A look at Gary Platt, TC Millwork, MGR, and StylGame – Casino Journal

Gary Platt G2E, Casino Seating, Casino Chairs

A look at Gary Platt, TC Millwork, MGR, and StylGame – Casino Journal

By Joan Mantini – Casino Journal, November 2017

PROFILE: Gary Platt celebrates 20 years with a front row seat

Gary Platt Manufacturing is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the casino seating industry. The milestone achievement has been made possible by the company’s exclusive focus on gaming chairs for the casino market and by delivering the most comfortable experience possible for its customers and their players.

“Making players feel at home… that was the philosophy company founder Gary Platt brought to his designs 20 years ago, and the idea revolutionized the gaming industry,” said Skip Davis, president of Gary Platt Manufacturing. “Today, his philosophy continues to drive the company, helping tens of millions of players feel at home, stay comfortable and enjoy their favorite games longer, positively impacting the bottom lines of operators everywhere.”

Over the past 20 years, Gary Platt Manufacturing’s extensive line of chairs have come to populate the floors of hundreds of casinos worldwide, according to press materials. Gary Platt continues to be at the pioneering edge of casino seating design with its new and innovative ergonomic chair concepts.

From the curvy San Remo to the sleek Monaco, the company has modern chair styles that reinvent the shape of comfort industry-wide. Each new style features ergonomics that are the independent creation of the company’s team of seating experts. Providing built-in lumbar support and other contours to fit the human form, every seat has Gary Platt’s unique waterfall front edge, relieving stress on the player’s legs.

Each new style was created with a unique proprietary injection molded blend of foam made exclusively for Gary Platt and designed for casino applications, molded to the perfect density to ensure lasting comfort and elasticity, and coming with a lifelong guarantee. Every chair is designed with unrivaled attention to detail, using only the highest quality materials, inside and out. Every detail is considered and planned to deliver a carefully crafted experience.

Read the full article on Casino Journal’s website.

Made for Comfort – Inside Asian Gaming

G2E 2017

Made for Comfort – Inside Asian Gaming

By Ben Blaschke – Inside Asian Gaming April 2017

Gary Platt Manufacturing is not only the world’s leading supplier of casino chairs, it was also the company that revolutionized the casino seating industry.

If you’ve ever wondered what separates one casino chair from another, the story of Gary Platt’s winning bid for MGM National Harbor – Washington DC’s brand new integrated resort – provides a case in point.

Three years before the property finally opened its doors in December 2016, one of the US furniture company’s rivals began work on a concept they hoped would win the hearts and behinds of MGM management. Then, a year out from launch, Gary Platt Manufacturing had a go.

“They had senior management all the way up to the President of MGM and the General Manager of the property sit on them (the chairs) and their decision was ultimately based on comfort.”

First founded in 1996 in a tiny warehouse in Los Angeles, the success of Gary Platt Manufacturing has always been built around a unique appreciation of a client’s needs. It was, for example, this philosophy that saw the company move to Reno during those early years because Reno was home to its lone customer, IGT. It was also what led the start-up towards the native American market – one it recognized as being severely under-served.

But it was the company’s ground breaking Extended Play line of chairs, first released in 2003, that revolutionized the industry and saw the company become a major player in international casino supply.

“It was completely different to everything that was being offered in the casino seating market at the time,” says Davis. “We quickly went from selling 10 or 15 models that were a variety of the old style seat – very small seats with small backs and flat foam – to primarily the Extended Play line. In a very short period, 80% of our chairs were this new Extended Play and it just sat completely different from what people were used to seeing. It totally changed their thoughts.”

Not surprisingly, the idea that by simply offering a more comfortable chair players would remain at the tables longer proved irresistible to operators.

“That was our play from the get-go,” continues Davis. “Time on device was our big coin phrase and our play to this day is that people pay a ton of money to market their property and get customers in the door. Those customers should never get up from a game because they feel fatigued in terms of the ‘sit’ of the chair.

“We needed to make a chair that was attractive enough and comfortable. We wanted people to sit down and say ‘Wow’.”

These days Gary Platt Manufacturing produces around 75,000 chairs a year, making it the number one global casino chair supplier as well as the top supplier of chairs for electronic gaming machines due to partnerships with the likes of IGT and Aristocrat.

The company has also changed the way operators approach chair design in general. Two decades ago, casino seating was almost an afterthought. Now it takes years of planning to arrive at a concept that is both comfortable and ergonomically sound while simultaneously meeting an operator’s stringent design brief.

“At the end of the day we’ve got to give our customers a product to fit their needs and they need it to work for their customers,” offers Davis, whose Asian clients include Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands. “The ones who are really tuned in are the ones who are really focused on their customer experience and the chair is an important part of that.

“It’s the one thing that customers truly have contact with when they are sitting at a game and playing. It’s the seat. And they don’t think about it much but it’s got to be ergonomically correct, it’s got to give you back support, it’s got to give you leg support without stressing your legs. It sounds really simple but if you sit in the different casino seats that are available today you’ll see a lot of people don’t get it.”

Which brings Davis to another key point – don’t mess with a winning formula.

“It’s one of our primary philosophies,” he says. “In our market these days we deal with operators who are interested in the return on every investment they make, including the chair. We also work with designers who view the chair as an aesthetic complement to the environment around it.

“As a result, sometimes we get designs that just don’t sit well so we try to work with the designers and the operators to get them to agree to a hybrid that still has the comfort but gives the designers something that they’re looking for.

“But we’re lucky that we have an in-house designer who is probably the world’s best when it comes to ergonomics and comfort and we have a proprietary foam supplier who has been supplying our foam for 15 years, so there is none better.

“Some of our competitors will mess with their densities and elasticities to meet customer demand but we won’t touch our formula. It is what it is. We’re not making it softer and we’re not making it harder because it’s right.

“We stick to that and we don’t even discuss it with our customers because we don’t want to change it.”

 

Find full article at the Inside Asian Gaming Website.

The Downfall of Traditional Casino Chairs – Casinopedia

Casino Chairs

The Downfall of Traditional Casino Chairs – Casinopedia

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If you’re wondering how much influence chair design has on playing time and engagement, the answer is quite a lot – that’s according to the experts on such matters.

Those experts include Skip Davis, president of Gary Platt Manufacturing. The Reno-based firm specializes in creating innovative gaming chairs for land-based casinos in particular.

In their quest to keep gamblers seated, placated and merrily pushing buttons, casinos can be very accommodating.

From comps to technology that enables players to order refreshments and top up their account without leaving the game, almost every aspect of the casino experience has been agonized over by operators.

One crucial component of casino games which has historically been overlooked, however, is seating.

Despite being largely responsible for the comfort or discomfort a player experiences while spinning slot machines, the ergonomics of chair design are something which has traditionally been given scant consideration.

Given that Nevada has over 166,000 slot and video poker machines alone and that competition among casinos is fierce, it’s surprising that enterprising operators haven’t gone out of their way to fit La-Z-Boy chairs that offer the last word in luxury and comfort, in the process luring Nevadan gamblers in their droves.

With slots and video poker players gambling away $2 billion at Nevada casinos in the first quarter of 2017 alone, the money’s certainly there with which to upgrade seating arrangements. Given that the first casinos to install premium seating would likely see a rapid return on investment from the upswell in new players and increase in playing time, it’s odd that no operator has been bold enough to seize the initiative.

The secrets of casino chair design

“If you look at a typical slot chair, what you’re trying to do is to get people to stay for extended periods of time to play,” said Skip Davis.

“You want to design it right and make sure it fits the game properly, in terms of height and access to the button panel. And, more importantly, you make it so comfortable that the chair doesn’t give you any reason to get up and leave the game.”

Chair designers naturally pay more attention to the sort of finer details that most mere mortals wouldn’t spot. According to Skip Davis, it’s the sort of foam used in the chair which dictates its comfort, with both the density and elasticity playing pivotal roles in determining how the comfort of a particular chair is perceived.

The days of the traditional chair could be numbered

The shape of the chair and the amount of lumbar support are also important factors in eliminating discomfort and incentivizing players to remain in sit and rolling reels for hours at a time.

As casino gaming evolves, the days of the traditional chair could be numbered. While comfort will always be a key factor, interactive gaming machines are now incorporating additional features such as speakers, shakers and subwoofers.

With casino chairs starting to resemble video game chairs, coupled with the rise in skill-based casino games, the line separating gambling and gaming is starting to become increasingly blurred.

 

Bet your bottom dollar chairs matter in casinos – Las Vegas Sun June 2017

Casinos

Bet your bottom dollar chairs matter in casinos – Las Vegas Sun June 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017 | 2 a.m.

The bulk of Nevada’s economy rests on one unglamorous, taken-for-granted object.

It supports most of the state’s gaming win and resultant tax revenue, as well as a large portion the quarterly earnings for publicly traded gaming companies and as a result, sometimes their stock prices.

To a large degree the fortunes of gaming establishments from the smallest neighborhood tavern to the largest Strip resort literally sit on this item.

We’re talking about chairs — the kind seen in front of almost every one of the 166,855 slot and video poker machines in Nevada.

Players dropped nearly $2 billion into casino coffers while sitting on 148,313 chairs in front of slot and video poker machines in Nevada’s nonrestricted casinos (places with 16 or more games) in the first quarter of 2017, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board,

That number doesn’t include money from the 18,542 other slot and video poker chairs in neighborhood bars, drug stores and supermarkets. In Nevada gaming regulations, these are known as restricted locations with 15 or fewer machines. They aren’t required to report gaming revenue.

It also doesn’t include the money casinos made from people sitting on chairs and playing blackjack and other games or betting on sports, which totaled just a little more than $1 billion during that same quarter.

It’s hard to know how many chairs contributed to that billion. With slots, one game almost always equals one chair but casinos can vary the number of chairs at table games or in sports books.

Tale of the tail

According to one manufacturer, the right chair at the right game can really help a casino’s bottom line.

“If you look at a typical slot chair, what you’re trying to do is to get people to stay for extended periods of time to play,” said Skip Davis, president of Reno-based Gary Platt Manufacturing, which builds slot and video poker chairs.

“You want to design it right and make sure it fits the game properly, in terms of height and access to the button panel. And, more importantly, you make it so comfortable that the chair doesn’t give you any reason to get up and leave the game.”

For their part, gaming executives definitely appreciate the importance of this, the most basic of casino furnishings.

“The chairs are vitally important, and we take a lot of care in choosing the right chair with the right look,” said Brian Benowitz, senior vice president of gaming operations at the Cosmopolitan. “It has to have both a good design element, and it has to function. And it has to last as well as be comfortable for the guest to sit there for hours.”

The Cosmopolitan has been revamping the casino floor and other areas recently to better appeal to players and in the process increase gaming revenues. The resort has replaced almost all of the 2,000 slot and table game chairs on the casino floor since it opened in 2010, Benowitz said.

Choosing the right chair is an important process, Benowitz said, involving most of the resort’s executives.

“We work with the design team to get the look we want in order to match it to the decor,” he said. “Then we specify the chairs and get samples made up. Then I and the executive team all the way up to the top, try out each of the chairs.”

A look back

Keeping backsides comfortable wasn’t always important to casinos. Back in the Rat Pack era, when Las Vegas first started garnering national attention, people stood while playing slots.

There are a number of theories why people had to stand and why eventually chairs were introduced. But according to Walt Hawkins, a slot industry veteran who has worked for manufacturers IGT and Aristocrat, the change came after casino operators realized people gambled longer when sitting down.

“Initially it was a manufacturer who was doing it just to be different,” Hawkins said. “He really could not, or did not patent it. The first machines designed specifically to work when players were seated were called slant tops.”

At first, the casinos placed stools in front of the machines but then, Hawkins said, the industry noticed people playing longer at video poker machines in bars with comfortable chairs.

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COURTESY OF GARY PLATT MANUFACTURING Alex Class, an assembler for Gary Platt Manufacturing of Reno, works on a chair. It typically takes Platt about six weeks to produce an order of 200 chairs.

Foam and form

Today, there’s no shortage of vendors selling chairs to casinos. At the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas last fall, 20 of the 450 exhibitors were promoting slot and video poker chairs.

The secret to keeping people in the chair is foam, said Davis, whose company, Gary Platt Manufacturing, is a major supplier of chairs.

“For our solution, it’s really all about the foam,” Davis said. “It’s about the density and elasticity of that foam and getting that right. Then you have to work on the depth and designing into the foam the ergonomic features you need to give lumbar support and make sure there are no pressure points.”

The shape is crucial, Davis said, especially when it comes to transition points like the edge between the top and the sides of the cushion. Platt’s designs typically use a rolling edge called a “waterfall” as opposed to sharp 90-degree turn which can put pressure on the back of player’s legs.

Getting the edges right, Davis said, is almost an art.

“We literally hand-sculpt the foam, and we have the best guy in the world sculpting our foam,” Davis said.

Davis said it typically takes Platt about six weeks to produce an order of 200 chairs, if there are no requests for special fabrics and if the company has the supplies on hand. While some orders are large, more than 4,000 units, most orders are for 500-1,000 chairs.

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COURTESY OF GARY PLATT MANUFACTURING Gary Platt Manufacturing of Reno produced chairs used in The Cromwell.

Platt offers many different models of chairs, 20 in 2016. But most of its business comes from one or two models that designers and gaming companies customize.

Comfort vs. aesthetics

The decision about which chair to use often pits interior designers against casino executives in a battle of look versus feel, Davis said.

“There are two very different views in general when you look at designers by their training and operators by their training,” he said. “One is trying to drive coin in and play, and the other is trying to design the look of property.”

The look is important, Davis said, but it’s also vital to remember a chair is an income-earning asset.

Slot machine chairs, Davis said, are typically 19 inches wide and can accommodate 90 to 98 percent of the behinds found in casinos. Chairs at table games, he said, will often be thinner to fit more customers at one table.

Also, the backs of table game chairs are typically lower, which makes it easier for cocktail waitresses to serve drinks and for other customers to watch the action.

The future of accessorizing

While basic casino chairs aren’t that complicated, extra chair features are being added as the gaming industry looks to interactive games to spur customer growth. And in some cases, it’s working.

Jean Scott, author of “The Frugal Gambler” and QueenOfComps.com, says she and her husband visit casinos at least twice a week primarily to play video poker rather than traditional slot machines.

They will make an exception, however, for one slot machine specifically because of its chair.

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STEVE MARCUS A zombie looks on as people try out the new “Walking Dead” video slot machine by Aristocrat during the G2E convention at the Sands Expo Center Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. The slots are themed after AMC’s Walking Dead television drama.

“‘The Walking Dead’ is one where when you hit a jackpot and if it’s working right, the seat jolts,” she said. “My husband never gets used that, and the first time it happened he nearly jumped out of his seat. Even after you think, ‘I know this is going to happen,’ it still surprises you the next time.”

Davis said extra features are increasingly part of Platt’s business. The company can build chairs with subwoofers, speakers, shakers and backlit displays. In addition, he said they’re working with manufacturer Interblock, building bench seating for that company’s new stadium-style electronic table games.

“We are working on one project right now with one of slot companies for a pod-style chair,” he said. “(It’s) basically to create more of a gamer experience for the player. They’ll be surrounded by the screen, and it has a more of an exclusive feel than it would have by just adding speakers.”

End of the line

At some point, regardless of the style or level of comfort, slot chairs have to be replaced. Fortunately, most chairs are easily repaired and have a long life even in an environment filled with cigarettes and alcohol, raucous winners and irate losers.

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STEVE MARCUS Slot chairs ($75 each) are shown during the first day of a liquidation sale at the Riviera on Thursday, May 14, 2015.

At a New York location, there are Platt chairs that have been in service for 10 years, Davis said. Caesars Entertainment says that the average life of its slot chairs is longer, approximately 12 years.

Jay Fennel, vice president of gaming development and technology for Golden Entertainment, which owns PT’s Pubs and casinos in Pahrump, said Golden uses a contractor to repair the chairs and keeps a supply of the parts needed to repair the chairs on hand, so they can “last indefinitely.“

But sometimes, the chairs are just too beat up stay on the casino floor. Then, they’re often hauled to a storage room and ultimately sold.

“At the Cosmopolitan, we liquidate them,” Benowitz said. “First, they are sent through to warehouse, where we decide if there’s any other use we can find for them. And if there’s not, we send them to a liquidator to be sold.”

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