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IGCA gets okay for IPO

Feb 12, 2002 5:18 AM

Innovative Gaming Corp. of America has a new lease on life with approval of a $5 million public offering.

“It’s a risky situation but it’s even more risky for the shareholders if we don’t approve it,’’ Gaming Control Board member Scott Scherer said in granting the Las Vegas company’s request.

“I see this as your last chance,’’ added fellow board member Bobby Siller.

IGCA and its shareholders have taken a beating in the past year. The last quarterly report showed a loss of $10.2 million, or 57 cents a share. The stock is hovering around 50 cents, down sharply from $2 last August.

And IGCA cannot lay all the blame on Sept. 11. The company’s stock began its steep descent a month before the terrorist attacks, and it’s been slumping ever since. The free-fall has triggered a series of reorganizations and so-called “right-sizing” by top management. In September, Laus Abdo, a former vice president of Smith Barney, was named chief financial officer and he was promoted to president last month.

Industry analysts say IGCA has a lot to offer. “They have some devices upcoming, and there is interest in their product,’’ said one.

CEO Tom Foley, former vice chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, noted, “IGCA’s products have been very well received in the Indian casinos we service. We expect continued sales growth in the Indian gaming marketplace.’’

Through its wholly owned operating subsidiary, Innovative Gaming, Inc., IGCA develops, manufactures and distributes fast-play, high-entertainment gaming machines. IGCA recently absorbed GET Systems, an Australian-based Internet gaming software company, and expects to double its library of game titles this year. As for slots, the firm predicts sales of 100 machines per month, while having ticket in-ticket out capability on all its devices.

Meantime, the board accepted Rolland Malcom Thomas’ request to withdraw his application to serve as an officer and director of the company. The request was approved “with prejudice,’’ which means Thomas will have to wait one year before reapplying. Concerns over Thomas’ personal financial and tax situation were cited by regulators.

In other action, the board:

”¡ Approved the Jacobs family of Cleveland as owners of Black Hawk Gaming, which is slated to be renamed Jacobs Entertainment. The family, which owns the Cleveland Browns, has a variety of gaming interests, including ownership of the Gold Dust West casino in Reno; Colonial Downs in Richmond, Va., along with four OTB sites in that state; and seven Louisiana truck plaza locations equipped with video poker terminals.

”¡ Approved John and James Bauchman’s buyout of Scott Nielson’s 25 percent share in the Wildfire Casino on North Rancho Drive. Nielson is a Station Casinos executive and general counsel.

”¡ Gave final approval to Casino Data Systems’ Bandit Tokenization, a game that allows players to round up their jackpot amount. It has been on test trial at the Silverton.