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Club Life NSW Interview With SHFL CEO Gavin Isaacs

Club Life NSW Interview With SHFL CEO Gavin Isaacs

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Published by Julia
Club Life NSW interview with Shuffle Master's CEO Gavin Isaacs - August 2011.
Visit ClubNSW's website: www.clubsnsw.com.au
Club Life NSW interview with Shuffle Master's CEO Gavin Isaacs - August 2011.
Visit ClubNSW's website: www.clubsnsw.com.au

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Published by: Julia on Sep 08, 2011
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09/08/2011

 
CLUB
GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
22
 
|
 
C 
AUGUST 2011
 
|
C
lub ife:
Having recentlybeen appointed as theChief Executive Officer ofShuffle Master, can you tell us howa lawyer from Australia becomesthe head of an internationalgaming company?
Gavin saacs:
 Being a corporate lawyer isactually great training for anyone workingin a gaming environment, and there areactually a lot of parallels I was able todraw upon. I was a partner in the lawfirm Phillips Fox which had 160 partnersat the time and which I must admit wasdefinitely a detraction of the job. I wasapproached by a head hunter I’d metsome years prior who provided mewith an opportunity to move intobusiness. The day prior I’d had a fairlybad meeting with the partners of thefirm, and so I seized the opportunity.At the time it was sold as a companythat was rebuilding itself and that I’dbe ideally suited to work with them.The company was Aristocrat and whileI didn’t have any experience in gamingat the time nor had I thought aboutmoving into the gaming industry,everything began from there.I initially started out in corporateservices, then moved on to legal andcompliance, and eventually headed uptheir global marketing and businessdevelopment. In 2000, the companywas booming and I was promoted toManaging Director of their Europeansubsidiary based in London. However,that didn’t last too long. A year earlier,the company had made an acquisitionin the United States and the personbrought in to run it didn’t exactly workout, and the U.S division of the businesscompletely died so I was flown over in2003 and have remained there ever since.When my time ran out at Aristocrat, Imoved over to Bally Technologies whereI served as Executive Vice Presidentand Chief Operating Officer for aboutfive years and was responsible for thecompany’s worldwide game sales andoperations business including sales,marketing, product management,product development, manufacturing,and customer support. Then theopportunity came up to join Shuffle
In 1992, Shuffle Master dared to take one man’s dream andturn it into a million-dollar success story. Today the company’sproducts enjoy world-wide popularity, its commitment to qualityand customer satisfaction make it respected among peersand clients alike, and the creativity and forward thinking ofits management team and staff ensure its continuing growthand development.
Club Life
spoke exclusively to ShuffleMaster’s newly-appointed CEO Gavin Isaacs to find outmore about his vision for both clubs and the company.
ITEVIEW B OLIVIE BöSäTE-BLELOC
SHUFFLING
WITH THE MASTER
 
CLUB
GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
WWW.CLUBSSW.COM.AU
|
2011 AUGUST
C 
 
|
 
23
other parts of the industry allaround the world.Those clubs that are performing wellare refreshing and investing and thecustomers are responding, while forthose which are not doing so great, Ihope they’ll be able to maintain theirposition so as to be able to reinvestin their gaming facilities to help steerthe business back. And the threat ofmandatory pre-commitment certainlydoesn’t help the situation at all, buthopefully that will be clarified verysoon so as to allow theindustry the certainty itneeds to move forward.
C:
What are your thoughtsregarding the deal struckbetween Prime Ministerulia Gillard and TasmanianIndependent Andrew Wilkie to introducemandatory pre-commitment technology asa means to form a minority government?
G:
I’ve lived outside Australia for thelast decade but I grew up going tothe races, and enjoyed the occasionalflutter on the pokies, but suddenly in1999 as a result of the ProductivityCommission report there was somekind of gigantic paradigm shift andrecreational gambling was evil.To me, the industry didn’t act ascohesively as other parts in the worldand I don’t think they realised howimpactful the social welfare lobbygroups could be, particularly whenthey would take small snippets of dataand convert them into exploding mythsand suddenly it pushed an industryin which Australia led the world intothe backwater for a while. ow wehave Andrew Wilkie pushing his ownpersonal agenda for mandatory pre-commitment technology which quitefrankly isn’t the answer at all andis simply a knee-jerk response.What I find interesting is that I cango to the football on the weekend andover the loudspeakers they’re spruikingbets across various parts of the gamewith the odds changing all the time.So, all of a sudden you have a situationwhere something good for one isn’tgood for the other, and so the gamingMaster and in some ways it closes theloop for me – that is, more than half ofShuffle Master’s revenues come out ofAustralia, so in a sense I’ve come home.
C:
So, what’s your mandatefor Shuffle Master?
G:
A focus on customer service isour number one priority. We’re alreadycustomer focussed but there’s alwaysmore to be done. Our second priorityis execution, so if we say we’re going todo something, we must doit, and deliver on time andon quality. The other areaI’m tweaking is to do withfocus. I don’t want peopledoing half a job hereand half a job there, soinstead of working acrossdifferent business groups, our peoplewill be focussed on one business groupbecause when you’re better focussed,you’re able to do a better job. I’ve onlybeen with the company for a few monthsnow but the people are positive, amiable,and very determined. It’s a great culturewhich is the key to a good business.
C:
Is the Australian marketgood for Shuffle Master?
G:
Shuffle Master provides value-addproducts in four distinct categories:Utility products, which include automaticcard shufflers, roulette chip sorters,and intelligent table system modules;proprietary table games, which includeslive games, side bets, and progressives;electronic table systems, which includevarious e-Table game platforms; and,electronic gaming machines, whichhas enabled us to achieve substantialgrowth in the Australian market sincetaking over
Stargames
, so the Australianmarket is very good for Shuffle Master.Whilst we have our other productcategories, Australia isn’t a hugemarket for casinos, however thereare electronic table systems in boththe United States and Australia, andwhich was one of the attractions of
Stargames
because they dominatedthe local market. The slot businesswas a fledging little business, butthen the team developed a fantasticcabinet called the
Equinox 
with agreat new platform and backed by agame library featuring an extensiverange of high performance titlesand progressive links that can beconfigured as a network of machinesor as standalone units; they’re trulykicking the ball out of the park.Quarter on quarter, over the lastyear the company has achieved a193% increase in revenue from slots.With these results, Shuffle Master iswell positioned to capitalise on thisgrowth to provide both the populargame content and the delivery systemsthat ensure secure, efficient gameperformance for the club market.
C:
With results like that, it showsthat clubs must be investingin floor refreshments.
G:
It’s something different, thegame play is different, and it’s anexciting new cabinet that playersreally like. My experience in gaminganywhere in the world is simply ifyou don’t invest, it’s the same withany other business. That is, if youdon’t invest in your research anddevelopment in a gaming company,or your gaming floor in a club,players will go and find a fresherproduct somewhere else.I speak with a lot of club people,and you’d be surprised where I runinto them. Frankly speaking, clubsare an example where if you don’tinvest in your facilities yourmembership will start to drop off,your facilities become outdated,and your community support andrelevance is compromised. Fromeverything I’ve seen and heard, thereare some clubs performing really welland others that are really struggling.Unfortunately, it’s like that across
Now we have Andrew Wilkie pushing his ownpersonal agenda for mandatory pre-commitmenttechnology which quite frankly isn’t the answerat all and is simply a knee-jerk response.

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