Michael Cheers – IGT | COVID caused markets to refocus on local/loyal customers

Michael Cheers, IGT’s Sales Director for Asia, notes that while COVID brought many downsides, it did push companies to refocus on their local markets and improve their loyalty programs. Success cases include Singapore and the Philippines, with IGT expecting to open a its first showroom in Manila this year, as it aims to work hand-in-hand with a revamped PAGCOR.

Here are some of the highlights:

How has the ASEAN Gaming Summit been for you this year?

“While it’s important for us to get our branding out here through our expo exposure that we have in the booth, we just really appreciate the quality of content that you’ve put on, the variety of subjects and the quality of speakers and panel members which are not only informative – to bring us up to speed about what they’re doing and what projections they have […] but also a lot of them are our customers.”

Asia is returning to growth, is that exciting for IGT?

“Certainly you’d have to say that the Philippines is leading a lot of that, in all variables of our gaming market. For land-based, there’s going to be three new integrated resorts coming to this market in the next 3-4 years. The introduction of the online products – both internal through the PIGO, and the POGO offline situations, and then of course we’re seeing some real variation and change in the Bingo market.”

“IGT increased its staff in the last 12 months from nine to 17, in this region. That includes system engineers, system trainers, client managers, additional sales resources, technicians – to assist the growth of our product. And we’ll continue to invest and we look forward later this year to opening our first showroom here in the Philippines.”

PAGCOR as a partner

“They definitely are more of an industry partner, as compared to that traditional regulator that’s one step back, I think PAGCOR are on the front foot regarding ‘how do we partner to make this industry better.”

Asian growth – Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea

“While there’s a lot of negatives about COVID, it actually has refocused some other businesses across Asia on the reality of who their market is. And I certainly think that the importance of having a good loyalty program, investing in your local players etc, has proven to be the savior of a lot of businesses. And those businesses include Genting – realizing the importance of their localized market, certainly the two Singapore casinos – Resorts World and Marina Bay Sands.”