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CR88-p42&43-Aristocrat Interview:SJC-Casino Review 21/1/10 21:44 Page 1
Wilsnagh takes
the EMEA reigns
at Aristocrat
In early November 2009, William Wilsnagh’s scope of
responsibilities was extended from his role at the helm of
Aristocrat Technologies’ slot interests in Africa to take charge
of affairs in Europe and the Middle East as well. Casino Review
spoke to Wilsnagh to find out his vision for the company’s
future across two continents that incorporate the world’s most
numerous and differential rosters of gaming jurisdictions.
2010vision which was developed to help moving environment that is char- Systems Division, prior to the regu- of the operators enquiring about
INTERVIEW Aristocrat rise to the challenges acterised by regulation, advances lation and legalisation of the Casino time frames, cabinet capabilities
presented by gaming in the 21st in technology, demographic and LPM Gaming industries within and game content in this regard.
International Casino century. shifts and changing player tastes SouthAfrica. We also provided input The South African market has tradi-
Review: What restructuring The headline changes include and demands. into the South African National tionally been seen as one that
has recently taken place at my appointment as managing Standards for EGM’s and Monitor- accepts changes in technology rel-
Aristocrat Europe? director of Africa and Europe and CR: Would you like to take ing and Control Systems. I later atively easily. It is envisioned that
William Wilsnagh: Over the the promotion of Daniel Lindsay some time to explain to our moved to MGM Grand SA in the SBG trials could start to take place
past 12 months Aristocrat has to general manager for Europe. I readers who William Wilsnagh role of executive director of infor- in limited properties within the
undergone a strategic business will still be based in Johannes- is and what he has achieved in mation technology, where we next twelve to eighteen months.
review and as a result, has adopted burg, while Daniel will be based the world of gaming? managed the opening and opera-
a new strategy for the future, to at Aristocrat’s offices in London. WW: My background originally tions of several of the Tsogo Sun CR: And what about the Limited
ensure that it remains a world This new structure coupled with was in Information Technology and Group Casinos in South Africa, Payout Market in South Africa?
class organisation. As part of this a sharp management focus will Systems, having gained a Masters including their flagship Monte- WW: The LPM market is made up
new direction, Warren Jowett, enable us to continue to evolve Degree in Information Systems. I casino. On completion of this chal- of several operators that provide
Aristocrat’s managing director as a world class organisation, and started my career in the gaming lenge, I had a stint with the Altech the food, beverage and hospitality
responsible for EMEA, Asia Pacific will also ensure that we achieve industry about 14 years ago, ini- Group of companies, where one of industries with a means to operate
and Japan, announced details of a the objectives which we have set tially consulting to and then joining my roles as MD of their Gaming & a limited quantity of slot machines
dynamic new business structure for doing business in a fast IGT Africa to start up their Gaming Leisure Division was the develop- on site. Initially this venture was
ment and implementation of a brought about by the government
smart card based Gaming Manage- to legalise an industry that had
ment Solution for casinos through- been in operation across several
out Africa. In March 2007, I joined provinces, and to take the enter-
Aristocrat Technologies as manag- tainment of slot machines to the
ing director of their South African broader population, with a spe-
operations and have recently been cific view on rural areas. Roll out
given the responsibly for their Euro- has taken place across the major-
pean operations as well. ity of provincial jurisdictions. The
Gauteng Province potentially rep-
CR: Can you give us some idea as resents the province with the
to what the South African casino largest number of sites in South
market is like at the moment? Africa and although a limited roll
WW: Like all jurisdictions world- out was achieved in 2009, it is
wide, the South African casino hoped that plans for 2010 will be
market has been affected by the accelerated, thereby providing
recent recession. The casino market growth for both the industry and
finds itself in a mature phase and as Aristocrat.
such, competition is extremely Through synergistic partner-
tough, especially when looking at ships, Aristocrat has achieved in
increasing and even maintaining excess of 80 per cent market share
market shares. One area of the within this sector of the market.
casino sector that has been identi-
fied as strategically important for CR: What does the future hold
Aristocrat in 2010 is the stepper for Aristocrat in Europe over
market. A significant opportunity the short term?
currently exists as operators look WW: Europe provides great
to change out old and obsolete potential for a company such as
product and replace it with more ours, but at the same time requires
up to date stepper product. Some as much work, across the different
have openly started to accept new jurisdictions, to ensure success.
stepper product that in terms of Some of the most exciting
player entertainment value offers prospects that exist in terms of
more than the traditional mechani- immediate actions taking place are
cal reel stepper. Operators are also those of France, Spain and
looking at options such as linked Germany. All are key strategic juris-
and progressive stepper product. dictions for different reasons in
Another exciting area is the shift 2010 and as such require a specific
towards a server based gaming focus from the entire team based in
model. We have already seen some the Europe.
42 February 2010 • feature
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