“We will likely see AI-generated games in the coming months”
Chief Online Gaming & Chief Marketing Officer – at Grand Casino Baden, Brian Christner tells us about his extensive career in iGaming, which he started many years ago at IGT. We also discuss artificial intelligence and new technologies in the gaming industry.
You’ve had a diverse career journey, from working on slot machine systems to your current role as Chief Online Gaming and CMO for the Stadt Casino Baden Group. Can you share the key moments and experiences that led you to your current position?
I’ve been very fortunate to have started my career with IGT in Las Vegas in 2000 during the evolution of the slot machine from electro-mechanical to fully digital machines and TITO (Ticket-in, Ticket-Out). It was a really exciting time to be in gaming as the evolution coincided with many new regulated jurisdictions opening worldwide. Physical casinos were opening what seemed like monthly at this time.
Have you also worked for IGT in European offices?
Around 2004, I had the opportunity to move from Las Vegas to the IGT Europe office in The Netherlands. Moving from the giant office of IGT, where we had an enormous team of engineers and developers, to IGT Europe and a small team of engineers was quite a learning experience.
However, I credit a considerable portion of my core knowledge to this experience. I was fortunate enough to be involved in pre/post sales, support, project management, and engineering for IGT customers throughout Europe and Asia. Being in such a small team allowed me to be part of every aspect of the casino business, from casino accounting and marketing to game performance analysis. This experience helped shape my leadership skills which I have used throughout my experience.
After the Netherlands, it was time to move to Switzerland
After ten years of working globally, I moved to Switzerland. During my first few years in Switzerland, I built the Swiss Cloud with the national telecom provider, Swisscom. I discovered the new IT technology ‘Docker containers’ at Swisscom and contributed to the project by chance. Quickly, I became one of the first Docker Captains (Ambassador) for Docker, and I started visiting tech conferences advocating for Docker worldwide. This was a fantastic highlight in my career, as you rarely get to be at the ground level of new revolutionary technology. Now, Docker containers are the infrastructure basis of most of the internet and Public Cloud computing we use today.
During my time as a Docker ambassador and speaking with many companies, I discovered a gap in the market. Next, I launched one of the first Docker & DevOps consulting companies in Switzerland, where we became one of the first Amazon partners in Switzerland. We were 100% remote already before it became a common practice. After several years, I sold my portion of the company to my partners and decided to take a break and focus on being with my family.
Did another important period in your career begin during the coronavirus pandemic?
In 2021, I started with the Stadtcasino Baden Group as Chief Online Gaming and recently also became responsible for Marketing as CMO. It was in the middle of COVID, and online casinos were fresh in the market for about one and a half years. It was the perfect match to my profile as I have a lot of experience with land-based casinos and slot accounting systems and am well versed in technology, Cloud, and running technical/agile organizations. On top of this, I was very excited at the opportunity to shape and lead a team.
In your role as Chief Online Gaming & Chief Marketing Officer, you oversee various aspects of the online casino. Can you elaborate on the challenges and opportunities in managing such a multifaceted role?
It is challenging, but I thrive on challenges. My role is running our online casino jackpots.ch and marketing for the group for our land-based and online casinos. We are working towards building a best-in-class Omnichannel solution based on Gamanza technologies, which also belongs to the Stadt Casino Baden Group. We are working full speed towards a seamless experience for our online and offline guests.
You’re known for advocating Open Source Standards, Omnichannel, and iGaming. How do these principles shape your approach to technology and marketing in the online gaming industry?
I’m very passionate about all of these topics. We must push for some Open industry standards to help our industry grow and integrate more easily with other providers. Creating open-source standards for IT with Docker containers revolutionized the Cloud and IT as we know it today, and I believe the same thing can be done for iGaming.
Looking back at your career, what achievements or projects are you particularly proud of
I am incredibly proud of being in Cloud computing since the beginning and starting my own company based on this experience. Projects related to our Online Casino Jackpots.ch and I am particularly proud of the entire Jackpots and Marketing teams as we continue to be first movers pushing the entire Swiss casino market forward. For example, we recently launched our very own Crash Game ‘Air Racer’ from Gamanza Games Studio, the first crash game in Switzerland.
What are your thoughts on the future of online gaming, especially regarding technology trends and customer expectations?
We will start seeing more AI utilized with iGaming. We will likely see AI-generated games in the coming months. Once the interface between a game and AI becomes user-friendly, I envision content being generated as you play.
Of course, AI is not just for the front end but also Social responsibility and player protection. We will see more AI assisting players with player protection going forward.