Grits goes global!

Jul 23, 2001 11:20 PM

Mississippi’s 11-year-old gambling industry has, officially, grown to worldwide proportions.

The State Gaming Commission panel met and approved background checks and other routine paperwork for business people who spoke Spanish, Japanese and the Queen’s English.

The commission also approved the transfer of equity interest for German slot machine manufacturer Atronic International and heard from the Mississippi Band of Chocktaw Indians.

“We’re getting to be like the United Nations,” joked Commission Chairman W.W. Gresham, Jr., of Indianola.

Gresham encouraged the companies to expand their operations in Mississippi. “We’ve got plenty of good sites to locate businesses.” The commission approved a manufacturer’s license for Japan Cash Machine Co., based in Osaka, Japan and a manufacturers and distributor’s license for its North American subsidiary, JCM American Corp., based in Las Vegas.

Japan Cash Machine has one sales and service representative at its office in Gulfport, “but plans to grow that pretty fast,” said Andress, who was not sure of Japan Cash Machine’s timetable for expanding operations.

The Gaming Commission also approved the background checks on the company’s top six executives from Japan.

Michael Thomas McKenzie, the chief operating officer of Las Vegas-based Innovative Gaming, said the gambling technology firm is considering locations in the Midwest and in Mississippi for manufacturing operations.

“As you can tell from my accent, I’m not from around here,” said Roland Thomas, Innovative Gaming’s chairman, who is a native of Birmingham, England, not Alabama.

Executives from Unidesa Gaming, based in Barcelona, Spain, also got approval from the board, with some of its members using a translator. The slot machine maker has offices in Gullport and Hollywood, Fla.