Scientific Games Takes Gamble on Casino Venture

Scientific Games Corp. is taking a bold and mighty step forward to extend its reach within a thriving market poised for exponential growth this year and beyond.

The well-known maker of tickets and software for lotteries is acquiring slot machine maker WMS Industries Inc. for $1.42 billion. With the addition of WMS, Scientific Games bolsters its portfolio of casino products, including video poker and slot machines.

According to sources close to the deal, the goal of the acquisition is to “beef up” Scientific Games Corp.’s all-around exposure to the energized casino gaming industry.

The deal, coming soon after casino operator Pinnacle Entertainment’s $869 million acquisition of Ameristar Casinos in December, highlights the consolidation in the casino industry driven by gaming demand from emerging markets such as China.

Reuters confirmed Thursday that Scientific Games will pay $26.00 for each WMS common share. That’s approximately 60 percent above WMS’s closing price on Wall Street Wednesday afternoon.

“The acquisition is transformational for Scientific Games, enabling us to offer a complete portfolio of lottery and gaming products and services to both new and existing customers around the world,” Chief Executive Lorne Weil was quoted saying this week. “We expect to combine our game content, technology, operational capabilities and respective geographic footprints to create an enterprise poised to capitalize on significant growth opportunities around the globe.”

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