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IGCA on comeback trail

Apr 2, 2002 8:29 AM

Bridging the gap between cyberspace and the bricks-and-sticks world, Innovative Gaming Corp. of America is networking on the casino floor.

The Las Vegas firm, contracting with GET Systems of Australia, has developed a “wide area progressive platform’’ that produces remote jackpots.

“We take a game and link it throughout the casino using PC technology,’’ President Laus Abdo told GamingToday. “Why have 2,000 separate computers (in slots) when you can do it all from one central server?”

That question has been asked at Station Casinos, which last year came up with its GameCast product for in-room gaming. Station’s proposal is awaiting approval from state regulators, and Abdo says IGCA’s technology is poised to follow suit.

“We’re ready to roll. The GET platform has been validated in Australia,’’ he reports.

Abdo says casinos will inevitably gravitate to network-based games for two key reasons: savings and flexibility. He estimates that a server-based system can cut hardware costs by as much as 30 percent, and he points out that the games can be modified “on the fly.”

“Say Chinese New Year or Cinco de Mayo is coming up. You can change out an entire floor with the flip of a switch,’’ he says of software conversions.

This portable technology, analysts add, can also serve as a proving ground for Internet wagering ”” since it applies the same principles of remote, server-based gaming.

If there’s one question, it’s been about IGCA’s financials. State regulators put the company’s public offering on hold in February, and the firm’s stock has struggled. But Abdo, who also serves as chief financial officer, told GamingToday that IGCA posted positive cash flow in March and is expanding its market capitalization.

“There’s been a major turnaround. This company was about to go bankrupt, so we downsized and refocused,” Abdo said. After losing $15 million last year, IGCA is projecting $17.8 million in revenue and $1.8 million net earnings for 2002.

Sales are up 300 percent since  September 11, and the company expects to issue four to five new titles every quarter, he said.

Through its pending merger with GET, IGCA has sharply increased its library of games and positioned itself to compete in Internet and lottery markets. GET is considered a leading developer of gaming systems. Unlike many other providers of Internet casino operating software, GET has never permitted its licenses to accept wagers from the United States or any other jurisdiction that bars Internet gaming.

Kevin Burman, GET’s general manager, said the combination of new games and technology will allow the emerging company to compete at lower cost and higher velocity. And as befitting the ever-changing nature of the business, Burman and Abdo say the re-invented IGCA will also bear a new name. Stay tuned for that.