Casino operator Skycity has replaced its 10-year-old Aristocrat core gaming platform in a four-year project yielding up to 15 times more data a day.
The listed company operates casinos, hotels and conference centres in Darwin and Adelaide in Australia, and Queenstown, Auckland and Hamilton in New Zealand.
It has an in-house IT team of 100, including 15 in Australia, and runs eight data centres with two in each city besides Queenstown.
Auckland-based chief information officer Mike Clarke said Skycity had been working to deploy a new, virtualised Bally core gaming platform since 2008.
Skycity deployed new HP servers and storage arrays for the project, to keep both systems online while the new one was built and tested.
Clarke said the project involved a “significant investment” but would not disclose the exact cost.
“[Gaming platforms are] like ERP systems – larger, actually. These things stay in for a long time,” he said.
Clarke said the project was driven by the business’ demand for improved customer relationship management (CRM) and analytics, with the Bally platform delivering more advertising capabilities than its accounting-focused predecessor.
The new platform is used by all gaming kiosks, table game terminals and poker machines in Skycity’s five casinos – including about 2200 poker machines in Auckland alone.
It is integrated with Skycity’s promotions engine, CRM system, and analytics and reporting tools and supported by a new high-speed data network comprising 400 HP networking switches throughout the casinos and hotels.
Clarke said it is a “fundamentally different system” to the decade-old Aristocrat platform, and could allow casino visitors to order drinks and make restaurant reservations from their poker machines.
To date, the new platform has yielded ten to 15 times more customer and gaming data than its predecessor. Clarke said Skycity had yet to decide exactly what and how much data it would store.
After turning on the last part of the new platform in Queenstown last week, Clarke plans to redeploy his IT team towards more application and content development work.
“The casino and entertainment industry drives customer loyalty by providing premium, personalised services,” he said.
“Our IT systems need to be able to match the speed and performance our guests expect.”