Canada may give slot makers shot at sales

A single province in Canada may provide a more lucrative slot machine replacement market this year than any American jurisdiction.

Quebec will begin replacing its 12,000 video lottery terminals in an effort that could span two years.

Janney Montgomery Scott gaming analyst Brian McGill thought the market could be a windfall for International Game Technology, which has a flourishing video lottery business. IGT could secure 40 percent of Quebec’s market, McGill estimated.

With 36,000 VLTs in provinces that replace games regularly, Canada could substitute for what has turned out to be a softer-than-expected slot machine replacement cycle in the United States.

“The Canadian VLT market offers the equipment manufacturers an opportunity to see additional sales,” McGill said.

Wall Street has been revising earnings projections for the slot machine sector since analysts said the replacement market predicted last fall at the Global Gaming Expo has not materialized.

U.S. casino operators, said Roth Capital Partners gaming analyst Todd Eilers, are not willing to spend money on new games.

That leaves Canada as a new revenue source.

Video Lottery Terminals resemble and play like slot machines, but a central server determines payouts.

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Speaking of Canada, the province of British Columbia has completed a deal with Las Vegas-based Paragon Gaming for a second casino in Vancouver.

Paragon, which operates the Edgewater Casino in Vancouver, signed an agreement to build a hotel, casino and entertainment complex attached to the BC Palace, site of the opening and closing ceremonies of the recent Winter Olympics.

Vancouver leaders are reportedly unhappy about the project, but there may little that can be done to stop the casino. BC Palace is on land owned by British Columbia.

Paragon Gaming operates three Canadian casinos. Its CEO is Diana Bennett, daughter of Las Vegas gaming industry icon William Bennett.

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For $67 million, you could throw a heck of a party. That’s the idea behind a replacement of the porte cochere at Encore with the Encore Beach Resort and Surrender nightclub, as well as outdoor seating for Switch restaurant.

The changes, funded by Wynn Resorts Ltd., open Memorial Day weekend.

The beach club features a 60,000-square-foot pool with 40-foot palm trees and three tiered pools. Bungalows and cabanas are part of the design along with a restaurant and poolside gaming tables.

Howard Stutz’s Inside Gaming column appears Sundays. He can be reached at or 702-477-3871. He blogs at

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