about 9.