If you look out from one side of the Las Vegas headquarters of one of the entrenched leaders of the North American slot-machine business, you can see a new structure rising rapidly next to county highway 215. Slated for completion in mid-2016, it is the new 291,000-square-foot North American headquarters of Australian slot manufacturer Ainsworth Game Technology.
Founded in 1995 by Len Ainsworth, the slot-industry legend who founded Aristocrat in 1953, Ainsworth Game Technology has consistently been a market leader in its home market of Australia, as well as in Asia and other worldwide markets. Most recently, the company has zeroed in on the Americas, and North America in particular, the last great frontier for the company.
Mike Dreitzer, president-North America for Ainsworth, notes that the company has made big strides this year toward its goals for the market.
“Ainsworth Game Technology had a tremendous year, and looks forward to continuing to gain market share in the North America market in the years to come,” Dreitzer says. “Revenues in North America increased by 41 percent year over year, and our unit volume increased by 30 percent. I believe that these increases were due to the incredible market acceptance of the 560SL cabinet, as well as a wide variety of other products that have been top performers across every jurisdiction.”
That cabinet will be showcased at G2E, he says. The popular A560SL features a prominent 32-inch high-definition display, a 19-inch LCD topper option for jackpot promotion, unique attract lighting stylized to each game, premium sound experience and intricate graphics.
The games to go with those cabinets will be headed up with new game content for the Ainsworth GamePlus and Premium Plus product ranges.
“We have a tremendous lineup of products that will be unveiled at G2E,” says Dreitzer. “Some of the key titles that I am very excited about include the Order of the Dragon series, which will introduce the Double Sweet Zone feature; additional titles that will be unveiled for our very successful Sweet Zone brand, and the new Sky High Stacks series.”
Dreitzer adds that Ainsworth is devoting more R&D to licensed brands, a fast-growing area for the company in North America. “We saw a 19 percent increase in our participation footprint over the past 12 months,” he says, “and anticipate that this segment will also continue to grow with the introduction of new licensed products.”
This year, those new products include Cinderella, The Three Amigos and King Kong. In addition, Ainsworth’s latest high-profile licensed products, The Sound of Music and Showgirls, also will be prominently displayed.
The new licensed titles will be accompanied by the debut of the Sky High Stacks series, a group of games containing a free-spin feature on an expanded nine-by-five game array, with increased wild multipliers and all symbols stacked during the feature.
The 5 Power 7s and 5 Mega 7s series will expand with 5 Power 7s-Fruit and 5 Mega 7s-Fruit titles. These classic eight-line games feature five levels of stand-alone progressives and a re-spin feature that can be awarded with any bet. After the completion of the re-spin feature, a bonus curved reel is spun to award re-spins, bonus prizes or guaranteed progressives at max bet.
Another highlight will be 5 Star Jackpots, which incorporates five levels of Grand Progressives, eight levels of stand-alone progressives and the popular Wheel Winner feature containing multipliers and jackpots. 5 Star Jackpots contains three titles, each with a unique wild feature.
Shanghai Nights contains locking wilds on reels 3, 4 and 5; Safari Sunset includes long stacked wilds on reels 2, 3 and 4; and Jungle Birds features expanding wilds from reels 2 to 4.
Other highlights this year include the recently released Frontier, Fire$torm, Fire Wizard, Ice Wizard, Fire Money, Ice Money, Inca Reef Grand, and the Quad Shot titles Gold Zone, Golden Lion and Mighty Panther.
Ainsworth also will feature a group of themes for the core GamePlus library, including new titles in the Play 100 Lines/Play 50 Lines/Play 40 Lines, High Denom and Quad Shot brands. New brands include Ultra Strike, Ultimate Choice, Twice the Riches, Thunder Hits, Quackpot and the new link progressive Thunder Wilds.
Two new, key Play 100 Lines/Play 50 Lines/Play 40 Lines titles—Mustang Fever and Mustang Fortune—build on the success of the popular Mustang Money feature. Both games contain held wilds on reels 2 and 4 and a free-games feature offering 10 free games with a two-scatter retrigger for three additional free games. During the free games, Mustang Fever contains an expanding multiplier on the third reel, and Mustang Fortune contains an increasing stacked multiplier on reel 3.
The latest product range for the Latin American market is set to expand with the introduction of several new titles, including Piñata Spirit, Multi Win 12–15, Chili Chihuahua and Rumba Salsa Mambo.
The new Ainsworth Las Vegas facility, which will encompass a two-story office, manufacturing and warehouse complex on 23.7 acres, will give the company a base for expanding its footprint in the North American market.
“We are continuing to receive additional licenses in several states,” says Dreitzer, “which will enable Ainsworth to enter many new markets in the coming months, with the near-term goal of competing in every market with legalized gaming in North America.”
With the expansion into new markets will come growth in the Ainsworth product library. “Ainsworth’s focus for the upcoming year will be to continue to expand our product library, including the release of some key licensed titles,” says Dreitzer.
“In this process, we will introduce many new game themes on our popular 560SL cabinet, continue to develop unique game play mechanics to continue to improve player experiences, and follow our company’s tradition of continuing to make great games that people love to play.”