|Some of Nevada’s largest slot manufacturers are ready to fire up the assembly lines after California voters approved propositions increasing the number of machines by 17,000.|
The Morongo and Pechanga tribes near San Diego may now expand from 2,000 slots to 7,500 while the Agua Caliente and Sycuan tribes of Palm Springs can increase their numbers from 2,000 to 5,000 apiece.
Gaming analysts speculate that up to 10,000 of the slots could be shipped over the next year depending on the expansion of existing casinos, which translates into a 27 percent increase in the California slot machine market.
“This is like adding an entire new state into the mix,” said Chuck Brooke, Senior Vice-President of Government Relations for International Game Technology (IGT).
The California expansion is larger than the 15,000 slot machines being proposed for five casinos in Maryland and the potential of 15,000 slot machines in Kansas.
“Incrementally, the expansion will be achieved over time but it’s nice to know that it’s out there,” said Brooke.
According to Brian McGill, Gaming Analyst for Wachovia Capital Markets, major slot makers including IGT, Bally Technologies and WMS Industries could see their earnings jump at least six to seven cents per share based on California sales and shipments.
“The passage of the four slot referendums in California is undoubtedly a positive for equipment manufacturers and it occurred in the midst of a two-week period of slot expansion activity in the US,” said McGill.
The news from California followed similar news from Florida where voters authorised 6,000 slot machines at three racetracks in Miami-Dade County while the state’s Governor allowed the Seminole Indian tribe to add slot machines at their seven casinos.
“Obviously, we’re very happy,” said Gavin Isaacs, Chief Operating Officer for Bally Technologies.
“It’s good news for all of us but there’s a lot of work still to be done.”