BUSINESS

Moody’s downgrades U.S. market; Shuffle Master reveals more; WMS and Station team up

TAGs: moody's investors service, Ongame Network, Shuffle Master, Station Casinos, WMS Gaming

USA flag 1Moody’s Investors Service has delivered a blow to the U.S. gaming market after delivering news on Wednesday that improvement has stalled and companies with large debts are “at great risk”. Las Vegas Review Journal reported that analyst Peggy Holloway expressed her concerns for Caesars, CityCentre Holdings and Revel Atlantic Citydue due to “significant near-term maturities or highly leveraged capital structures”. It’s just another reason why Caesars (then Harrah’s) is regretting that infamous decision to not move into Macau.

Holloway added: “The improving trend in gaming revenues in place since the middle of last year appears to be stalling. Momentum started slowing in March, and then in May gaming jurisdictions reported outright declines in gaming revenue.”

Holloway was also unmoved at the success of certain new casinos, such as Revel in Atlantic City, Resorts World in New York and Rivers Casino in Illinois that aren’t “boosting gaming demand” in their respective locations. Moody’s also pointed to a “fear of contagion from the European debt crisis” as another factor and it’s something that may have brought upon Shuffle Master’s earlier change of heart

The firm has shed more light on why the takeover of the OnGame Network has stalled. A company statement from CEO Gavin Isaacs read that whilst they are “ardent believers” in the opportunities in online gaming, the acquisition of OnGame isn’t the one for them. Why I hear you cry? We’ll let Gavster explain.

“Business conditions in Europe have deteriorated since February and as a result, it has become evident to us that Ongame’s operations post-acquisition will not achieve the near-term results we initially expected and will require a larger ongoing investment than anticipated. Although we believe in its eventuality, there is also uncertainty surrounding the timing of legalization and the rollout of online poker in the U.S. at both the state and federal levels,” Isaacs said.

He added that after evaluating all their options they believed this was the “right thing” for the company.

WMS Gaming has signed a deal with Station Casinos to introduce their My Poker video poker offering to machines in the company’s casinos later this year. The games, which allow players to “personalize” their poker experience, will be installed at all Station venues by the year end and Scott Kreeger, Senior Vice President of Operations at Station Casinos, added, “The development of My Poker was a terrific collaborative experience. Our players were instrumental in sharing their views, and we worked together with WMS to create a customized approach that allows our players to automatically log in when they insert their Boarding Pass player card into the gaming machine and enjoy all of the individualized features that make My Poker a unique and exciting new option for video poker players.”

WMS has been busy recently having acquired online developer Jadestone last month and moved into Belgian market with Partouche in April.

The latest news came on the same day that three new members of senior staff were appointed. Steve Byrne joins WMS as its product marketing executive director with Ron Rivera hired as western division sales and national accounts VP from July 9. Rick Riehm, meanwhile, is promoted from Central Atlantic Region Executive Director to Eastern Division sales VP.

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