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

Published: | Updated:

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


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.

Click to enlarge photo

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.

Click to enlarge photo

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, 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.

Click to enlarge photo

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.

Click to enlarge photo

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.”

Getting Cozy with Gary Platt Manufacturing – Casino Journal April 2017 Issue

Getting Cozy with Gary Platt Manufacturing – Casino Journal April 2017 Issue

Written by Joan Mantini, Associate Editor at Casino Journal.

Gary Platt Manufacturing LLC has been in the casino seating business since 1996, and today they produce seating exclusively for casinos including slots, table games, poker, bar-top and bingo.

The company was founded on the concept that a high quality more comfortable chair would increase player’s time on device. By specializing in casino seating, Gary Platt has become one of the recognized leaders in performance seating by casino customers and casino management. The company features a very robust and creative product development team that is willing to work with casinos and designers to help them realize their vision.

Casino Journal Associate Editor Joan Mantini recently touched base with Skip Davis, president of Gary Platt Manufacturing, to discuss their focus on social seating for the casino floor and company plans for 2017. Below are some excerpts from that conversation:

What role does social spaces and seating play in your product development?

Davis: To date, our focus on social seating for the casino floor has been primarily centered on custom designed creations, such as benches and sound chairs. Off the casino floor, our operator partners have been utilizing our bar and other type seating for their social space. We anticipate our customers will have increasing interest in this area as they reach out to new demographics, and our design teams are continually conducting research in this area.

In recent years, what are some of the things you have learned and integrated into your products to help create the look and comfort for the Millennials at casinos?

Davis: We have developed new models that incorporate modern design elements, to give our customers an even greater choice of the look and brand feel they want to project to their Millennial customers and other customer segments. Multi-player benches, sound benches and customized seating options have also been interesting to our customers.

What do you think casino operators are looking for to keep their casino furniture up to date?

Davis: Keeping casino furniture up-to-date is part of a larger question of profitability… as operators, how can we keep our casino up-to-date, profitable and maintaining a high ROI? These factors certainly were a consideration for del Lago, MGM National Harbor and Rivers Casino—three new properties that exclusively chose Gary Platt Products. What we have found in supplying high performance casino seating to customers across North America and around the world is that operators are looking for furniture that will help them improve the financial performance of their casino. This can be interpreted many ways, but primarily means enhancing the experience they create for their players by providing attractive seating with unsurpassed comfort. Our design teams are continually innovating, and our current designs, ergonomically correct seat construction, and chairs that are easy-to-move/re-position are three important factors we take into consideration, based on operator feedback. Our customers also tell us they need durable products that will perform over a long period to improve their ROI. Of course, every operator wants to make a deliberate statement by introducing new and innovative products to their guests, and that includes seating. That’s why we recently introduced new and modern design options, such as our new Monaco model and our Epic base.

What is the importance of seating to the modern, land-based casino environment?

Davis: Our research has proven that quality, comfortable seating is one of the variables that contribute to the success of the modern casino. We all know players gravitate to a particular casino for many reasons, which could include factors such as proximity, service, games, player reward programs, restaurants, social aspects and others. What we know from our two decades of experience in the casino space is a casino’s seating has to be inviting and comfortable. Operators spend an enormous amount of money to get players to games. So once the players are seated at the games, they need and want to be as comfortable as possible. This is true for standard-limit areas as well as high-limit areas, such as the new high-limit area at Rocky Gap, which exclusively chose our chairs.

At Gary Platt, we have scoured the world for the highest quality foam for unsurpassed comfort, and our design teams work extensively with ergonomics experts. That combination helps to ensure our customers’ guests are comfortable, and have an enjoyable experience that they want to extend and enjoy over and over again, never leaving just because their seats are uncomfortable.

Why should casinos care about this?

Davis: An operator’s chair purchase decision will directly influence the overall profitability of the casino. Their players care about the quality, comfort and appearance of the chairs. We’ve proven that with nearly two decades of field experience and research, and it is a logical conclusion. No one reading this article wants to spend an hour or two in an uncomfortable chair or in uncomfortable shoes or in uncomfortable shirt. We are creatures of comfort, so when operators make a conscious decision to provide their guests with a comfortable seat, guests respond by staying and enjoying themselves longer.

What would you say casinos are doing when it comes to integrating social spaces into customer-facing products such as chairs and furniture?

Davis: This has been an interesting trend throughout the hospitality industry. New casinos we have been involved with have deliberately constructed more socially driven spaces into their designs. Established casinos, such as San Manuel and its new Rock & Brews, are creating new social spaces. In each of these cases, the operators chose Gary Platt chairs because of their comfort; after all, a social space is a place to sit, relax and be comfortable.

When it comes to seating and furniture, what are some of the challenges casinos face when trying to create social environments for players? What are you doing to alleviate these challenges?

Davis: Social spaces are designed to be quickly re-configurable depending on the needs of the moment, so one directive we continually hear from our customers is that our chairs must be easily moveable, in addition to durable and comfortable. Another interesting point in the social environment space is we are seeing more bench seating than ever before. Players are enjoying the game together as pairs or in groups, and our customers report to us that our bench seating is proving to be a valuable solution to the way their guests are enjoying the casino today.

What are some of your best-selling products?

Davis: We are very pleased that our newest products have been performing very well with our customers, both at newly opened casinos, such as Del Lago/Kansas Crossing, MGM National Harbor and Rivers Casino, and at casinos with new amenities, such as Rocky Gap and San Manuel. Our new models such as Monaco, Lido, Lido Revo, Sonoma Bench, San Remo, have performed very well for us, as have our new understructures which are designed to adjust the footrest position to improve comfort.

What are your plans for 2017 in terms of development and new products lines?

Davis: We have development efforts working on many levels, including two new products we expect to release later this year. These are ultra-high comfort seats that can be used in any gaming area and that easily translate to non-gaming/social areas, such as lounges and bars. We also have several products being developed today for specific new casino projects that will likely become part of our standard offering once those casinos open. In addition, we are always working on at least one sound chair where we expect to raise the bar and the volume. We also have two new markets that we are entering that have application for casino hotels and conference and multipurpose areas of resort casinos. And then there are the designs we haven’t even thought of yet. That’s one exciting part of our business is our design teams are constantly creating, constantly innovating.

Do you have any new/recent partnerships or business?

Davis: We recently named E-screen Limited our exclusive United Kingdom distributor, and we have distributor arrangements in place with select distributors in key markets worldwide. Additionally, in the very near future, we will be announcing several new business deals and arrangements—some within the gaming industry and some outside of the gaming industry. This all makes it a very exciting time at Gary Platt.

Skip Davis is president of Gary Platt Manufacturing, a Reno-based company that creates and distributes casino seating products to the worldwide gaming industry. He can be reached at

Page 1 of 3123