IAG spoke with Aristocrat’s Director of Asian Sales and Business Development, Paul White, about his career and the short-term future for the Philippine casino market.
Ben Brashk: First of all, for those who don’t know you, could you tell us about your background, where you grew up, and your memories of that time?
Paul White:I grew up in Arizona, USA. It was a typical suburb, with American football in the fall, baseball in the spring, and poolside in the scorching summer. He studied mathematics at university and entered the gaming industry as a mathematician and game designer. He started his career on the product side, creating concepts for casinos around the world, designing game structures, and building mathematical models. After that, I received an offer and joined a startup software company in Macau. I was thrilled to be both in the field of technology and in Macau at a very exciting time at the time.
BB: What was your first contact with the gaming industry? And how did that become the focus of your career?
PW ：The first week I got a job was the G2E in Las Vegas. I had a very nice hands-on experience. Shortly thereafter, I began to learn about the industry, and my focus was on player entertainment, creativity, the international dimension, and the various skills that create such an exciting industry. After that, I had the opportunity to work locally with game development teams in Australia and Europe. During this period, we learned great things about games, hardware and math from amazingly talented and knowledgeable professionals. In retrospect, this period of learning on the part of product development is where my commitment to the industry materialized and became the focus of my career.
BB: What’s the most fun part about being part of the industry, especially from a supplier standpoint?
PW ：We are in the business of providing great experiences to our players, and everyone on the supplier side is working hard to bring innovative and new things to our customers. At the same time, I also enjoy thinking from the customer’s point of view, “How can we deliver products here, or how can we solve problems there?”
The challenge here is to improve skills and abilities, be humble, and focus on improving the customer and player experience within the company without being satisfied. Learning constantly and pushing myself to grow is what I enjoy every day.
BB: I’ve been in Aristocrat for almost 6 years. How did you get to work? What kind of experience did you have during this period?
PW ：The Filipino market was on the verge of tremendous growth and I was interested in a great opportunity as a market manager in such a place. I wanted to be deeply involved in it, and Aristocrat was a great opportunity. The experience I’ve had since then is more than I expected.
This company is constantly trying to focus more on its employees, customers and products, and we do it with a great culture of putting our values at the center of everything we do. .. Our mission is to bring joy to our lives through the power of play, and we are enthusiastic about it every day.
BB: Can you tell us a bit about your current role and what a standard day at your company looks like?
PW ：I am the sales manager in Asia and work with a great team of key account managers to serve the customer base. I spend most of my time thinking about employee happiness and working in a series of initiatives to be the company of choice for the most talented people in the industry.
Next, we are looking for opportunities to engage and support our customers, especially during this difficult time of recovery from the effects of a pandemic. This has been very effective through Aristocrat Assist, which has the core message of shared resources for a healthy business recovery.
Next, we are closely watching customers and market trends. Recently, we conducted a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey, which revealed positive results, but also found an opportunity to strengthen Aristocrat’s value proposition. We have a plan to achieve this and will invest in it.
BB: Of course, by being in Manila, I think you saw the impact of the new Corona directly. What are the main challenges presented in the last 12 months, both professionally and personally?
PW ：First and foremost, we care about the safety and happiness of our Filipino employees and their families. We also consider our customers’ health and the wider community and strive to ensure that we can provide support during these difficult times. Recently, it has provided healthcare professionals with 5,000 masks and face shields, and has supplied more than 20,000 groceries to the community since the lockdown with the new Corona began early last year.
BB: How much do you think the Filipino market will recover in the next 12 months?
PW ：I think the Philippines will follow the recovery of the wider world. Its main driving force will be the situation where locals can be vaccinated. The Philippine national and local governments are actively promoting vaccine procurement and vaccination in cooperation with private companies, and are strongly promoting local vaccination throughout 2021. As the recovery from the corona scourge becomes apparent, the market will return to its previous level with the resumption of sightseeing trips, the ability to play at capacity limits, and the removal of age restrictions.
BB: Prior to Corona, the Philippines was said to be one of the most exciting markets, if not the number one in Asia, from a slot perspective. Has it changed?
PW ：100% that’s right. Manila has some of the world’s largest jackpots in terms of size and quantity. On a typical floor in Manila, more than 500 million pesos (1.1 billion yen) of jackpots are in progress at the same time. Nothing beats such excitement.
“Mighty Cash” takes the grand jackpot start amount on the mass floor to a completely new level by offering 100 million pesos (about 220 million yen) and even 200 million pesos (450 million yen). I pulled it up. Aristocrat regularly launches new products of the Grand Jackpot of 50 million pesos (110 million yen) or 100 million pesos (220 million yen). Although a bit smaller, similar jackpots are driving players’ interest in Clark and soon in Cebu.
BB: What are the recent trends in the Filipino slot market?
PW ：Filipino regular casino players are looking to evolve into a jackpot bonus experience, and the strong momentum towards multi-denomial linked progressive continues to accelerate. Aristocrat will pioneer both of these mechanisms with Lightning Link and will continue to expand this popular category with Mighty Cash and other upcoming products. A fun era awaits.
BB: What do you do on your days off, leaving the new Corona aside?
PW ：As a man with a family, I get energy from my wonderful wife and wonderful children. Also, we have built great relationships here and inside the gaming industry. I enjoy golf, scuba diving and vacations on remote islands.
BB: Finally, where would you go first if you could finally leave the Philippines?
PW ：it’s simple. I’m going back to America. I haven’t returned for a long time, so I’m looking forward to resuming with my family.