Galaxy Gaming chief quietly aims high


Flashy isn't Robert Saucier's style.

That's not to say table game provider Galaxy Gaming isn't making an impact.

Saucier started the company in a small casino in Washington state in 1997 with a side wager product for blackjack.

He is now chief executive officer of a company offering casinos nine nontraditional table games, more than a dozen side wager products, an electronic table game platform and two table game bonus systems.

A year ago, Las Vegas-based Galaxy made a splash with acquisition of three table game rivals, including a $23 million purchase of Prime Table Games.

Results from those transactions were evident in Galaxy's second-quarter earnings. The company's revenues grew 139 percent, to $1.79 million, while a net profit of $62,000 reversed a net loss.

"Our recent acquisitions continue to be a catalyst for growth," Saucier said last month.

Galaxy Gaming Regional Sales Manager Dean Barnett recently said several table games picked up in the Prime deal helped the company increase its market share among Pennsylvania casinos.

In Colorado, recent approval from gaming regulators has allowed the company to place games in 17 of the state's 20 casinos. Galaxy is awaiting approval of additional products in Colorado that could increase sales in 2013.

"We have certain specialized products that dovetail perfectly into the Colorado casino operators' needs," Saucier said.

Galaxy - not to be confused with Hong Kong-based casino operator Galaxy Entertainment - is solidly the casino industry's No. 2 table game provider behind Shuffle Master Gaming.

But there is still a way to go.

Galaxy Gaming is traded on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board and has a market capitalization of $9.58 million, relatively small by industry standards. Shuffle Master, traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, has a market capitalization of $839.6 million.

Saucier said Galaxy is looking at ways to grow its stock price, which is now less than $1. On the sales side, the goal is to increase the number of the company's table games in which Galaxy shares revenues with casinos, a much higher-margin business.

"Our emphasis is always on the games," Saucier said.

Which brings us back to flashy.

With the Global Gaming Expo opening Oct. 1 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, Galaxy's offerings will be compared side-by-side with those displayed by Shuffle Master.

Somewhat.

Galaxy's booth, located four sections away, is about one-eighth the size of Shuffle Master's. As a comparison, Shuffle Master's booth is overshadowed by the showroom floor space taken up by the largest slot machine manufacturers, such as International Game Technology, Bally Technologies and WMS Gaming.

As a run-up to the show, Shuffle Master took out a full-page advertisement in industry trade publication Global Gaming Business' G2E Preview magazine.

The ad is a photograph of a stoic Shuffle Master CEO Gavin Isaacs sitting at poker table with cards in hand and chips in the pot. He is dressed in a sharp suit with a stylish tie, cuff links and wearing dark sunglasses.

The headline: "Let the Entertainment Begin."

I can't picture the unassuming Saucier dressed up like James Bond.

He said last week what other companies do at the show isn't a concern.

Galaxy Gaming will have eight of its table games on display. If last year's G2E was any indication, table game managers will test out the company's products.

"We don't compete with the slot machine guys," Saucier said. "The decision-makers are very much channeled and the slot people are all looking at IGT and others. We know the table game guys will check out Shuffle Master, but they will also flow through to our booth."

Gamblers may not readily recognize some of Galaxy's game titles, a version of Texas Hold'em called "Texas Shootout," and a combination of blackjack and Three Card Poker called "21+3."

"Lucky Ladies," a blackjack side wager that pays customers when their first two cards add up to 20 - and higher payouts when a queen is involved - is doing well in Europe, according the company's second-quarter highlights.

"The Prime Table acquisition put us on the map," Saucier said of the deal, which took place just before last year's G2E. It brought representatives from some of the larger casino companies to the Galaxy Gaming booth.

"I think our reputation is strong and people will seek us out," Saucier said.

And he doesn't even have to play dress-up.

Howard Stutz's Inside Gaming column appears Sundays. He can be reached at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. He blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/stutz. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.

 

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