Signs of life for the slot industry

It’s a safe bet to say that most of us won’t be sad to see 2009 in the rear view mirror. It hasn’t been a pretty year for the gaming industry. Still, as we move into the last two months, there are significant signs of life for the slot industry.

Here are just two reasons to feel just a little more positive.

A federal judge in Sacramento has ruled the state’s Indian casinos can add 10,549 slot machines to a jurisdiction now approved for more than 83,000 games, the largest Indian gaming market in the United States.

Some officials hope the new slots will increase revenue to the cash-strapped state, and analysts have heralded the news as a positive for Nevada’s slot machine makers.

One analyst’s note to investors touted gaming equipment manufacturers as “the way to play the gaming group.” He noted that in addition to the potential new machines in California, there are likely to be as many as 55,000 new games in the United States over the next two years, as slot machine expansions are likely to take place in Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Analysts have indicated that if all the 10,549 potential machines are added in California, the sales could be worth between 7 cents per share and 17 cents per share for each of Nevada's gaming equipment manufacturers.

Meanwhile, things are percolating south of the border in an effort to bring about changes in the interpretation of Mexican Gaming Law and eventually the legal introduction of the Class III machines into the country.

In September, representatives of Mexico’s Association of Gaming and Sweepstakes Licensees (Asociación de Permisionarios de Juegos y Sorteos – APJS) met with top executives from the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) in Las Vegas.

On the agenda was an item to consider the benefits for the two groups to join forces and form a key alliance to prepare for the eventuality of full scale electronic gaming machines to be legally recognized in Mexico.

And, according to a report, a majority of gaming vendors have agreed to be integrated into the Association of Gaming and Sweepstakes Licensees as “commercial associates.”

“This gives us legal operators in our country some tremendous leverage and a respectful place in the upcoming discussions with our government. We seek to establish clear regulations, create viable investment incentives, to always be in compliance with the law and to pay our fair share of taxes,” Eduardo Hernandez, president of The Caliente Group said in a news release.

Subhed: Happy hunting!

Get ready. G2E is almost here, and, if the games and products I’ve seen to date are any indication, this should be one great show. Casino operators who have put off purchasing new games and are poised to make investments this year and next should have a field day, with lots of great games. And never before have slot makers been more motivated to find a way to get a deal done for their customers.

See you on the show floor.