GGB Magazine Spotlights SAFEBET: An Industry Game-Changer During COVID and Beyond

See Full Article in Global Gaming Business Magazine

Here’s a new twist on safety in numbers.

For the casino world, it means that without safety, there are no numbers. The gaming industry, aided by sharp vendors, enters a safety age exceeding hand-sanitizing stations, Plexiglas shields and social-distance markers.

At relatively breakneck speed, vendors have unearthed products integrating safety and finance. The advancements look so creative they may also help the country leave the Covid-19 era. Other innovations are psychological, as in the engagement between companies and patrons via social casinos and their marketing vehicles.

Once the Covid-19 era recedes—and it will—analysts may recall this time as the industry embracing unprecedented ingenuity.

Bet on Safety

HBG Design is well-known for building great structures, but when the pandemic hit, the company geared efforts toward protecting them.

Enter SafeBet, a solution geared to the epicenter of the casino economic engine, the slot floor. From a health standpoint, it’s almost a luxury super box.

A Plexiglas component, which can help prevent someone from being sneezed upon, is joined by an air-filtration system that catches small droplets. There are also partitions between stations. A player can be in the middle of the action while retaining personal space.

Rick Gardner, AIA, CEO, principal and practice leader for HBG, says the company began designing this solution last April, as the pandemic was closing casinos and halting projects. Its solution targets both the current and perceived post-pandemic environments.

“We immediately started thinking about making casino gaming safe in the face of Covid-19, but a few months into the spring we quickly realized this is a different kind of pandemic, with a lasting impact unlike anything the world has experienced before,” Gardner asserts.

“I’m an optimist at heart, but there will be something else post-Covid affecting public health even after we get vaccines in arms and achieve herd immunity. Even if we’re just talking about the human psyche, we are forever changed. Will anyone want to sit shoulder-to-shoulder at a slot bank ever again? We don’t think so. Human behavior pre-Covid already favored physical separation between individuals.”

Why not embrace it? The safety measures enable people to play, but the concept can also be used for exclusivity, especially for high-limit games. Any operator able to manage this may turn survival into revival.

Here’s how it works:

Air from the indoor casino environment enters SafeBet through the intake grill, designed low to draw less smoke-laden air than air found in the upper reaches of a typical casino floor. As the indoor casino air enters the SafeBet intake grill, it is propelled by a recirculating fan through a patent-pending, ultraviolet-C lamp fixture custom-designed for SafeBet.

The indoor air is cleaned via two proven filtration systems. They are UVC radiation, designed to kill any viruses, bacteria or mold spores by exposure to ultraviolet light; and needle point bipolar ionization, which attracts air particulates like a magnet, stopping them in their tracks before proceeding to the supply air in the breathing zone.

The distribution of ionized air is introduced evenly into the breathing zone at a low velocity into the SafeBet station at the approximate height of an average person’s head/nose/mouth, providing a clean, particulate-free air supply to the guest.

“I think one of the key differentiators of SafeBet as a Covid product is that it’s not what you typically think of first,” Gardner says. “When I think of Covid products, my mind goes to jumbo-size hand sanitizer pumps, face masks, washing hands, etc., more in the PPE realm. I also think about the Plexiglas partitions that were initially installed as temporary fixes.

“So, when I think of SafeBet as a Covid product, it represents more of a design enhancement that solves customer safety challenges, but you honestly can’t even tell it’s a Covid product. That’s part of the beauty and ingenuity of it.”

Gardner says HBG wanted to create a long-term solution to innovate, adapt, research, design and build a product that not only addressed the critical needs of its customers now, but anticipated the future.

Gardner says SafeBet will be a difference-maker between casinos. HBG is collaborating with its manufacturing and distribution partner, KGM Gaming of Philadelphia, to take the product to the market, initially through existing casino clients who represent first adopters. A prototype is available to explore and experience in KGM’s Philadelphia showroom.

HBG expects to have initial installations in place in the first quarter of 2021.

“Casino customers have a choice in where they want to go and play, and by and large they gravitate to slot machines,” he says. “When a customer experiences the choice of gaming in a SafeBet station, we believe their time on machine will actually increase, and the stations themselves will generate more play.”

 


Graceland's Chapel in the Woods receives Merit Award from AIA Memphis

HBG Design received the AIA Merit Award from the AIA Memphis Chapter for Graceland's Chapel in the Woods in Memphis, Tennessee.

Just under 2,600 square feet, this quaint chapel represents the down-to-earth side of Elvis, who was raised in small-town Tupelo, Mississippi. An ode to rural church design, the humble chapel’s shotgun framework makes nature the main showcase, outside and in.

This quaint chapel, accessed only by a scenic walking path, sits among trees and gardens not far from Elvis Presley’s Graceland© Mansion and new resort experience in Memphis, Tennessee.

Inspired by Elvis’ childhood home in Tupelo, Mississippi, a simple shotgun style, the modest structure is a distinct contrast from the legendary performer’s famous 1970s mansion. And that was intentional. Elvis is not only an international music icon, but he is known for his true ‘rags to riches’ story from his humble beginnings as a small-town boy with gospel roots. Designers considered this duality and the Owner’s vision for “a small rustic country chapel” when creating the design.

Through the steep gabled entryway, three elevations of glass windows frame views to the surrounding trees, giving the serene perception of being married in the woods. White horizontal exterior siding wraps around the exterior façade moving through into the interior walls to connect exterior and interior design elements. The light siding is contrasted with rich, rustic wooden beams, columns and interior siding, softened by the varying hues of green plantings outside. Clean architectural details provide reveals and relief on all surfaces. Large dramatic trusses in the main chapel bring a touch of complexity to the otherwise simple shotgun chapel typology.

The chapel purposely presents a straightforward organization of space – with rooms for the bride and groom, traditional wooden pews and an outdoor reception space – remaining true to the duality that was Elvis Presley.

To find out more about the project and project team, you can view the award submittal at AIA Memphis.


The Star Luxury Apartments receives Honor Award from AIA Memphis

HBG Design received the AIA Honor Award from the AIA Memphis Chapter for the restoration and revitalization of The Star Luxury Apartments at the Historic Texaco Building in downtown Houston, Texas. To find out more about the project and project team, you can view the award submittal at AIA Memphis.

Designers undertook a vigorous restoration and revitalization effort to convert a long-abandoned, century-old landmark headquarters as a stunning 17-story mixed-use multi-family tower, reconnecting it to the urban fabric as a focal point for downtown Houston’s live-work-play vision.

After oil giant Texaco moved out of its downtown Houston location in 1989, the historic, century-old office building stood vacant for more than twenty years waiting for its next purpose. Engaged by a local developer with plans to reshape the desolate building into a luxury apartment community, designers had a large task ahead of them. Originally designed in Renaissance Revival style with Beaux-Arts accents, The Star incorporates an initial, 13-story structure that opened in 1915, with an addition added in 1938 and a 16-story addition added in 1958. Though mostly gutted over its 30 years of non-use, sitting in dilapidated condition in the heart of central downtown, many historically-significant features were judged to be restorable. Designers worked hand-in-hand with historic regulatory agencies through extensive approval processes in the preservation and sourcing of similar materials to match the original design intent of the building. Creative design by the architects altered the building layout from an office floor plate to apartment units. To accommodate the new use, the team designed an L-shaped 66,000 square foot addition to the back side of the historic building, increasing the overall dimension of the upper floors. This solution was able to increase density and create more efficient use of the land, while maintaining historic integrity.

 


HBG Design named a Rising Giant by Interior Design Magazine

HBG Design's interior design team has been named a Rising Giant in the 2020 ID Rising Giants list by Interior Design Magazine. To see the full list visit Interior Design Magazine. 

 

 


HBG Design Named Top Workplace for 6th Consecutive Year

HBG Design has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2020 honor by The Commercial Appeal. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage, LLC. The anonymous survey uniquely measures 15 drivers of engaged cultures that are critical to the success of any organization: including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

This year HBG Design was also recognized as THE top workplace for outstanding benefits.  This is the second time HBG has been singled out for the strength of the firm's benefits with this special Top Workplace award.

"To be awarded this honor by you – our employees – for the sixth time in a row speaks volumes about the strength of our culture and our future," said Terri Struminger, COO at HBG Design, as she addressed staff at the annual State of the Firm event.

To see more visit The Commercial Appeal. 

 


HBG Design Named AIA TN Emerging Professionals Friendly Firm

We are excited to announce that we have once again been named one of top firms for Emerging Professionals in the state of Tennessee by AIA TN.

The guiding principals for companies to achieve this accolade include:

Foster Value and Retention of EPs
Providing unique firm cultures and benefits to encourage recruitment of EPs
Providing equitable compensation and benefits
Provide strong professional development for EPs
Mentorship
Encouraging and celebrating licensure
Providing EPs with a broad and diverse experiences in firm practice
Committing to and investing in EPs at all phases of their professional development
Promote EP engagement and leadership in the profession and the community
Providing leadership opportunities to EPs
Encouraging EPs to inform firm culture to transform the practice of architecture for the next generation.
Promoting involvement in the AIA and industry, charitable, and community organizations

For more information visit AIA TN


HBG Design Consistently Ranks as the #1 Largest Architecture Firm in Memphis

Memphis-Area Architectural Firms
Ranked by local licensed architects

Locally Researched by: Jason Bolton, Memphis Business Journal 


The Commercial Appeal Names HBG Design a Top Workplace for Fifth Year in a Row

The Commercial Appeal has awarded HBG Design a 2019 Top Workplace Honor for the fifth year in a row. The Top Workplaces award is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner, Energage, LLC.  The survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, values, execution and connection, just to name a few. “HBG is very intentional about promoting our core values across the organization,” said Terri Struminger, Chief Operating Officer of HBG Design. “We have a highly engaged team of talented professionals who inspire creativity and comradery in our daily experiences. The reward and acknowledgement of our strong workplace culture – especially for the fifth year in a row – is a compelling message to our team.”