How to get ahead in Asian markets

How to get ahead in Asian markets

Thursday, December 3, 2015 Totally Gaming
Habanero's Daniel Long believes that slots will become increasingly important in Asia

Local knowledge and good contacts are the keys to success in burgeoning Asian markets, according to content and systems developer Habanero.

Daniel Long, the company’s head of Asian operations, told that operators can only be certain of gaining ground across the continent, which is growing in importance to the gaming industry, by working with regional specialists.

Habanero, a provider of slots and table games for both the online and land-based casino industries, has operations and offices around the world but its particular area of expertise is considered to be Asia.

Long, who formerly headed Asian business development for Microgaming, said that slots will be an area of particular growth in Asia in the coming years. 

“Local knowledge is key,” Long said. “Everyone knows Asia is going to be the next big thing and its untapped potential, particularly for online operators and suppliers, is huge.

“The Asian middle class is expanding rapidly and the traditional enjoyment of table games has been joined by a new trust in and enthusiasm for slots, particular among those who’ve grown up playing console games.

“Games that work elsewhere won’t necessarily work in Asia, either across the region as a whole, or in individual countries. You need to tailor content and its delivery and you have to understand the customer. You need people on the ground and good relationships at a local level, and that’s where we come in.”

Habanero – set to exhibit at ICE for the first time in February - has offices in Johannesburg, Manila, Sofia, and Kiev and already works with more than 20 operators.

The company currently offers 50 slots games, six table games and 10 video poker games, and Long believes the quality of its games separate it from rivals. 

He said: “Operators are not short of content, but there is a dearth of really high quality games. I think players are also bored of seeing the same old content from the same old suppliers.

“We’re offering new content, but we’re not just a novelty act. Judging by the reaction to our games so far, players are really enjoying playing them.”

While Asia is the company’s main focus, its content is available in 15 supported languages and dozens of currencies, and Long said that Habanero is looking for growth around the world.

“I think Asia is going to be very big, obviously,” Long said. “However, Latin America is opening up too, and we have a lot of experience working with land-based operators over there. If regulation changes, that might lead us into North America.

“It will also be interesting to see how Africa shapes up in the next few years. Betting and gaming is a very interesting industry to be in right now.”

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