Customers and players using slot machines of Australian firm Ainsworth Game Technology Ltd or casino electronic games of Austrian manufacturer Novomatic AG would not notice any immediate, significant differences in the products once integration of the two businesses takes place later this year. So said Danny Gladstone (pictured), chief executive of Ainsworth Game, in an interview with GGRAsia at the recent Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia casino industry trade show and conference.
Ainsworth Game had said in a June 2016 filing that its shareholders had approved the sale of a majority stake in the business – which was started by Len Ainsworth, who previously founded Australian slot machine maker Aristocrat Leisure Ltd – to Novomatic. Integration is due to be completed by October this year, according to Mr Gladstone.
A factor affecting how quickly it can be achieved is the 196 United States jurisdictions in which Ainsworth Game is licensed to supply gaming equipment, said Mr Gladstone. As Novomatic is taking a majority stake in Ainsworth Game, it also needs to be approved by those places.
“They [Novomatic] have to be approved by every single jurisdiction. So they have got a mammoth task and they are doing a great job of it,” Mr Gladstone told us.
He noted: “Regarding the integration, I think what a lot of people don’t really understand, is that it is business as usual for Ainsworth, even though Novomatic will become our major shareholder.”
He added: “We will have opportunities to do things together. There are a lot of markets where we don’t even cross each other, so it’s not actually integration, it’s more cooperation… we are supplying them with product and games and… vice versa.”
The executive further stated: “They [Novomatic] have no presence in Australia, and not much in the U.S. We have a larger footprint in the U.S., so we are looking at working together and to put products there.”
“The brand across North America will be an Ainsworth brand. We will work on doing things together… obviously in Australia the brand will stay Ainsworth,” said Mr Gladstone, referring to his firm’s home market.
The Ainsworth Game CEO said he didn’t rule out the possibility that as the two businesses work more closely, they might share technology within particular products.
“We are going to have strategy meetings later in the year,” Mr Gladstone told GGRAsia. “We might [decide to] design a machine and have a common platform and use a lot of common [components]. And we are starting to do little things like that,” he added.
“Their [Novomatic’s] game designers are looking at some of the ways we do our games; they are looking at the way we present link [games] controllers. We have actually taken six or seven of their games… and reworked them a little bit to fit in to the markets we know. You can’t take them holus bolus and take them into the markets in America or Australia or even Macau,” Mr Gladstone noted.
The two businesses shared an exhibition stand at G2E Asia 2017.
Ainsworth Game’s CEO stated of Novomatic: “They are a great company. They have some technology that we haven’t got – and we have some they don’t – and we have different skills in game development; so it’s going to be a win-win.”
“If I could have picked someone I wanted to be involved with for the future, it would have been Novomatic. The main reason is we very rarely compete with each other,” he added.
Mr Gladstone was asked about the ongoing involvement of founder Mr Ainsworth in the Ainsworth Game business.
The CEO said: “He loves the company, he loves being involved. He’s 94 in July. He’s in the office most days, hovering around and giving us advice.”
Mr Gladstone joked: “Mr Ainsworth is still there, on the board, and will always be around until they drag him out in a box.”
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