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Alliance in Deal with Software Company

20 February 2004

Las Vegas Sun

by Liz Benston

LAS VEGAS -- Alliance Gaming Corp. of Las Vegas has agreed to purchase the assets of MindPlay LLC, a company that makes table game management software.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Alliance's Bally Gaming and Systems slot machine unit has served as an exclusive distributor of MindPlay products.

MindPlay President and Chief Executive Richard Soltys will stay on to lead Bally's MindPlay Product Group and Alliance will retain the rest of the company's Bellview, Wash.-based staff. MindPlay employs less than 20 people.

The software, now used for blackjack games, gives pit bosses a real-time snapshot of the game by tracking wagers as well as each card dealt and played. The software works with optical devices set into the table as well as coded playing cards.

The software can alert casinos to potential card counting by identifying betting patterns, a strategy that has drawn fire from some professional blackjack players.

But Alliance representatives have said the technology can benefit players by helping casinos accurately count total wagers, information used to grant complementaries to gamblers. It also is used to track dealer accuracy. Without such software, casinos generally eyeball dealers and bettors, with less accurate results, the company says.

"We've been very impressed by the proprietary MindPlay technology for more than two years and with a full-scale rollout now in the works, we felt the time was right to move beyond a distributorship arrangement and proceed with an acquisition," Alliance President and Chief Executive Robert Miodunski said.

MindPlay developed the patented system in cooperation with the Eldorado Hotel Casino in Reno, where it was installed in 2001. The Las Vegas Hilton is the second property to use the software. Alliance has talked with other major casino companies about offering the software in their casinos, company spokesman Marcus Prater said. He declined to name potential customers.

"When you roll out new technology you have to get it out in the field and make sure there's no issues," Prater said. "The Hilton installation was almost a field test. This rollout will be picking up steam rather rapidly."

MindPlay is developing new versions of the software for use with other table games, such as baccarat, he said.

"We intend to lead this market with breakthrough ideas that promote the table game experience while also providing operational cost reductions and revenue enhancement to operators," Soltys said.

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