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Goods & Services

PacificNet to acquire
Octavian International

China-based PacificNet, Inc. has signed an agreement to take 100 percent ownership of Octavian International Limited. The move accelerates PacificNet’s increasingly successful venture into gaming, which includes the recent receipt of a license to operate a China Welfare Lottery products concession.

The deal is contingent on the usual conditions, including the completion of due diligence on Octavian. If satisfied, the NASDAQ-listed PacificNet (PACT) will issue restricted shares of PACT approximating 19.5 percent of PacificNet’s outstanding shares. A cash performance bonus is also part of the arrangement.

Tony Tong, CEO of PacificNet, said: “We are very excited at the prospect of adding Octavian’s global gaming brand name and distribution channels to PacificNet’s gaming strategy.”

“We are very excited about working with Octavian,” said Victor Tong, president of PacificNet.

“Octavian’s experienced creative development teams are able to create proven games that are tailored to individual jurisdictions and are highly cost-effective.”

Harmen Brenninkmeijer, CEO of Octavian, will become an executive director of PacificNet and a member of the board of directors, and continue to serve as CEO of the Octavian subsidiary. Upon completion of the earn-out provisions and profit targets in the acquisition agreement, Brenninkmeijer will become president of PacificNet’s Global Gaming Division.

Said Brenninkmeijer, “Being part of a company with the market presence and profile of PacificNet would significantly enhance Octavian’s global growth potential.”

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008.

AC Coin & Slot conducts Caribbean roundtable

The “Caribbean Roundtable,” an intimate conference presented for its customers in the region, was held in December by AC Coin & Slot at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino Resort in Florida. The two-day event brought together slot executives from Caribbean casinos and cruise lines to hear some of the most cutting-edge information available in the industry today.

Some of the speakers at the roundtable included Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming and Hard Rock International; James Maida, president of Gaming Laboratories International; Rodney Dofort, vice president of casino operations for Carnival Cruise Lines; Frank Neborsky, vice president of slot operations for the Mohegan Sun; Paul Tjoumakaris, senior VP of slot operations at Seminole Hard Rock; Fred Gushin, managing director, Spectrum Gaming Group; Roger Gros, publisher, Global Gaming Business magazine; Tom Sykes, principal of SOSH Architects; David Wolfe, principal, Bridger Capital and many more.

“There’s always so much going on at the big trade shows and conferences that we believed our Caribbean customers could benefit from a smaller setting and an ability to engage in an interactive exchange that is truly beneficial to their jobs,” said Mac Seelig, president of AC Coin & Slot.

Innocore signs distribution deals

Innocore Gaming Ltd. (formerly Densitron), a leading supplier of imbedded circuit boards for gaming applications, has signed two new exclusive representation and distribution agreements for Spain and Latin America.

The first agreement extends the company’s collaboration with distributor Money Controls to the fast-growing gaming markets in the countries of Central and South America. Under the deal, Money Controls will distribute Innocore products throughout the Latin American region.

For the Spanish and Portuguese regions, Innocore has tapped Barcelona-based Tovico as its distributor. Tovico is headed by Antonio Tombas. Formerly with 3M Touch Systems, Tombas is a gaming industry veteran who promises to increase Innocore’s presence in the region.

“I am delighted to represent a brand that has gained so much respect and attention over the last few years,” said Tombas. “I am confident many of the opportunities in this region will find a perfect and reliable solution in the products that Innocore offers.”

Buyout rumors surround
Shuffle Master

Shares of table game supplier Shuffle Master rose last month amid rumors that CEO Mark Yoseloff is likely to step down as chairman and chief executive officer and that the company may be an acquisition target as a result.

Bill Lerner, an analyst for Deutsche Bank North America, reported that Shuffle Master has hired a search firm to find a replacement for Yoseloff. Coupled with CFO Richard Baldwin’s recent resignation, Lerner speculated that the moves will spark takeover interest in the company. He noted Shuffle Master’s strong cash flow and surging revenue as evidence the company is a prime candidate for acquisition.

Videobet’s Midas touch

Server-supported gaming supplier Videobet is launching its new terminal, named Midas.

The slim, dual-screen cabinet is designed for a wide range of gaming operations. Ergonomic design features and dual screens allow play while standing or sitting. The Midas supports cash-in/cash-out or TITO payments. The top screen is linked to Videobet’s Promo-Top system, which allows for display of various promotions directly to the player.

The Midas can operate in stand-alone and server-supported configurations, allowing automatic download of new games, centralized reporting and machine settings, and connection to online progressive jackpots. A cross-platform network feature allows continuous play via mobile phone or online, with just one account.

Shmuel Weiss, CEO of Videobet, said, “We are extremely excited with Videobet’s latest product, which offers operators the advantage of configuring our cutting-edge software on the latest and most attractive gaming cabinets being produced in the industry today.”

GPI defends makeup of chips

Gaming Partners International, the world’s largest manufacturer of gaming chips, says the lead content in its products is minimal, and no cause for concern. Government analysts agreed, saying it’s unlikely that someone could be hurt by handling chips that contain lead.

But health officials in Arizona, where the story broke, issued a public health alert, and the president of a Washington-based public safety group has demanded an immediate recall of the chips.

The Las Vegas Sun reported that Joan Claybrook, of U.S. Public Interest Research Group, was “shocked” by the high lead content—up to 45 percent—in some of the chips tested. Gaming Partners countered that those chips may have been manufactured years ago, when oversight was much less strict. Meantime, dealers are getting nervous.

“I was outraged about our exposure to the lead in one of the major tools of our trade,” one wrote on www.caesarspalacedealers.com.

Another asked, “Why should we constantly be subjected to toxic poisons and have no say?”

The alarm was first sounded by a Phoenix TV news show, which reported that particles of lead-based paint flew off the chips when they were dropped, posing a hazard for casino employees, patrons—even kids. Lead poisoning can cause anemia, infertility, miscarriages and learning disabilities. Concerns about lead in toys has led to recent sweeping recalls.

Lead content in gaming chips was phased out in the 1990s. Chips made today by Gaming Partners contain an average lead content of .003 percent, according to Gaming Partners’ CEO Gerard Charlier. Though casinos typically replace old chips every few years, some are still around and are even considered collectible.

Chipco International President John Kendall says his chip manufacturing company has not used lead for more than a decade.

“We recognized at that time there could be a problem,” said Kendall. “I’m surprised they are still using any lead at all.”

In December, GPI reported it had commissioned a scientific study conducted by Exponent, Inc., a multidisciplinary scientific and engineering consulting firm that performs in-depth scientific research and analysis throughout the world. Exponent concluded that, under the scenarios evaluated, it is unlikely that the handling of Paulson gaming chips would produce any significant health risk to the players or dealers.

“Exponent recreated a gaming environment complete with blackjack tables, players and
dealer and monitored the routine handling of the Paulson chips by the players and dealer as well as sampled the air around the gaming table,” said Charlier. “We are very pleased with the test results which are consistent with our position that when used as intended there is no unacceptable risk to either casino employees or playing public pertaining to the amount of lead in Paulson chips.”

Winter ’08 Gaming Directory on sale now

The Winter 2008 Gaming Business Directory is now available from Casino City Press.

With 800 pages of up-to-the-minute information, the directory covers more than 4,750 global gaming properties and 650 corporate and Native American property owners, and includes contact info for 28,000 casino and gaming
executives.

Also included is a cross-referenced list of planned properties, Class II and Class III tribal gaming facilities, riverboat casinos, casino cruises, cruise ships, card rooms, racinos, and horse and dog tracks, along with top casinos ranked by number of gaming positions, slots, table games, and hotel rooms.

The Gaming Business Directory is available in print, on CD, and online at www.GamingDirectory.com. For more information, visit www.CasinoCityPress.com or call 1-800-490-1715 ext 610.

Foxwoods to use PGIC table management

System supplier Progressive Gaming International Corporation announced that Foxwoods Resort Casino, the world’s largest gaming operation, has signed a deal to install the Table iD table-game management system, a joint-venture system produced by Progressive in partnership with International Game Technology and chip supplier Gaming Partners International.

The Table iD system uses radio-frequency identification technology imbedded in gaming chips to track every transaction in a table game operation, for accounting, player tracking and security purposes. Foxwoods will install the system on 250 table games.

As part of the contract, Foxwoods will purchase 1 million gaming chips imbedded with 13.56 MHz RFID microchips from Gaming Partners International. Foxwoods selected the high-frequency RFID gaming chips bearing the Paulson brand, along with GPI’s Chip Inventory System to manage the float for the majority of its table game operation.

The RFID technology is licensed by Progressive Gaming through its strategic partnership with Magellan Technology, the providers of the RFID products, and the PJM protocol used for item level identification systems that provide reliable high-speed processing of items including stacked gaming chips.

Foxwoods is planning to go live with the RFID chips implemented with Table iD and CIS at the anticipated May 2008 opening of MGM Grand at Foxwoods.

Bally/Pechanga deal sealed

Bally Technologies, Inc. held a signing ceremony during the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas to commemorate its contract with the Pechanga Resort & Casino, located in Temecula, California. The agreement provides a complete slot accounting and casino management system solution, advanced bonusing technology and more than 3,600 iVIEW interactive player-communication displays for all of Pechanga’s gaming machines. The contract is Bally Technologies’ most comprehensive systems agreement ever.

On hand for the commemorative signing at G2E were (from left): Ramesh Srinivasan,
executive vice president, Bally Systems Division; Buddy Frank, Pechanga Casino
vice president of slot operations; Jim Munoa,
second vice president, Pechanga Development Corporation; John Palinkas, first vice president, Pechanga Development Corporation; Lorraine Cebollero, Pechanga vice president of marketing; Bally CEO Richard Haddrill; and Gavin Issacs, Bally executive vice president and chief operating officer.

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