Getting a new table game on the casino floor is not as easy as a task as some would think. There is a full process of turning an innovative idea into a successful reality. URComped CEO, Craig Shacklett, interviews Money$uit’s President, Brent Weiss, to learn more about Money$uit, the stages of getting a new table game on the casino floor, and what new games players should keep their eyes peeled for. Listen to podcast version.
Topics discussed include:
- How Brent Weiss got into creating new table games
- The preliminary stages of having an idea with potential
- The process of protecting the idea
- How to market a new game to potential casinos
- What happens during the trial stages
- Which novelty games have been home runs
- How casinos determine which games get floor space
- What is Advantage Play 3 Card Fury
Full Transcript Below
(0:00-0:20) Craig Shacklett: Hi everybody. This is Craig with URComped. Another Comped Travel Interview. This one I’m really excited about. Is with Brent Weiss, President of Money$uit Industries. Brent, thanks so much for being here.
(0:20-0:22) Brent Weiss: I appreciate you for having me on Craig. Thanks.
(0:22-0:36) CS: I’m glad I found you because this is a topic I’ve been interested in for a long time about how new games come into the casino. With that, why don’t you tell me about Money$uit and what you guys do?
(0:36-1:54) BW: Money$uit Industries is effectively my company. And what we primarily do is just develop brick-and-mortar table game content. We do work with some on-line distributors and so forth. But primarily I like to deal with brick and mortar. And effectively what we do on our end is we develop the games, go through the patent process, everything of the tech firm the intellectual property. And then you go through the sales process. You know pitching it to casinos
and whatever facilities trying to show them the worth of the product. Bring it in. And then if they bite then you’re going to be the ones to go out train. You want the licensing approvals. Train the staff. Train the players. And then just babysit the game and make sure it all goes appropriately for the most part. So in a nutshell, that’s the table games development company. So how did you get into this business? So it’s actually kind of a funny story with me. I’m not from gaming it all. Completely an outsider. I grew up playing cards maybe a little more than I should have. Gone to casinos maybe a little more. And I grew up playing a game called 31 with my friends that after being in facilities I have never seen it in table games for him. And that’s what kind of made me think like why is this never been done before which kind of kick started me off and brought me into the industry and start developing games. That’s kind of what hooked me into the industry versus what normal people are like dealers are or floor staff or somebody in the business that sees a void that wants to fill it. I was very different. I just grew up playing a game. Never saw it in table games. And kind of roped me into this 12-year process later. And here I am.
(1:54-2:09) CS: So it started out you were kind of scratching your own itch. You were playing a game that you knew was fun. You play with friends. Never saw in the casino. Essentially the business grew out of you trying to get this game into a casino.
(2:09-2:37) BW: Effectively one single game. Back then it was one game, one concept. It was like a family-style game like go fish that we would play together with some buddies. And I was like, “I don’t understand why this wouldn’t work in table game form.” And I didn’t know what I was doing back then. So I tried to learn how to develop a game. And the first one was very inappropriate for life. But you got to start somewhere and learn. So that’s how it started for me. And I like this game. Why wouldn’t it work at table games form? So let’s give it a shot. And I wish I knew would have been more back then. But you gotta start somewhere.
(2:37-2:48) CS: So today is it you coming up with games, try and take the market? Or are you finding people that have game ideas and you help them?
(2:48-3:34) BW: It’s a kind of a combination of both. Myself personally with the games I distribute. Those are all mine. I do help a lot of novice and semi-farther-along developers fine-tune certain things with that. Which we’ll get into a little later. Markets are very different. So it’s very confusing on our end of things as far as licensing approval goes. But I primarily market and sell my own games. But there are some people that come to me and I will happily help them if they need a distributor in certain jurisdictions. I’m licensed. But I’ll do it again. But primarily I work on my own. I’ll either work with some of your companies like Psi games or Galaxy. I’m working out some products. And actually in the past I was licensed staff to DEQ when they were still in business before they got consumed by Valley Tech Psi Game. So I kind of cover the whole gamut from novice to the big boys out there. Effectively with who I work with.
(3:34-3:40) CS: You told us a little bit about your first game. What did you say is it 31?
(3:40-3:47) BW: Money$uit 31 was the first game I ever created. Hence the company Money$uit Industries itself that gives that away.
(3:47-4:02) CS: Okay. So Money$uit 31. Yeah. I want to either use that as an example or another one. But tell us what’s that first stage like? Taken going from an idea to something that you can actually start to protect and sell?
(4:02-5:34) BW: So like you had said, the biggest thing, like you said, is you have to have like a hooker reason for a game to be popular effectively. So when you have to have a game in your head where you’re like, “Well, will this really work?” And you have to think, “Why would people play this game versus other games on the floor like three card or four card or things like that?” The first step you have to do is make the math work. So usually what will happen is as you want to find somebody that you either trust their math. Usually it’s computer scientists to some of these programs have to be pretty fast to figure out all the combinations. But you want to fine-tune the math on a game first. Make sure it works. And then it’s not always just making the math work in a general sense.
Things that you need to look into is return to prevent things like that to make sure that people aren’t just going to be dumping tons of money and that one person is going to win the big jackpot. So the best example there is like a lottery. It’s great to win 25 million dollars but we all know that only one person is going to hit that so everybody else is in the blues. And most likely a lot of those people for doing the table games aren’t coming back. So quick to that game if they never see again. So the first things first is making the math correct. Making sure you have somebody do the calculations for you before you to go somebody that. Before you go to a GLI or BMM get the official look works for the jurisdictional approvals and so forth. And then you know need to make sure you have a catchy name. Whether you’re going to tailor that name to just being something catchy that you think people are going to like. Or if you’re going to target a specific market of fire is like would say you’re going after a pai gow clientele. You’re going to want to maybe have an asian-style femur something with dragon and a title that will kind of war people and say, “Wait. I understand that sounds like pai gow. So maybe I’ll look into it more and actually give you a hook to maybe wore them over the table to at least take a look.
(5:34-5:54) CS: That’s really interesting. So I like that. So you think that’s something I hadn’t thought of prior to this. So you think of a game that would become the platform that you would appeal players from whether it be Blackjack or Pai Gow or something. You try to relate it to a table game and maybe that’s the initial customers pulling them off that table.
(5:54-6:41) BW: Two or three not even that’s really pulling them off. But it’s like we have to have a market we’re channeling to. We all know and even what early on with. When you create a game you think it’s the greatest game ever. It can be the worst game in history. But you’re going to think it’s your baby. I’m going to make a billion dollars off this. That’s right. There’s no issue. But you have to realize you have to sell us to some. So if I’m coming to you with something you’ve never heard of. Well, let’s say I know that Craig likes Blackjack or likes Baccarat. I might create a game and market it and tailor it to like those clients out where I’m gonna have a Baccarat game. So why don’t I have like a player 27. I was making up a name here so that players see it like player 27. It sounds like it can be Baccarat so maybe I’ll check that out. Opposed it as walking down by. So gives you a reason to at least look into it to see if it’s something you want to place a bet on it and can see if it’s entertaining and so on. If that makes sense.
(6:41-6:55) CS: That makes sense. So the first stage, its idea. It’s sweat equity. It sounds like there could be some cost to doing the math. Hiring somebody real smart do the math. Is that generally expensive?
(6:55-8:48) BW: It really depends on who you find. I’ve been lucky to find some mathematicians or computer scientists that do pretty cheap for me. That’s not always the norm to be honest with you. But for the preliminary math if you’re just getting a spreadsheet done from somebody. And I actually said this a few times in other interviews. I use people like Charles Mousseau at Total Gaming Science. He’ll do the probabilities. And like I said that we have to tailor them to make it somewhat appropriate. You can usually get math. I’m not quoting anybody here to price their services. But you can probably get the preliminary math
on for anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a thousand bucks just to get their approval preliminary stuff done so you can then tailor it. And then before you actually launch the game you’re then going to need to move on to like a BMM or GLI. And depending upon the game and the complexity could run you anywhere from like two grand to ten to fifteen thousand depending on how crazy is. Usually not that expensive. But if you ever really crazy Blackjack game
or Blackjack side wager that affects the underlying strategy to Blackjack with all these different shoe games and things like that. It’s going to be rather complex for them to do all those math number crunching and so forth. So you have to expect for that to be a little pricey. But if you’re going for BMM or GLI, you probably have a facility that’s installing the game. So you’re probably spending money to give it a shot. You can make a lot of money in this business.
But I wouldn’t say it’s advisable to do that right away because you have to change math often in this business. You got to learn on the fly and see what people like and hear feedback in order to make appropriate changes. And then the last thing that you kind of need in the preliminary concept phase is you get your logo. So usually before I launch a game or get feedback, I let the preliminary math done with my paid team. But I also want to have a good logo so I can put out the layout together. So it’s not just like I’m presenting you with theory where I’m like this sounds like a great game. What do you think? You’re like, “I have no idea. I can’t see anything, I just hear All these numbers and these pay-outs. Preliminary, those are the two most important things to get them, just love them.
So then you could work from their procedures and literature and so forth. Which we’ll get into a little bit later.
(8:48-9:10) CS: That’s really interesting. So it starts out with an idea that’s free. Sketch it out. Then you do the math which can cost a little bit depending on the complexity. And you can pay to get logo. Then the next step, you have something that you want to start selling. You don’t want to pitch somebody and their great idea and they steal it so you have to protect it. So what’s that process like.
(9:10-13:07) BW: So the protection process is a little complicated. There’s all sorts of different levels of intellectual property. So there’s three different things that you probably want to do on the side of a table game developer. And one of which I’ll save to the end of having stuff is a little complex and makes people’s heads spin a little bit because there’s some interesting things going on there. But first which is the cheapest and easiest I’m a big fan of copywriting all of my literature and so forth. Like my manuals, my game rules. It doesn’t really afford me tons of protection. But in the event somebody rips off a game like you had alluded to before. And it’s the exact same game if I had like my game manual, my game rules copywritten. And they have to submit all the stuff the gaming and the distributing literature fires. It might be directly an infringement of copyrights. So that’s what I like to do. It doesn’t afford me tons of protection. It’s not super expensive but it’s something. And also gives you that time stamp showing that concept that started. Then when we’re talking branding and things which is one of the most important aspects of this business. With game names like Three-Card Poker. Everybody knows that. You’re talking Hold’em, Texas Hold’em. Everyone pretty much knows that. You’re gonna want to trademark the name. So the trademark process is usually around about say like a year and a half or so is when you’ll know if the trademarks going to push through. With that process you have to do a whole search to make sure there’s nothing similar in that
realm. Because if you have an entertainment business that’s pretty much the same name you’re going to ask the trademark infringement issues. So you want to avoid that at all costs. So you usually hire an attorney. They’ll do a trademark search for you. And see you have the game done. They’ll shoot you an email, an opinion letter. And if you want to press forward, they’ll then file the application for you. It’s nothing too crazy on price. Not quoting anybody here. But you can probably get trademarks on from around 2,000, 2,500 bucks all in. Maybe. If this office actions which is if something gets rejected and the attorney needs to stay this is why it’s okay. I’ll have to file responses which cost money and so forth. But other than that the trademark process isn’t that complex. But when it comes to the method now that’s when we’re getting into the patents which is the expensive and long process here. And when you’re coming to patents you can actually patent physical table games, electronic versions. And now we have a lot of social mobile stuff going on-line. So that’s actually not built into a lot of patent things also. And so the process there is similar to trademarks where you are going to do a patent search with your attorney, which is pretty expensive. I don’t want even quote prices. It’s just not fair. Not for me. Whether with anybody. But that takes a little while. And then when if everything is clear and you got the opinion letter from your attorney saying, “We think you have a shot or you’re not infringing upon things are out there.” The drafting an application process can run you anywhere from 5 grand to 15 depending on how complex it is. Whether it’s just a physical game. Or if you have hardware associated to any sort of specialty mechanisms or anything. We get more complex. The attorney you’re going to pay by hour. So we would get pretty pricey.
And then once that’s submitted pretty much nothing happens. It patents to about a year to a year and a half before you get that first office action. And then again, your attorney is going to draft list boxes try to overcome those hurdles and that process can take years from there. Hopefully one day it will get fully protected. So you have full protection on the products. Now one little nuance there is if you’re an aspiring developer and you’re trying to save money. There are two types of patents out there. There’s a Utility Patent, which is the 70-year patent that everybody knows about. Then you have the Provisional. Now the Provisional Patent is very good way for people like us to go. Because a Provisional Patent is a little bit less scrutiny associated because the USPTO actually doesn’t review it. You still should have an attorney due but you file it and effectively gives you an annual placeholder at the USPTO. So your patent pending, theoretically, where if you have a product that works and you’re testing the market for that year before you jump into that huge patent cost. If you have a viable product you get that filing date if you’re provisional for the utility if you transfer it over a year later. And then if you already know that point if your product has any legs, so it could save you 20,000 dollars. If you have kind of a crappy product and you try to sell nobody is hopping on-board, you’re probably not going to move forward with the actual Utility Patent application and so forth. So you save yourself a little bit of money and aggravation which is a good thing.
(13:07-13:19) CS: Now we talked before the interview started. I noticed your background has a lot of files. I’m like, “It’s either an accountant or an attorney.”
So you said you’re an attorney.
(13:19-13:21) BW: Unfortunately, I’m an attorney.
(13:21-13:33) CS: Is that your area of expertise, patent copyrights? Or are you saving money by doing it yourself? Or do you have to go to another lawyer?
(13:33-14:27) BW: It’s kind of a yes, no answer. I do save money by doing it myself because I have other patent issue. I do draft alot myself. But you have to be a licensed patent attorney, which I am not. It’s actually like a third test you have to take when you’re becoming an attorney. I’m not involved in that realm. I do a lot of business stuff. Some litigation. And we do a lot of real estate to state work here in New York. But I’m not in the patent realm and it’s actually kind of ironic. What brought me to go to law school was when I was trying to get my first patent on money’s 231 issued is this case called Bilski which is destroyed everything in our industry effectively is the best way to say it. It was 75 pages long or so forth. And I read that I’m like, “You know what? I don’t really don’t hate this so much. Like maybe I ought to go to law school.” And then, five years later here I am as an attorney. It’s kind of funny.
(14:27-14:44) CS: That’s actually what pushing to become an attorney. I’m not in patents but that’s what led me to go to law school. And my father is also an attorney. He obviously liked the idea. So he wasn’t objecting to that at all. That’s why I work with him actually here in New York now. It’s kind of funny. What a great story. That’s awesome. You got the idea. You’ve protected it. A sound like Provisional Patent is probably the smart way to go initially. Now, you gotta take in the next step. You guys start selling it. What do you do then?
(14:44-17:30) BW: That’s kind of different areas of that answer. I guess the best way. During the whole development process you’re going to have strong game literature-like manuals and so forth. So that you use that as marketing materials. Over time I’ve actually gone about this whole bunch of different ways. At the very beginning I have no idea who to approach, how to approach them, or what happened. I’m literally cold calling operators of facilities trying to find out who the director’s table games are and hope that they would even give me the information on those people that speak to me. I even think the first two introductions I got. I literally asked the employment department of the Bellagio and Caesars entertainment. And they actually respond that they gave me information. I couldn’t believe it. But other times I was sending physical hard copies out with like game material facilities. And I think that got me my first actual demo with Foxwoods. I started randomly to the table games department. One of the ship managers have read it. But these days that’s kind of a done deal these days
especially with COVID. That does just not gonna happen. You’re not gonna really just show up the facility and set a meeting. The biggest and easiest way probably to get your games out there these days is the conventions and the table game shows. The two biggest ones, which are both likely cancelled. G2E, the Global Gaming Expo, already is. And that’s usually not the best one for independent table games supposed because its massive. It’s very expensive. But that’s every single person in the world in the industry comes. If you really want to get a product out and demo it, that’s probably a good place to be at to prepare for the expense. The place that I’ve gone three times in the last four years is The Cutting Edge Table Games Conference. That’s held every November in Las Vegas.
And that is just effectively independent table games developers or not independence but all just table games content. All the table games directors in the country are coming there. And they’re coming there specifically seeing products and table games. If they like your game, they’ll tell you. They’ll want you to send over information and so forth. And if they don’t they’re going to tell you. So you know what you need to change. But that’s a great venue. But otherwise, things like LinkedIn, any sort of social media venues, areas that you can go down to this. Find the right person. It’s really the way to go and then otherwise it’s like any sales. It’s cold calls, trying to meet people, build a network just like anything else. I’ll call it a, not niche industry, but everybody knows each other. It’s very incestuous. If you start building a network with people, you’re likely, if you’re a credible and you’re easy to work with. Or else, you’re going to get kind of referrals to other. So people at least hear you out. But these days conventions are the best if they ever come back. Thanks to COVID of course. And otherwise just cold calling. LinkedIn is trying to get games at. What do you think about this game? I’ve been trying to sell you. Would you think it’s bad? You think it’s good? You think it’s bad? You can tell me the truth. Just be open-minded. One problem is that people do not want to hear us. Skepticism and criticism. As a developer, you have to be open-minded that people tell you stuff. You should change. You should probably used to take it to heart and see if you can alter games a little bit that way. But regular sales, it’s really the only answer, unfortunately.
(17:30-17:54) CS: You mentioned conventions. I’ve been to G2E a couple times. I’ve seen how massive it is. I can see how hard it would be to get attention at a place like that. Now without conventions in this era of zoom, have you adapted? Are you able to demonstrate gameplay via on-line? Or it’s pretty tough?
(17:54-19:18) BW: Luckily with me, which has been interesting, I was one of the first early on where I am. If you see my website, I actually have some playable game demos on my website. That’s how I’ve been able to be used to things like LinkedIn. Get gains in front of people where it’s like, “Look, on your own time just 30 seconds to give this game a try and let me know your thoughts.” And then I also filmed these procedure videos and demo videos which help. And actually last week, I started doing a lot of these meetings that I had to cancel in Las Vegas because here in New York we have travel restrictions. I can’t quarantine for two weeks of travel to this place so I had to cancel them. So I would do zoom calls like this. Where if able, which I was, I would set my phone up on a tripod after layout on the table. I use my computer and then I do demos if I’m in front of you. But the best thing that I would say for people to do is, “If you can’t afford a game demo like I have and it’s hard to find people doing for a reasonable price.” Just if you can film demonstration videos because demo videos are pretty much identical with demonstration you to do in person. So I don’t see anything hurting you if you decide to send somebody a 4 or 5-minute demonstration video for a game. And then see if they like it. And if it has really any interest there then you could set up that in-person meeting. And you’re avoiding the whole expense and traveling beforehand if they see the video like this game sucks. Sorry. They’re not going to give this a shot. It’s been a good process for me. I’ve been doing this slightly. But now zoom video seemed to be helping. Zoom meeting seem to be helping. And demo videos are definitely very, very helpful as far as demo-ing games on the fly and virtually.
(19:18-19:26) CS: Are these demos, are they on your website for anybody? Or they behind a wall or something?
(19:26-19:58) BW: Some people do hide the contents. I’m not. I’m an open book with this stuff. My demo videos are on YouTube. You can find them all. I actually have videos posted on my website with the game demos. I even have my math up there were some people do not like doing because it’s easy for somebody else to take it. But I don’t hide it. Some people have like the pay wall. I’ll call up before you can get the information about. Mine’s public. Anyone go on YouTube see all the demo videos, all the… everything. I’m very active. All people know these games of mine. That’s how I kind of discreetly try to protect myself on making a pumpkin on the resume.
(19:58-20:06) CS: We’ll put it in the show notes and we’ll plug at the end. But the website and YouTube, should they just search Money$uit?
(20:06-20:26) BW: It’s really the game. The website is moneysuit31.com and you can find the game names. But then you can go on YouTube and you can search. It might even be undermining personally if you search Brent Weiss. I expect my videos might come up. You could search Three-Card Fury Demo Video.
You can search Money$uit 31 Demo, 31 Classic Demo and they should pop-up. But once you find my channel, they’re all there for you to watch.
(20:26-20:44) CS: Perfect. Hopefully we’ll see some of these games in the casinos. Three-Card Fury is one that you’re excited about. Talking about the trial process. You get somebody interested. And they say, “Alright. Let’s give it a shot.” What’s that like?
(20:44-23:20) BW: So I’ll try to nutshell it for you. Because believe it or not, like we talked about, everything is so different from place to place. So in some jurisdictions, there’s a government-mandated trial process. And I’ll use Nevada. And I’ll use Mississippi. Because they’re kind of similar. So when you have a brand new game, that’s not a very entertaining thing. I’ll use my 31 Games sample because when they came out there was like nothing else out there. That was like it. So that’s considered a new game when it comes to submissions. In Nevada, the way that’s going to work is you’re going to get your GLI letter or BMM letter with spent about a specific to submit the game and you’re going to go through the background checks and all that fun stuff. And then once everything is approved you’re going to then dictate where the trial facility is going to be in another dictated time frame. In Nevada, the trial process is effectively anywhere from 45 to 90 days. And then once they conclude you have to submit your reports and the facilities are sending the math of the data in the whole time. And then at the end once you report and submitted, if there’s no issues effectively will go through the Gaming Commission, will go through their process. They’ll have their board hearings and then it will either be rejected or will be granted. And once it’s planted them they have to go through the court process of effectively making it statute is the best way. Mississippi some of the Ill call lower traffic for facilities and jurisdictions have a little bit of a different or a little more lax on the finite of full details of the trial. You still have to submit. You still have to get approval from the gaming commission. But it’s really based play where it’s supposed to be like 90 days. But even more of my trials lasted like several months because it’s just the play on the floor as a super slow because it’s really small struggling facility. So that lasted a long time and once they’re satisfied with you now to play in the sample set. They determined that it’s acceptable for playing in the state. In Mississippi, you actually have to show up and appear in front of the commission and it’s more or less stage your appearance here to get this game approved with them. They will really ask you too many questions. As long as there’s no issues and then they will effectively approve the game. With tribes in some other states and some states the facilities submit everything not the developer which is interesting. Because when you’re submitting on your own you’re paying for everything. States like Indiana, and if you’re dealing with the California card rooms, the facilities themselves actually submit the game to the state for approval. And then it’s still a state-mandated trial but it’s a little bit different. I disputed. The beautiful thing is we’re not paying which is always a nice thing. And then when you’re dealing with things like tribes and a bunch of other jurisdictions. There’s no government-mandated trial but you’re of course going to give a free trial to facility to test it out. And you just kind of work out the terms there and then three months, four months, six months, whatever it is. And then at the end of that then if it’s going to stay on the floor they will start paying at least fee and so forth. So very different from place to place which is hard to have a conversation of that. But it’s something we need to know if you’re getting into this business.
(23:20-23:55) CS: Initially you need a property. Let’s take the Mississippi example to kind of sponsor you or not. You’re paying it sounds like in that jurisdiction.
But they are giving you floor space and giving you a table. At the end of it, is it possible that the trial goes your approved in the state but the casino doesn’t proceed. But now that you’ve crossed that hurdle you can go to other casinos in the state and say, “Okay. We’re already approved.” Does that ever happen?
Or it’s generally like, if the casino doesn’t say, “We want to move forward you’re stuck.”
(23:55-25:01) BW: Luckily, I have not encountered an issue with the ladder of that example is usually they’ll stick with you unless the game just not. It’s just tanking. The games was not getting any played for. Then it’s not going to make it through to four months. But usually the way it will work, is they’ll usually stick with you. And my child didn’t pan out of and stay on the floor down there through Mississippi. This will actually pretty much answer the question. But on the operator standpoint, you have to realize what we’re doing a government trial at that there’s a lot of legwork that they have. They have to constantly communicate with the Gaming Commission. They have to make sure surveillance is reporting everything and it’s readily accessible. It’s a harder pill to swallow
as an operator from coming to you with a formal trial. But once the trial is done and it’s approved like my game in Mississippi, 31 Classic, it’s easier if I’m coming to you Craig. Like, “Alright. I’ve got this game. Didn’t pan out on the floor and acts. But it’s approved so no trial headaches for you. But I’m going to give you a trial anyway for free and we’ll see if it works.” It’s an easier sell there, but then you have to explain why it didn’t work here. It won’t work here. You know how it goes facilities from facilities of different clientele demographics so you never know where games really going to work. Unless it’s UTH and this is going to work everywhere effectively.
(25:01-25:12) CS: Ultimate Texas Hold’em. What are some of the like home run in recent years games have come out?
(25:12-26:13) BW: In recent years, I’d say like High Card Flush, Criss Cross Poker the ones that come to mind. You’ll see some variants of the games like UTH. Which I’ll tribute to say there still UTH there just for somebody else effectively. But the newest novel games High Card Flush has been doing well for a few years. It doesn’t seem to be losing too much traction. Although some tables have been coming after certain locations and Criss Cross Poker seems to have a pretty strong foothold in some places like the Northeast. I hope Three-Card Fury is next. But I have to toot my own horn there. Especially with COVID now,
the one issue is that, game mixes are going to significantly change in the future. Hopefully not for long. But with all these gaming restrictions like three tops of table. Novelty games might not survive much enough facilities bread and butter as Blackjack, Baccarat Pai Gow, the big games, Craps. So they need to really optimize their floor space with those games. You might start seeing some other novelty games coming out to make more room for the Three-Top Blackjack tables that they need to make sure that the revenue is there to support their operation so forth. I hope that answers the question.
(26:13-26:42) CS: It does. And for anybody… I think you said, “Ultimate Texas Hold’em.” But for anybody that doesn’t know UTH, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, is pretty much in every casino at this point. In the trial, what are casinos… What metrics are they really looking at? And not on the gaming commission. This is not what they’re looking at, but the casino. Are we’re gonna take out a Blackjack table to put this in? What are they looking at?
(26:42-28:53) BW: There’s a couple others more sophisticated we’ll look at at the end if you’ve heard of tagging systems actually their big thing when they’re doing with like whimper over an hour. But the big three and I’ll call them with somebody in our perspective that we’re looking for is we’re looking for drop
and the drop figure is literally the amount of money bought into at the table. The amounts of money dropped into the cash box. What that shows you is popularity. People are coming in and buying in. They want to play the game. That’s where you get the popularity factor. Then you have the win figure. And the win is literally just the amount won by the casino. It’s pretty simple. And then the whole percentage which is one that’s kind of a debatable topic these days is some people think people too much stake in a hole which I’ll get to in a second something. It’s not important at all. The whole percentage is just the ratio.
The ratio of the win versus the drop is the hold and why that’s very important in our eyes and the operators pay close attention to that. Which you recall the
beginning you were talking about like a lottery example. Like, if I have one payout. One winner every five million hands are going 10 million. Everybody’s in hate the winner. That game will probably hold incredibly high because nobody’s ever hitting that pay-out. What the casino is looking at is they want to see a value for customers. Because we don’t want to clean out our clientele. Want to give them value for their dollar and entertainment value. And it will let you know if people are getting quite that a little too quickly if there’s a maybe it’s a too complex strategy where people are making wrong decisions. So we see inflated hole which is like, “Right. We need to alter this somehow and just make sure they’re not beating people up.” But those are really the big three. And our perspective what we’re looking here. Now on the operation side also, one of the big new key metrics and I think it’s a key performance indicator that tang I’m talks about all the time now is what’s known as Win per Open Hour. Because like you said we have to think about a casino floors real estate. So we have just ten tables. All ten of those tables are in a property on the floor that’s making us money in order to take property 7 off. I need to know that new property is going to bring enough with as much revenue as property 7 in order to sub it out. And what they really look at is how much money is that table winning per hour that it’s open on the floor. You can take that number and look at our operating costs see if it’s profitable enough and see if they’re making enough money for it to be a success. If that wasn’t too much over the top for you.
(28:53-29:30) CS: That makes total sense. And I’m curious too. I’ve noticed. I don’t know if there’s something that can see tables even think about or is it is an advantage. But sometimes you walk around and you’re like you’re looking a player may be looking for a lower limit. Not necessarily players that URComped works with. We tend to have bigger players. Sometimes some people are looking for knowledge of five dollar table and they sit down at Ultimate, Texas Hold’em. It may say 5 dollar minimum but you actually have to put out 15 bucks at least to do it. Is that something that casinos like is a feature that they can put a lower minimum bet and really it’s actually a pretty expensive game.
(29:30-31:13) BW: Yes. And that’s actually changing things on the development side a little bit because the best example is like Let It Ride is a perfect example. Because let it ride you do one wager down and if it’s good, you’re going to put some more out there maybe by the end of the hand. But UTH like you’re saying you’re starting with an ante and blind that no matter what. And very often you’re going to double or quadruple or at least single up on the play. You’re
gonna have at least 3 to 6 units out there. So the issue on the operator side is games that only have like one or two wages out there probably aren’t going to generate as much revenue as yet. They can’t possibly generate as much revenue as games like UTH where if you have a one unit wager game and it’s got a house edge of 5 percent sneaking up a number then you have a multi-unit gain that has a house edge of 3.5 but your average bet is one unit versus four. You would see how the numbers are going to fluctuate in favor of 4-unit game. And not to take a step back one of the things that’s important when it comes to the development is this two-key metrics that we look at. And when it comes to the advantages you have the house advantage on the game which is just the house’s edge on the ante wager which is a good metric to look after games like pai gow which is the single better Blackjack. But then you have the element of risk and the total return to player which is better suited for multi-wager game. So the difference between the two is house edges. For the ante the element of risk is the total the house is the mean of the average bet per hand. So in UTH if you have an average of let’s say like 4.2 units per game per hand of that it’s like a point seven percent EOR. The house is an X number of dollars off all those wagers. So as far as comping purposes, which I’m sure is right up your alley,
it’s usually better for the novelty games to use EOR versus house edge because it’s a more accurate depiction of what the theoretical loss is for that player who theoretical win is for the facility.
(31:13-31:18) CS: That makes total sense. It’s deep but I love it.
(31:18-31:21) BW: It’s a lot to throw at you but it makes sense.
(31:21-31:51) CS: I think the gaming like the nerds like me that like getting into theoretical and stuff really appreciate that. So let’s say the numbers work out. It’s popular on the floor. At the end are you brought into is it the shark tank with the GM and the VP of table games and it’s a big suspenseful moment. They’re offering you a deal for the game. At the end of a trial and then what negotiations are like?
(31:51-33:28) BW: It’s funny enough. A lot of that actually oftentimes happens before. So there’s no suspenseful thing at the end where how much you’re going to pay me for this? It’s kind of already ironed in person with the new game. You know I’m gonna make that much money. So don’t get people’s hopes up there
so much by the way usually works is when you’re entering into the trial. Some places don’t want anything other than a contract for the trial itself, which is fine. Because they want to see how it does before they enter into some commitment of the license fee. But usually the way it’s worked for me in those cases.
If it’s a government trial, it’s just okay. You’re going to get it for the trial. And if it survived and stays on the floor, I’m going to get 395, 295, 495 a month thereafter per table. But usually with a new game it’s kind of like standards which how much you can really charge will not going to come up with a new game.
That’s all past trial. Give me 1,500 dollars a month and be like, “No. Get out of our facility immediately.” You gotta at least know what the appropriate pricing is. For new games it’s usually in that window 4-600 dollars a month so you can kind of go in that mindset of understanding that. Different jurisdictions and markets are vastly different. If I go to a MGM Grand they’re not going to charge the same price as a little tribal facility in the middle of the forest in California.
It’s not going to work. They have to sustain business and make sure their overhead isn’t too much in order to survive. But that’s usually all done beforehand. I’m like, “Okay.” If we’re not in a government trial jurisdiction like California for instance there. Are you going to get the game for five months free? If it stays on the floor 395 month thereafter with annual price renegotiation so that you’re not locked into a contract if you do have a UTH. You want to get informed about this month for that. You want to be getting some healthy money per month. And these casinos makes some money off of this.
(33:28-33:34) CS: And so is it generally a fixed price per month? It’s not a percentage of?
(33:34-35:29) BW: Yes. So usually there’s two ways that kind of go about. One doesn’t really happen much anymore. Some facilities back in the day used to just purchase a game outright. Like this happened with Three-Card Poker All Out because it was expansive that a Three-Card Poker was the only thing out
there. Where they would just play one large fat fee. They would have pretty much a perfect perpetual license to use it. Typically these days it’s just lease and fees per month. It’s very unlikely that there’s gonna be a profit-sharing situation. Although it does happen on-line gaming very often. It doesn’t happen in brick-and-mortar because when that happens you also get into a whole licensing situation as you can imagine. Now the one interesting thing on the developer side of things is some jurisdictions require you to have license. Like Washington State you need the distribution license. You have everything registered you need to be there. Games like Nevada where I have to go through background. I’m not required to maintain a license because I don’t supply any equipment or hardware. Whereas if I would then it would put me into a whole separate category. Make it effectively cost-ineffective to go into that market because I probably couldn’t pay for the manufacturers license and so forth. So it’s kind of very different from place to place in that regard also. So it makes people’s heads spin also. For a quick example in Washington State I had a developer that I was helping out. And I think it was, I won’t say the name of the game or the person, feel like I actually ran into that issue and Washington like because of, I won’t say what it is, but because of x. They’re like that’s really can you do the manufacturers license to like if you were to go to Nevada and some of these are places you can’t because they’re gonna be paying anywhere from twenty one hundred grand for a manufacturer’s license. Making that money back for just one table game. So it’s super complex. And I didn’t know any of this when I started. You can imagine my head started spinning around like a Pennsylvania. A couple thousand dollars and may take two and a half years to get licensing approved. That ain’t gonna happen. Because the director of table games might not be there and the game gets approved and the game’s not going on the floor after you spent all that money. This is another factor you have to think.. its very high turnover in this business which complicates things also.
(35:29-35:54) CS: And I’m definitely familiar with the licensing process for our business. There’s some jurisdictions were not in for that reason. It’s like is demand there to offset, to justify the cost. And like the background checks can be brutal. They list every place you’ve ever lived. List like every job you’ve had the last 20 years. Give us your credit card receipts like, “What?”
(35:54-36:00) BW: They might even show up to investigate your neighbors to ask questions about you. You never know. I’ve heard some stories.
(36:00-36:22) CS: So that’s wild. And a question on the monthly fees. Are they generally prorated? This may be kind of a fringe case. But let’s say like halfway through the month and like, “Let’s do one more table.” Are they paying like for half the month? Or if they want to convert it to want to pull table off and only owing for half the month if something shifts. Does that makes sense?
(36:22-37:24) BW: Yeah. It makes sense. I haven’t encountered that issue. Usually what I do and this is not necessarily standard is I was given two weeks for whatever the case may be. So it started the contract on the 15th. Go ahead and take the two weeks and so you keep it on the four percent. Usually is I’m sure it gets prorated sometimes like you said when putting games extra tables in. You could probably just start the billing on that day of the month. But I just kind of like keeping my billing on a specific day or some the month and I’ll give him a week or two for free. But as far as pulling games off the floor typically in contracts you have like a termination period where it’s got to give you 30 days written notice or 45 days written notice of that. It kind of gives you that leeway.
So it doesn’t fall into that middle of the month. But I’m sure many factor comes up works like two weeks into this period or am I paying or am I not. Me as a small guy who can deal with it. I’ll probably just let that go. But I’m sure like Psi games or any of the other big guys might not. So it’s kind of probably on a specific facility-by-facility or person-by-person basis which is probably another reason to work with you independent like us. Because we’re free to make those decisions others may not be able to make.
(37:24-37:41) CS: It’s interesting. I just remember when I worked on a cruise ship. This is ages ago. We had some big player that one play Pai Gow Tiles. And all of a sudden one game turned into Pai Gow Tiles for that cruise. So maybe with carnival games, is that a derogatory term for it? That’s what I call him.
(37:41-37:45) BW: Now don’t you want to go whatever. It is not going to offend me.
(37:45-37:54) CS: So with novelty games. I didn’t know if that’s something that happens a lot but it sounds like it’s not too common. They have to deal with.
(37:54-38:38) BW: Because with cruises as you’re more aware than I am, things can change pretty quickly and you’re dealing with international waters. You guys have pretty much free rein to do what you want with the casinos swapping tables out in certain markets. I’m sure is not that quick of a process. Even if the game’s approvals play fair. I don’t know. But it might be quicker versus maybe Washington State or PA might be a whole process as far as… Because you’re paying… As long as you’re paying taxes per table, per everything. So it might complicate things on there and where it’s not that quick whereas you can just switch out he regular Pai Gow Table for Tiles for that one person that’s gonna sit down with 50 grand bankroll for the three-day cruise so that’s like we pull this out what are we going to do with 7,000 people that I can come through the door for the next five days. that want to play the game we just took out for this one player.
(38:38-38:48) CS: Makes sense. So you mentioned 3 Card Fury. Tell us about it? Because that sounds like, that’s the game that you’re most excited about right now.
(38:48-40:14) BW: Advantage Play 3 Card Fury is because it actually took third place at last year’s cutting edge table games conference. You going back to the development conversation, you always need that hook to work players on the table. So Advantage Play 3 Card Fury is the only 3 Card… Many of the players actually get 4 Cards to make the best 3 card hand in the dealer only gets 3. So even we all know we’re going to get the edge that somewhere along the way in the math. It gives the players that great feel of actually for once having an advantage over the house and very kind of Cantonese. If you remember the original 4 card poker, whether you got six and players got five. I always lost to the extra card for the dealer. Those pissed me off. I’m like this try to flip that over and put it in the players favor. It took forever to make the math work but it did. And by doing that it actually has a 67.67% hit rate. So I called like a penny slot effect
or even though players aren’t winning significant amounts on most hands they’re getting something back and allows them to have time on device increase and give them that value for their dollar whether having a good time opposed to just getting cleaned out and five hands under the end which was kind of happened when we make that clear like in any game. We always know gambling is gambling. But you have to have that little hook to really hook people in. AP3 Card Furious like, “I have 4 cards if you look at 3. That’s great. What’s the catch?” You have to place this required bonus wager though. It’s not that bad. I’m like, “That’s the game. You get your 4. Make your best 3 wheeler. Get’s 3 if you win. You win if you have to pay table. You hit the big table. That’s simple.”
(40:14-40:33) CS: I want to play it. I love that because me and my sisters have a thanksgiving tradition. We used go to Tahoe all the time. We sit down and play Pai Gow. Because that was the game that let us play the longest, get our free drinks, we just kind of hang out and chat. And it sounds like this 3 Card Fury
may be our next game.
(40:33-41:09) BW: That’s the thing is like I love Tahoe when I’m not getting beaten up. I love Pai Gow for that reason. It’s like that one unit. That lady with a dragon bonus or a progressive. I’m sitting there having fun. I’m pushing like what 40 percent of the time. And on AP3 Card Fury it’s 25 percent pushed. Like you said, “You have that possibility hitting big.” Pai Gow just the 1 to 1 winners but with the required side wager Advantage Play 3 Card Fury and any given time you could still hit up to that five hundred to one winner while you’re still getting that extended time on device. It’s exciting and just players hitting that “Beat the Dealer” because they got that extra card. Feels nice to be the dealer 67 percent. In my opinion, I hate losing over the deal everybody does.
(41:09-41:21) CS: If somebody wants to play 3 Card Fury, is it in the world right now? Is there a place they can go to play it? If not, where can they play it online?
(41:21-42:27) BW: On-line it’s simple. You can actually go if you want to just play for fun. You can go to 3 the number 3cardfury.com. It’ll take you to my website and the game demo. You can play for free for hours and no login or anything like that. So it’s just fun. That’s how I market the game. Right now
it’s still at Eagle Mountain Casino in Porterville. I don’t know if it’s going to survive. COVID made us shut down for the second time. Thanks to COVID and everything. So you can understand things are a little tough out there. And right before COVID, actually, we’re primed to enter six different jurisdictions.
We are going to go into Washington State, Wisconsin, Mississippi, back into Nevada, California and California Tribals. And then, unfortunately I’ll say as a joke,
the zombies came and kinda put a stop to everything. So we’re hoping this kind of subsides. Hopefully the vaccines come out. Everything gets under control. That some of those prospects will come back and will get the game back out there and get those contracts signed and ready to go. As you can understand, for me I’ve lived for 12 years. I finally have this hot product that was gaining traction and all of the sudden global pandemic. Like you gotta be kidding me. I couldn’t believe that’s what happened. You get what I’m saying?
(42:27-42:42) CS: I absolutely get it. We’re feeling the pain too. Our businesses heavily sending players on cruises. And those aren’t sailing right now. So we feel your pain. It’s no fun and we need the zombies to go away really quick.
(42:42-42:46) BW: Fingers crossed that they go away fast. We’ll see.
(42:46-42:55) CS: Brent, this was super interesting. And I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. Is there anything we didn’t cover anything I’ve forgot to ask you?
(42:55-43:43) BW: No, I don’t think so. I think it’s pretty much in a nutshell. Explains the process a little bit. If I miss things anybody could reach out to you. If you want to email me through the website, I’m happy to answer questions. If you have want me back on for specific things, I’m happy to answer them. But his conversation we want for hours as you can imagine. But in a nutshell that’s kind of the process. There’s a lot of pitfalls to worry about. Maybe the one thing
is when you go into a facility you have a game on the floor, just be prepared to some of the stuff that you’re going to hear from staff and players because it’s not always going to be nice. I literally got yelled at by players because they don’t like my procedures. Because dealers got their cards first, we all know some players think that shufflers are rigged so you can imagine what was being yelled at me because those things. If we got to be open-minded. Be ready for change. And just don’t be bothered into I can’t accept any negative feedback. You got to be ready for all sorts of feedback cause that will actually help you grow and change your games and make your products better over the long run.
(43:43-43:55) CS: Brent, thank you again. I wish you the best of luck with 3 Card Fury. I can’t wait to play it. I hope it’s somewhere I can access soon. And thank you again for your time, Brent. We’ll do it again soon.
(43:55-44:02) BW: I appreciate you for having me on again, Craig. I appreciate it much.