Poker machine maker Ainsworth Game Technology (ASX: AGI) looks to have gained another step on arch-rival Aristocrat Technologies (ASX: ALL), winning approval to sell its machine in the US state of Mississippi.
Ainsworth says this enables to company to manufacture, sell and/or distribute any gaming device or equipment for use and play in the state. The US is a large market for poker machine manufacturers, and has around 36,000 devices spread over 33 locations.
Ainsworth also gave a trading update earlier today, announcing that it expects to report a profit before tax of $45 million – up 50% over the previous corresponding period.
The company has been applying pressure to its larger competitor Aristocrat in many markets. Aristocrat reported a 3.4% fall in revenues for the 12 months to September 2013, although net profit rose 16.9% to $107 million.
Ainsworth reported significant revenue growth for the twelve months to June 2013, including a whopping 349% increase in Victoria, and 77% in South America. At this stage, North America represents a small proportion of Ainsworth’s earnings, but that appears likely to change, especially if Ainsworth can enter more US states.
Locally, Queensland’s plans for more casinos could see demand for poker machines increase, a bonus for both Aristocrat and Ainsworth. Both Echo Entertainment (ASX: EGP) and Crown Resorts (ASX: CWN) are looking at potentially setting up another casino in Brisbane, while there are big plans for a large casino resort in Cairns.
Ainsworth appears to be continuing its strong growth, with no sign of slowing down. It could be one for the watchlist.
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