Aristocrat: James Boje plays hard, talks harder

There are no punches pulled when James Boje, ARISTOCRAT Managing Director EMEA, gets into a fight – figuratively speaking that is – and there are no half measures either when answering topical questions, where sometimes his passion brings about hard talk rhetoric.

With more than 30 years in the industry spanning a lifetime in gaming, from his native South Africa at casino giant Sun International through EMEA VP at IGT, based in Amsterdam, and a similar position at MEI Group in England; and to similar corporate executive responsibilities at other industry leaders, James has been working hard as a gaming professional and has now established his brand of leadership at ARISTOCRAT, where he surely will reach new career heights.

Soon after taking up his post at ARISTOCRAT we managed to grab lunch in the English countryside at a pub called The Golden Lion in Winchester, blessed by that British rarity of a warm summer’s day. The high temperature was matched only by the high tempo delivery of a man truly on a mission. Some rain has soaked England since then and now, in his second year into the job, we met for another pow-wow.


RCM: So, tell us, James, how is ARISTOCRAT coping with your brand of management in this brave new global gaming age when clients want everything here and now?

JAMES BOJE: “Well, Ricki, as you know, I’m there to deliver what I promise, and I’m happy to say that as the single company staying true and loyal to our partners, clients and friends for 60-plus years in the gaming industry, at ARISTOCRAT we do just that. We deliver. You saw during ICE, last February, the impact carried by our slogan The Big Play, with products like Lightning Link, Aristocrat’s first player-selectable multi-denomination progressive link, which is taking the gaming world by storm. Please excuse the pun, but our first Lighting Link installation in EMEA has been lightning quick and is already growing in popularity amongst players. WestSpiel, the German casino operator is the first European operator to go live with Lightning Link and was amongst the first group of visitors to Aristocrat’s Big Play stand at ICE, when they placed a quick repeat order for eight more Helix machines. WestSpiel wanted it here and now and ARISTOCRAT made sure they got it.

RCM. Sure, Lightning Link is a casino operator’s dream product. I saw one of them in Las Vegas G2E last September, doing exactly the same as WestSpiel. What other products did you exhibit at ICE?

JAMES BOJE: “Our new Arc Double cabinet also showed well in London, with pulsating licensed content including Game of Thrones, Britney Spears and, forthcoming, The Walking Dead. Also displayed for the first time were the mighty two-player Behemoth cabinet – with its colossal 84-inch ultra high definition screen – and the new Arc Single curved portrait screen cabinet, for which a range of games has been specially developed to cater for all playing segments. More than ever we are concentrating on bringing exciting, ground-breaking technologies and services to the international gaming industry, with products that impact the bottom line, as we have been doing since the start of the company.

RCM: Sure enough, but when it comes to gaming brands, ARISTOCRAT reminds us of that great old uncle whom we love but is not quite first in our thoughts when thinking about exciting new things.

JAMES BOJE: “That’s where you’re wrong!  At ARISTOCRAT our purpose is simple – to create products that deliver the world’s greatest gaming experience each and every day – for both operator and player – and showing why our name is very high up there in an ever increasing global community.  This now exceeds 200 countries where the ARISTOCRAT brand holds a reputation as a premium gaming industry supplier and in each and every one of them we stay loyal to our brand and our partners.

“And it’s not just a commitment to working in partnership with industry, governments and regulators with technologically ground-breaking products, but with a sense of loyalty to our gaming world to ensure we meet all of our responsibilities, whether commercial, regulatory, social or environmental.  And, Ricki, I think that I don’t need to remind you that ARISTOCRAT has a long tradition of core values of integrity and respect for the individual and the communities within which we operate.”

RCM: And you believe that Aristocrat has the capacity to keep changing the industry for the better?

JAMES BOJE: “Our intention is to show that whilst we did change the industry forever, all those years ago when ARISTOCRAT developed the video technology in gaming machines, we certainly aim to hold on to the values we hold most dear and at the same time have the courage to transform the way we look after our industry – with transparency and keeping our focus on delivering improved consistency and service through staying true and loyal. If this changes the industry forever, well, it won’t be the first time.”