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Progressive Gaming International celebrates in Tallinn

24 January 2005

Progressive Gaming International hosted an elegant evening to celebrate the launch of their new offices in the heart of Tallinn, the historic capital of Estonia. In the same week, came the announcement of their new company name, formerly Mikohn Gaming Corporation, and the expected private buy-out of its interior sign division by the division's employees.

The Progressive Gaming International ticket symbol 'PGIC' was effective this month. The sale of the interior sign division is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2005.

Casino World spoke with Russ McMeekin, President and CEO of the company:
With the new offices in Tallinn, Progressive Gaming International, expects to get closer to the largest growth market in the gaming world - the Baltics and Russia. The Estonia location makes it easier to get into these areas. The talent pool is good, with strong technology backgrounds and multi-lingual capabilities in English, Russian and Finnish as well as Estonian. There is also a good infrastructure including telecommunications and the company already has a large customer base in this region.

Predominantly the team will be new appointments at the Tallinn office, reporting to Neil Crossan, Managing Director of the company's international operations. With the main European office based in The Netherlands; sales and service coverage for each geographic territory will be handled locally by the individual operations.

CasinoLink, casino management system, is the key product offering by the new Tallinn office. It is a strong, established product in the Eastern European market. They expect to see a positive shift in related TableLink sales. Already strong in the USA - TableLink technology provides management of gaming table areas for around 20 casino operators and approximately 1400 tables - the price of TableLink is becoming more attractive for the Eastern European market.

Progressive Gaming International is a high-tech based company - in-house manufacturing having ceased in the Netherlands in 2003 and Australasia the year before. The focus today is purely software and technology, with the company prioritising product development and customer satisfaction. The resultant effect is shareholder value creation.

The strategic approach is to provide standardised systems globally, with R&D primarily undertaken in Las Vegas and finished systems being deployed around the world. The same products available globally are adjusted to accommodate local protocols, but the trend is to work towards harmonisation through industry standards such as those created by GLI and BMM.

In addition to the Progressive Gaming International offices, distribution is also handled through carefully selected partners, such as is the case in South Africa and Russia, a marketplace where it is deemed important to work with local partners in order to be most effective. Russ commented that as the technology is complex it is imperative to work with people who understand the products and systems and how they will benefit their particular markets. A strategy of acquisitions is planned to augment the mix of solutions available in the future.

Partnerships with 'best of breed' manufactures has built a robust portfolio of products and total systems solutions which Progressive Gaming International can offer, working with companies such as AGI, IGT and GPI.

In the USA, Mikohn is synonymous with signage, leaving room for some confusion as the company has moved on to sell high technology gaming systems. In Europe, it is also a logical step for the Mikohn brand to be separate. The Progressive Gaming International name, acquired six years ago, is well established around the world. Distributors will still have strategic access to displays and signage to ensure customers can be provided with a package including these products where appropriate.

In 2005 Progressive Gaming International will see structural developments and a strengthening of customer services. The company is placing some strategic bets: in its name, the signage divestiture and opportunities that the cash from this brings - preparation for geographic expansion, technology and product additions, always consistent with their systems and content business. The ICE show in London provides the ideal opportunity to discuss the new opportunities with customers.

Warm welcome in Estonia
The 5th floor offices in the centre of Tallinn's commercial district, have been completely re-furbished to a high standard with a welcoming ambience. Modern design provides an attractive working environment with inherently flexible layout and furnishings to accommodate growth.

The opening reception of the new office was attended by casino operators, distributor partners and representatives from the company's offices worldwide, Russ McMeekin commented: "This is a very exciting day. Neil visited Estonia and decided it was very important to have a presence in this market which is exploding with opportunities. Our new name represents the importance of progressive technology around the world and our commitment to investing in R&D." A brief video presentation followed, launched by Armin Karu, who raised a toast to the new office with Russ and the assembled guests.

Guests were transported to Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn Old Town, the 18th century summer palace designed the Tsar 'Peter The Great'. A conducted tour included an opportunity to see works from the Art Museum of Estonia housed at the Palace. A sumptuous Estonian-themed dinner in the glittering Banquet Hall, was followed by a performance by international ballerina Kaie Korb, a solo dancer of the Estonia Theatre. Rhoda Jansz, Marketing Manager, Europe, had done a great job organising a special and memorable evening.

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