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CR79-p22-Comment:SJC-Casino Review 19/4/09 00:21 Page 1
“Activist investor Carl Icahn (left) is pushing casino
operator MGM Mirage to restructure in bankruptcy
court, according to people familiar with the matter.
The gambit pits him against Kirk Kerkorian, (right),
MGM Mirage’s largest owner and a swashbuckling
investor who won and lost fortunes with big gambles
in Las Vegas, Hollywood and Detroit. Icahn and
private-equity fund Oaktree Capital Management
separately have acquired hundreds of millions of
dollars in MGM Mirage debt in recent months. They
told MGM Mirage that they would support a
restructuring in bankruptcy court.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Jeffrey McCracken
speculates on movements in the casino sector
Pressing the
case for
The trade press can be just as
vulnerable to the recession but,
says Hugh Sorrill, it plays a
vital role especially in the
international casino industry
that should be preserved.
For those who have
been looking at the
worldwide gaming
industry for any
length of time, the
news that America’s
foremost trade title IGWB has ceased publi-
cation is something of a shock. The maga-
zine had weathered previous recessions
but having been weakened by among other
things the loss of the World Gaming Con-
gress and increased competition, the
current downturn and lower levels of adver-
tising was the last nail in its coffin. Fortu-
nately, its excellent editorial team are
transferring their considerable energies to
the sister title Casino Journal. Slots of progress in war
Trade magazines are a hugely important
part of this industry. (Well we would say
that, wouldn’t we?) Our stock in trade is
the efficient movement of information,
against fake machines
commercial or political or just about
events. It moves horizontally between
operators, manufacturers or regulators in
They may look similar but they don’t
demonstrated its own show Peruvian authorities, it is
different jurisdictions, vertically from (for
play fair and the damage they do to the
of strength against fake slot working to seize all coun-
example) suppliers to casino managers machines by crushing a terfeited machines and
(and often the other way round), and in industry is immeasurable. Phil Martin selection of counterfeits at offering casinos kits to
every other direction.
argues that the battle against piracy is
the World of Games exhibi- convert these machines.
It’s important information, too: who is
doing what, who is selling what to whom,
one that every manufacturer should
tion in 2006 in Moscow. The recent formation of
Since then it has stepped up the Gaming Industry Piracy
trends, documentation. For most compa- lend its weight to. its campaign in 2007 in Alliance (GIPA) provides a
nies it is vital for understanding the industry Bucharest and then in Sep- platform from which slot
and being able to plan, and it would be far fakingit copies do not play like the tember 2008 in Kazan, manufacturers can team up
too costly to try and gather the same COMMENT originals and nothing could capital city of the Con- and take action against intel-
knowledge by themselves. Besides they be more harmful to an indus- stituent Republic of lectual property rights and
have better things to do. Piracy is prevalent in most try that remains highly Tatarstan, and later in other anti-piracy activities
This service still has to be paid for, industries but with most dependent on its public Ukraine. Its battle has seen and initiatives. A growing
however: and as suppliers have the mes- fake goods the end user is image and reputation. some notable results against list includes Aristocrat Tech-
sages that need the most directional target- usually aware of the risk they Unscrupulous game the masterminds of crimi- nologies, WMS Gaming,
ing - id est at the casino operators who read are taking. When gaming pirates are gathering infor- nal slot development. In Feb- International Game Tech-
this magazine in large numbers - it is they machines are copied it is the mation at many of the major ruary this year fake nology, Austrian Gaming
who have to share most of the burden. covert risk element that the and minor gaming exhibi- Gaminator machines were Industries, Bally Technolo-
There are many business analysts who say player is least aware of. The tions across the world, seized in Ukraine. This pros- gies, Konami Gaming,
that advertising is definitely not a cost that cabinet may look fine to the meaning every major OEM ecution was the result of SPIELO and Atronic Interna-
should be cut in a recession (and many of untrained eye, the game may is at risk. Given the interna- close work between Novo- tional. The last two years
them don’t even own magazines!) as sup- even play bear similarities, tional spread of the slot matic, a well-known Ukrain- have seen members of this
pliers need every edge in the more compet- the graphics won’t be quite industry often into markets ian law firm and local police alliance bring criminal and
itive selling environment. No sales means as sharp, the sound not as where copyright laws are and administrative authori- civil proceedings against
no business. Those who have understood clear but the maths behind circumnavigated, infringe- ties in Kiev. Legal action is companies suspected of
this message and continue to advertise in the slot, the payback that the ments of intellectual prop- pending proving that the product piracy and intellec-
the trade press (and we thank them heartily) player is risking their money erty rights are often blatantly fight against intellectual tual property theft, result-
should also take comfort in knowing that for is completely hidden. and publicly practised. property piracy in the slot ing in court orders and raids
they are supporting the industry as a whole Put simply, pirate copies Indeed, counterfeit slots sector is working. that have permanently shut
and in the end their own businesses. do not offer players a fair are often on show at exhibi- In Peru, WMS has begun down a number of interna-
As for IGWB, it’s a sad farewell to an chance of winning. Whilst tions, presented on stands to take action by fighting tional pirate operations. It’s
excellent title with a professional outlook. pirate offerings attempt to right next to the original this rising problem and something that every manu-
It’s down to the rest of us to ensure that look like the originals, dif- product. It’s three years spreading awareness among facturer should be a part of
we preserve those standards and drive ferent software and mathe- since Novomatic decided casino owners, players and and something every opera-
them further forward. matics mean the pirate enough was enough and operators. With the help of tor should be aware of.
22 May 2009 • comment
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