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Howard Stutz

Manufacturing Rivals to Collaborate on Table-Game Management System

15 June 2005

Three rival casino equipment providers announced late Tuesday they will jointly create a table-game management system.

International Game Technology, Shuffle Master Gaming and Progressive Gaming International Corp. will develop, manufacture and market pieces of the system. The ingredients will be able to operate separately or together.

Casinos already commonly use player tracking systems with slot machines. Equipment providers have been working on several table game management systems that can track wagering habits and accurately gauge a customer's gambling value to the casino.

Casino operators have said a table games system would help improve marketing and customer relations. A system would, for example, let a casino accurately reward players with complimentary gifts based on money wagered.

"Each of us has been working on various components of this system," Shuffle Master Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Yoseloff said. "What we've done is join forces to put forth our best technology. It's important because we will concentrate on the various parts and there won't be any duplicity of effort in engineering. I think we'll be able to offer the system faster and at a better price."

Under terms of the agreement, Shuffle Master will provide automatic card shufflers, card-reading shoes, card and chip sorters and verifiers.

IGT will offer back-end table game management systems, including player tracking, patron loyalty and rewards, as well as bonusing applications.

Progressive Gaming will develop radio-frequency identification (RFID) bet recognition, automated gaming chip tracking and payoff recognition.

The combined product will be known as the Intelligent Table System.

The agreement provides a framework for cooperative development of new technologies and products that build on automated table management and real-time monitoring of player activity.

Yoseloff said a prototype of the system could be available in time for the Global Gaming Expo in November.

"Some of the products are already available," Yoseloff said.

Progressive Gaming President and CEO Russ McMeekin said in a statement that casinos are asking for the table-game management system.

"We believe the gaming industry on a global basis is in an excellent position to fully adopt a comprehensive table management system," McMeekin said. "The technology has evolved to the right level for casinos to recognize very compelling benefits."

Separately, Shuffle Master announced it had sold 50 percent of its two RFID patents, as well as equal ownership in its optical bet recognition and chip tracking patents to IGT for $15.4 million.

As co-owners of the patents, Shuffle Master and IGT will share equally in future royalties associated with third party licensing of the purchased patents.

Last year, Shuffle Master paid just more than $12 million for the RFID patents.

"Obviously, this demonstrates the value of our patents," Yoseloff said.

The announcements came after trading closed. Shuffle Master fell 12 cents, or 0.45 percent, to close at $26.78 on the Nasdaq National Market. Progressive Gaming closed at $14.47, up 59 cents, or 4.25 percent, also on the Nasdaq. IGT closed at $28.99, up 29 cents, or 1.01 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Manufacturing Rivals to Collaborate on Table-Game Management System is republished from