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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Gaming manufacturer with 'game changing' ideas wins preliminary OK

4 June 2014

A gaming equipment manufacturer, that has the idea of combining traditional slot machines with entertainment-style video games, received preliminary approval to operate in Nevada from state gaming regulators Wednesday.

During a more-than-90-minute hearing in Carson City, the Gaming Control Board recommended that Gamblit Gaming and its parent companies be awarded three different manufacturer-type licenses.

In making the recommendation to the Nevada Gaming Commission, all three Control Board members said the company’s ideas could be “game changing” for the Nevada casino industry.

Gamblit showed the regulators video of a gaming concept in which a Scrabble-type word game, such as those found on social gaming websites, was combined with a traditional slot machine.

Think “Words With Friends” meets “Lucky Sevens.”

The concept, Gamblit CEO Eric Meyerhofer told the Control Board, was to bring more customers onto a casino’s slot machine floor. He said social gamers already are familiar with the games, and they would be willing to try them out in a real money casino setting.

The company is working to secure licensing agreements with game producers.

“The bottom line is, this is what needs to happen in the state of Nevada,” Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said.

Glendale, Calif.-based Gamblit is a subsidiary of Hard 8 Games, which is owned by American Capital, a business development company publicly traded on Nasdaq and headquartered in Bethesda, Md.

All three entities received licensing recommendations that will need final approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission on June 19.

Meyerhofer said the company’s business model would be to share in the gaming revenue produced by the different games with casinos.

He said demographic studies show that customers ages 21 to 45 make up the largest segment to visit casinos, but they are not playing slot machines.

“The younger markets are from the digital age and most are interested in the entertainment experience,” Meyerhofer said.

Gamblit’s idea, he said, was to design products that feature games played on mobile devices and other platforms on a slot machine.

“We’ll put the wagering experience in the entertainment product,” Meyerhofer said. “It will open up new markets.”

If the Gaming Commission signs off later this month, Nevada will become Gamblit’s first market.

The company’s parent, Hard 8 Games, is 80 percent owned by American Capital, which manages $19 billion in assets.

American Capital was created under a program that allows it to invest into small operating companies and provide managerial assistance.

“Gamblit and Hard 8 Games are very important assets,” American Capital General Counsel Sam Flax told the Control Board.