Laura Schembri sat down with Jacob Zwaagstra, the Chief Executive Officer of Tricelta Development, a real estate development firm with a focus on tribal gaming to discuss what’s next for integrated resorts in a post-pandemic world.
Can master planning help rebuild tourism within the gambling industry?
Master planning is key to finding what will serve the community in the long and short run. Planning infrastructure, traffic, and amenities all bolster the tourism sector and drive the customer to want to live, work and play where an effective masterplan is deployed. In the gaming realm, it is about extending the guest’s stay. Without a robust master plan where experiences and amenities are present, that stay will be short. My job is stepping out of the now and evaluating the future demand to see what will drive that more extended-term experience.
This involves robust market studies, evaluation of current infrastructure (Roads, schools, growth potential, housing availability), planned legislation, along with the understanding of the local governing authorities and their openness to bring capital, opportunity, and ancillary tax revenue into their communities. That could focus on technology to complement what is already present, keeping an eye on the pulse of up-and-coming enhancements to the gaming experience, and continually taking the pulse of our customers to find ways to relay their voice in the physical asset manifestation.
How important are integrated resorts for the future of the gambling industry? Furthermore, what can we expect to see from them in the future?
An integrated guest experience is key to meeting the ever-changing landscape of the gaming industry. The experience from the time the guest drives onto the property through the time they check out has to be thought through to ensure essential experiences are relayed with their stay. This could be services like electric car charging that is relayed when the guest drops their vehicle off, enhanced services at each customer touchpoint to provide personalization whether it is at check-in, a restaurant or bar or pool cabana there must be a way to make the guest feel special and create brand loyalty and a comeback moment. We will continue to see a pivot where individual consumers can utilize their phones for a convenient guest experience.
Resorts will have to continue reinventing themselves with changeable attractions and focusing on the digital revenue that will be present as technologies continue to evolve in the e-gaming space.
Why is Oklahoma regarded as one of the major players of the U.S. poker scene?
Proximity, player ease, and a plethora of those that want to escape the mundane and take their shot are one of the reasons Oklahoma draws a large poker scene. The proximity to large metropolitan areas like Dallas/Oklahoma City offers players a quick and convenient escape to scratch their itch to play. The tribal casinos have done an excellent job catering to large tournaments to get the player pool introduced to their product. They keep coming back because the resorts are just as elegant as anything you may visit without the short plane ride to a larger venue. Poker is a phenomenon that is not going away. With opportunities in the near future for online betting while at the resort to enhance gaming, there is a strong opportunity for disruption in this space.
Do you believe the growth of the tribal casinos’ industry is dependent on expanding into mobile gaming? Moreover, why is this thought met with so much resistance from regulators?
I feel strongly that mobile gaming will enhance the brick-and-mortar casino environment that will change the landscape of the gaming experience. I have seen various technology entering the space for peer-to-peer betting, e-sport betting, and the opportunity to enhance the devices that every guest has on them 24/7. With any disruption, regulation, and a way to control that disruption are oversight roles in any casino environment. The consumer experience, a way to tax and profit and opportunity to enhance the local community all need to be talking points when any disruption is present. This allows for the protections that gaming authorities require, the opportunity to enhance the regulating body by relaying appropriate profiting for the whole, and thoughtful respect for how this will affect the citizens of that affected community. Tribal casinos are there for the benefit of their citizens, whether that is financial or in services. Regulators need to understand the benefits that mobile gaming could do to enhance these communities; with that visibility, there is an opportunity for a win-win from all parties involved.
Where do you think there are opportunities for the readers of Sigma Gaming Magazine inside the U.S.?
With the strategic deployment of capital, thoughtful planning of that capital, and partnerships to enhance all partners, I feel the opportunities in the U.S. are plentiful. The focus of TriCelta Development is to allow for strategic deployment to allow both tribal and commercial endeavours to thrive with controlled yet long-term planned deployment of licenses, capital, and resources to support our clients. The relationships we have developed over the last 20 years have us plugged into the hospitality world to have a leg up on what is coming down the pipe regarding an opportunity. If you would like to learn more, please visit www.triceltadevelopent.com and contact us directly.
Join us for the next SiGMA iGathering networking event in Amsterdam on the 29th of September at 19:00. Indulge in a delicious dinner at the Persijn Restaurant in QO Amsterdam Hotel while interacting with like-minded individuals as well as the region’s top industry leaders.