Measuring impact for machine makers

The trade show portion of the annual Global Gaming Expo is all about innovative slot machines, systems and new gambling devices.

The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers wanted to also quantify the sector’s economic impact.

A study produced for the association found casino suppliers generated $33.2 billion in annual economic output. Las Vegas-based financial consultant Applied Analysis, which authored the report using 2007 numbers, said the output compared with American commercial casinos, which posted $34.1 billion in annual output.

Marcus Prater, the association’s executive director, said members wanted to give industry observers a clear picture of the manufacturing side’s impact.

The study showed equipment makers employed more than 28,000 in 2007, paying $1.9 billion in wages.

In the past five years, Nevada casinos accounted for 26.1 percent of all sales. That figure could be cut in half by 2012 as new markets open.

International Game Technology Chairman and CEO TJ Matthews said data points sometimes get lost within numbers. As a collective, manufacturers have a compelling story.

“Just for IGT, we’re Nevada’s largest exporter, the state’s largest supplier of technology and its largest manufacturer,” Matthews said. “That translates into real economic impact in the communities we operate.”

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The CEOs of the major gaming equipment manufacturers attended the association’s announcement. They stood for photos as a group. When Matthews was asked to pose with Bally Technologies CEO Richard Haddrill, it drew laughter from the room.

IGT and Bally have nearly a dozen patent infringement lawsuits against each other in the federal court system.

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Shuffle Master CEO Mark Yoseloff gave up his duties as chairman of the board to concentrate on the company’s operations last week. But he thought the more important change was the appointment of three longtime Shuffle Master employees as executive vice presidents.

David Lopez will focus on sales, product management and operations; Roger Snow will oversee product strategy; and Jerry Smith will head the company’s legal, compliance and corporate affairs.

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During a G2E panel, Simon Dewhurst, chief financial officer of Hong Kong-based Melco PBL, tried to explain the challenges in dealing with the laws of Macau. The company owns the Crown Macau and is building the $3 billion City of Dreams on the Cotai Strip.

“The whole legal system is written in Portuguese and translated into Chinese, and we’re trying to understand what it means in English,” Dewhurst said.

Howard Stutz’s Inside Gaming column appears Sundays. E-mail him at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or call 702-477-3871.

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