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The right solution for every need

Aristidis Tsikouras, Managing Director, GeWeTe speaks to Rebecca Green, Technology Correspondent, Casino Life

How was 2015 and how is 2016 looking so far for the company?

GeWeTe is the specialist company within the Gauselmann Group for solutions centred on money changing and innovative payment methods. With 23 years of experience, the focus is, and always has been, on providing solutions for individual applications in our markets with the best and most secure technology available to us. We have embodied this from day one and this it has enabled GeWeTe to grow so strongly over the years. 2015 was, once again, a successful year for us and we foresee not only matching this success but exceeding it this year.

What has the reception been from Casino & Gaming operators for GeWeTe cash handling solutions at exhibitions so far this year?

We have always had solutions for the casino industry and have long-standing casino customers. The reason why we did not focus on the global gaming market in the past was that this was the remit of our sister-company HESS that is also a part of the Gauselmann Group. The casino solutions segment of HESS was sold off last year and the natural step has been for us at GeWeTe to step in to cater to the global gaming market’s needs within the Gauselmann Group.

What would you say are the main benefits that gaming operations get from partnering with your organisation?

First and foremost, we are one of the largest and most successful cash handling solutions providers in the world – with continued proven success. I personally do not know of any other similar company in the industry that can offer the such a complete range of solutions. The gaming industry is fragmented – and player and operator needs can vary enormously. We do not try to offer a one-size-fits-all solution. Our strengths are that we understand our markets – we know the requirements and invest in creating the right products to satisfy these varying and, at times, changing needs.

We have 23 years experience of doing what we do with an installed base of over 60,000 machines around the world. We may not be a household name right now in the global gaming market, but in the street market it’s a completely different situation. In our home market in Germany, for example, we enjoy a market share of almost 70% for change machines.

The demands are very high in the street market where machines are heavily used and optimally secured – factors that cannot be compared to those of a protected casino, which is well guarded and equipped with many high-tech cameras and the personnel to match to observe the casino floor. Only change machines of the highest quality can succeed in the street market and our market share underlines our strengths in this sector.

Casino operators also profit from our flexibility. We serve several markets – including the market for payment systems (such as in banks and at municipalities) where at times our machines are positioned outdoors. Our great focus on quality and security are factors that any casino operator will much appreciate.

What are the benefits of the recently launched Cash-Center Compact-Casino PC Database technology?

The Cash-Center-Compact-Casino has been designed exclusively for the casino market and offers a plethora of benefits for casino operators. That explains why, in this short time, we have already successfully sold this to several casino companies in Europe. We understand our markets. For example, we know how important the connectivity to the casino system is for change / cash handling machines.

There is a wide range of systems providers in the global casino market and we have ensured that our Cash-Center-Compact-Casino can easily be connected to any Casino Management System. We develop our solutions to be modular so that they work perfectly in any payment environment – such as card-based and ticket-in, ticket-out. Whether operators require our solutions primarily as bill breakers, change machines or cash pay-out devices (when cashing in wins on a ticket or card), this is all possible with GeWeTe.

One last point on the Cash-Center-Compact- Casino: its capacity for banknotes and coins in such a compact machine speaks for itself and is yet another reason why casino operators should work together with us.

How do you go about finding the ideal solution for Gaming & Leisure venues for your Payment machines and Recyclers?

It is not just our experience that plays a role here but also our focus on direct dialogue with our customers. We continue to invest in our support team so that our customers can discuss their requirements directly with us and we ensure that operators have the right product that matches these needs.

We provide the entire solution and service at GeWeTe, having the A to Z of solutions. This perfectly matches market demands and our product range. Indeed, the entire research and development for our products is carried out in-house – and that for both software and hardware.

The value-added chain is maintained in-house, meaning that R&D, product management, production, sales and after-sales support can all be found within GeWeTe. We do not outsource this – thus we are in the position to quickly and professionally cater to our customers’ needs. Our focus on flexibility, security and quality has made us the company we are today.

There are Gaming establishments that are often on or near borders with other countries with different currencies. How can GeWeTe assist these operations?

This is all part and parcel of our daily business routine. We have ample experience in providing multi-currency solutions, something we have been doing since day one at GeWeTe.

What are the key reasons for the success of GeWeTe among Gaming Leisure Amusement operators?

Our slogan says it all – ‘The right solution for every need’. And that is only possible with the right quality at the right price and with a range of products that is unique in the marketplace. As market leader in Germany we are passionate about keeping one step ahead of the competition – a fact borne out by our long-term quest for innovation. Despite the higher costs of being a ‘Made in Germany’ provider, we have consolidated our success through the great number of machines we have produced throughout the years, earning the economies of scale from which our customers have profited from and continue to profit from.

What are your strongest markets for GeWeTe cash and banknote solutions and what markets do you see providing you with the best growth potential over the coming years?

We are active on a global scale with the successes to match. In Europe the strongest markets at present for GeWeTe can be found in Germany, Great Britain, Scandinavia, Spain and Italy. While these are important business regions, large numbers of GeWeTe machines can be found all around Europe and our international presence is now growing thanks to our focus on the global casino market.

With the half way mark nearing for 2016 what have been the highlights for you so far this year and what excites you most about the second half of the year?

I am pleased to say that it looks like 2016 will be one of the most successful years in our company history. Our order entry books are full well into the second half year and we are expecting a further increase in orders.

Innovation and product development are key to the continued success of any business. Can you provide examples of the sorts of innovation your company has incorporated into coin change machines?

Innovation has played a key role in our success right from the very start. This innovation has led to a very broad range of products that embody a great deal of functions. The benefits of using GeWeTe cash handling machines are not only appreciated in the casino, gaming and amusement markets – GeWeTe solutions can be found in other market segments such as sports betting and FECs as well as in other industries such as parking, ticketing and other municipal-related areas.

With increasingly resourceful computer hackers in the background, how confident are you of the safety of the systems in place with your coin and ticket reading redemption machines?

That is a good question and the answer lies with our experience in the street market – the most challenging market for secure cash handling machines. Attempted manipulation tampering is almost a daily occurrence in the German street market and our level of security – for both software and hardware – has been instrumental in our gaining that impressive market share of over 70%. Indeed, to this day we have not had one single case of successful malicious tampering to report concerning our change machines.

Are you looking to continue to expand the range of change machines for the Gaming Leisure and Amusement industry in the coming years?

We are placing great focus on enabling casino operators around the world to benefit from our experience – so, yes, we will continue to expand globally.

What’s the best piece of business advice you have ever been given?

‘Quality is always worthwhile and always succeeds in the end!’ We work according to this motto. Let me give you an example: we have machines in the field that are over 20 years old and are still in daily use. At that time they were all programmed for the German Deutsch Marks and during the Euro introduction had to be all converted to accept and payout euro notes and coins – a feat we achieved very successfully. I ask you, is there a better example of return on investment – being able to update the machines to accept and pay back a totally different currency, which would not have been envisaged when they were originally purchased?

Reliability is an essential factor with all GeWeTe equipment as it is very often the only machine of its type located in any given location. so if If a change machine is down, business can be lost.

Machine reliability has made GeWeTe the company it is today. Reliability is reflected in all our machines – no matter for which segment or market they have been created. And that is how our range of products has grown – to cover individual market requirements. Here an example from the UK street market: This market is moving from cash to TITO, yet this the transition is being implemented at different speeds by the AWP providers. Our best-selling change machine in Europe – the Cash-Recycler – offers both payment systems at the same time. Thus, it can be used as a redemption machine for TITO and accept coins and notes and even change these into tickets. The operator has everything in one machine to ensure a successful transition – meaning continued machine uptime. The Cash- Recycler offers even more – it can pay out wins from sports betting and can even be used in bingo halls as the redemption machine for bingo.

Exhibitions are an excellent showcase for the latest gaming machines, equipment and associated systems. Do you plan to exhibit at any of these events this year?

We make use of exhibitions not just to show our latest solutions and meet / build our contacts. Shows are an important source of feedback and information sharing – a form of market research to ensure we have the right products, not just for the market today but for the future as well. That explains why we exhibit at several exhibitions throughout the year – not only in the gaming market. Apart from the summer months, not a month goes by where GeWeTe is not exhibiting somewhere around the world.