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Acres has an outstanding team that keeps everything running. In this week’s profile, we talked with Noah Acres, to learn more about how Acres’ technology is revolutionizing the gaming industry (and how he once sold laser pointers for a living).
How do you talk about Acres technology?
I like to emphasize two main benefits of the technology. The first one is the delivery of real-time data. Data is something that casinos haven’t historically had access to and that’s part of why the industry hasn’t grown like others. If you look at Google or Facebook, they’re able to leverage real-time data to personalize user experiences which has helped them achieve explosive growth. Data is both powerful and profitable and Foundation delivers it to Operators in such a way that gives them autonomy.
Which brings me to the second big benefit. Foundation eliminates the middleman and allows Operators to decide which apps use their data, what they do with that data, how to increase or decrease their credit meter, and more. With legacy system providers, any data had to pass through those interfaces and casinos had to pay to get their data. In short, Foundation is enabling casinos to evolve with the times and keep up with current innovations.
How do you see Acres technology impacting the gaming industry?
By embracing the tools that Foundation provides, casinos are going to dramatically increase their revenues and create a whole new generation of people excited to play their games. If you go into the average casino today, you’ll notice a demographic of players that skews much older – around 55 and up. A lot of that is because casinos haven’t adopted new technology that will attract a new group of players. But with Foundation, and the innovation that it enables, casinos will be able to adopt newer technologies and increase revenues by bringing in a new and younger generation of dedicated players.
Is there a specific component of Foundation that you’re most excited about seeing in the industry?
Honestly, the entire platform is exciting to me. I’ve been in the casino industry for around 20 years and in that time I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it is to bring forth new ideas. There are barriers put up by legacy vendors and the industry is so highly regulated that it can be next to impossible for anyone new to come in. But with Foundation, we make it so easy for a new idea to get straight to the casinos. I predict we’re going to see a flood of innovation and in three to five years, the industry is going to be dramatically different. I’m not saying that Acres has a monopoly on great new ideas, but we are enabling people with great ideas to be able to deliver them to the casinos.
How did you get into the gaming industry with your dad?
I’ve always genuinely enjoyed the casino industry. I like to gamble, I hang out at casinos – I like everything about it. And growing up in my family, there was a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a high risk tolerance which meant we were expected and empowered to take risks and do our own thing. Starting a business or investing in something new was the logical thing to do in my family. More so than working your way up the corporate ladder. This spirit inspired me to start my first business after college, although it wasn’t related to gaming. My dad has always been into astronomy and one day he showed me this green laser pointer, and I swear the beam was so strong it touched the stars. I was blown away! So I decided to start selling them. I actually went to the factory in Taiwan and developed a good relationship with the owner and became well-versed in green laser pointers. I started a website and did everything myself – design, coding, and shipping – but I didn’t really know what I was doing. But a bizarre and lucky turn of events spurred real growth. On the heels of 9/11, a man got arrested for pointing a laser pointer at a helicopter and was charged with federal terrorism. Turns out he had bought the laser pointer from me. My website got so many mentions around this story that I sold out in three days and was backlogged for over a year! Obviously I wish that had happened in a way that no one got arrested, but it was such a good lesson for me. Most kids my age wouldn’t have invested everything they had in green laser pointers from Taiwan. But I did, and I’ve kept that entrepreneurial spirit with me.
But to get back to the original question, I started working with my dad when he was consulting for gaming companies on patent and intellectual property matters. As part of that work, we started working on ideas for new games and features – we even came up with a language change platform for Chinese casinos that quickly changed the language on games from English to Chinese. After the Great Recession dried up that funding, I was offered the opportunity to run the Riviera in Vegas as the VP of Gaming & Marketing, and from there, I started helping my dad build up Acres 4.0. And the rest, as they say, is history.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Now I spend most of my time doing stuff with my kids so I don’t get to go to as many casinos anymore. I have a daughter in high school who is a stand-out softball player and I’m helping her with her recruiting, which is really exciting. Otherwise, I spend most of my time as a taxi driver for my kids and their activities.