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AGS Reports Record Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2023 Results

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PlayAGS, Inc. (NYSE: AGS) (“AGS”, “us”, “we” or the “Company”), a designer and developer of equipment and services solutions for the global gaming industry, today reported operating results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2023.

Commenting upon the Company’s fourth quarter financial performance, AGS President and Chief Executive Officer David Lopez said, “The strength in our four quarter results was broad-based, with all three operating segments setting new quarterly records for revenue and Adjusted EBITDA. The quality and consistency of our recent financial performance is a true reflection of our incredibly talented and focused team, increasingly deep and diverse product offering across all three segments, and the improving efficiency and effectiveness of our execution.”

Kimo Akiona, AGS Chief Financial Officer added, “We exited 2023 with a total net debt leverage ratio of 3.2 times, down from 3.8 times at the start of the year. Supported by our consistent operating momentum and execution, heightened focus on efficient and effective working capital management, continued capex deployment discipline, and anticipated cash interest savings from our recent debt repricing and repayment; a path to below 3.0 times remains well within our sight.”

Summary of the Three and Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2023 and 2022
(In thousands, except per-share and Adjusted EBITDA margin data)
Three Months Ended December 31, Twelve Months Ended December 31,
2023 2022 % Change 2023 2022 % Change
Revenues:
EGM $ 85,952 $ 75,338 14.1 % $ 327,053 $ 284,331 15.0 %
Table Products 4,829 3,890 24.1 % 17,706 14,920 18.7 %
Interactive 3,370 2,508 34.4 % 11,777 10,185 15.6 %
Total revenues $ 94,151 $ 81,736 15.2 % $ 356,536 $ 309,436 15.2 %
Income from operations $ 16,048 $ 13,447 19.3 % $ 57,393 $ 37,969 51.2 %
Net income (loss) $ 67 $ 2,541 (97.4 )% $ 428 $ (8,035 ) (105.3 )%
Basic income (loss) per share $ 0.00 $ 0.06 (97.1 )% $ 0.01 $ (0.22 ) (104.5 )%
Diluted income (loss) per share $ 0.00 $ 0.06 (97.1 )% $ 0.01 $ (0.22 ) (104.5 )%
Adjusted EBITDA:
EGM $ 38,626 $ 34,412 12.2 % $ 146,287 $ 127,502 14.7 %
Table Products 2,842 2,370 19.9 % 9,792 8,781 11.5 %
Interactive 1,292 498 159.4 % 2,888 2,360 22.4 %
Total Adjusted EBITDA(1) $ 42,760 $ 37,280 14.7 % $ 158,967 $ 138,643 14.7 %
Total Adjusted EBITDA margin(2) 45.4 % 45.6 % (20 bps) 44.6 % 44.8 % (20 bps)

Fourth Quarter 2023 Financial Results

• Total revenue increased 15% year-over-year to a record $94.2 million, representing our eleventh consecutive quarter of double-digit total revenue growth. All three operating segments delivered double-digit growth rates versus the prior year, with Interactive, Table Products and Electronic Gaming Machines (“EGM”) revenue increasing 34%, 24% and 14% year-over-year, respectively. Total revenue grew approximately 5% relative to the $89.4 million delivered in Q3 2023 and has now established a new Company record in four of the past five quarters.

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• Gaming operations, or recurring revenue, totaled $59.6 million, approximately 4% ahead of the $57.4 million achieved in Q4 2022. Interactive and Table Products recurring revenue increased 34% and 7% year-over-year, respectively, with each establishing new records within their respective segments. EGM gaming operations revenue advanced 2% versus the prior year, setting a new Q4 high-water mark of $52.3 million. Recurring revenue accounted for over 60% of the Company’s consolidated Q4 2023 revenue mix. Gaming operations revenue declined modestly relative to the $61.0 million achieved in Q3 2023, consistent with historically normal seasonal trends within the business.
• Equipment sales revenue increased more than 40% year-over-year to a record $34.6 million, with EGM and Table Products sales revenue reaching records of $33.7 million and $893 thousand, respectively. Global EGM unit sales eclipsed 1,500 units for the first time ever, advancing approximately 36% year-over-year. Global EGM unit sales growth has surpassed 30% in each of the past three quarters. Equipment sales revenue increased over 20% relative to the $28.4 million delivered in Q3 2023, supported by strong growth in both EGM and Table Products sales revenue.
• The Company generated near breakeven net income in Q4 2023 compared to $2.5 million in Q4 2022. Higher interest expense, commensurate with an increase in market-level rates, and an approximately $2 million unfavorable swing in income tax expense more than offset a nearly 20% year-over-year increase in income from operations.
• Total Adjusted EBITDA (non-GAAP)(1) increased approximately 15% year-over-year to a record $42.8 million, marking our fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit Adjusted EBITDA growth. All three segments contributed to the record-setting performance, led by a more than doubling of Interactive Adjusted EBITDA to $1.3 million, while Table Products and EGM Adjusted EBITDA increased approximately 20% and 12% year-over-year, respectively. Q4 2023 Total Adjusted EBITDA surpassed the prior record of $40.1 million, delivered in Q3 2023, by approximately 7%. The Company has now established new Total Adjusted EBITDA records in four of the past five quarters.
• Total Adjusted EBITDA margin (non-GAAP)(1) was 45.4%, surpassing the 45% level for the first time since Q4 2022. Q4 2023 margin performance reflects the improving margin profile of the Company’s Interactive business, supported by the segment’s recent outsized revenue growth; superior gross margins on the highly-modular and efficiently designed Spectra family of EGM cabinets; and operating leverage resulting from the over 15% year-over-year increase in total revenues. For the full year 2023, Adjusted EBITDA margin was 44.6%, placing it in the upper half of the Company’s targeted 44% to 45% range articulated at the start of the year.
• Net cash provided by operating activities increased approximately 10% year-over-year to $26.4 million. Q4 2023 free cash flow (non-GAAP)(2) totaled $11.0 million, up more than 45% compared to the $7.6 million delivered in the prior year period. The year-over-year improvement in free cash flow generation reflects the Company’s record-setting operating performance, heightened focus on efficient and effective working capital management, and continued capex deployment discipline. The Company has now generated over $10 million of free cash flow in three consecutive quarters.
(1) Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin are non-GAAP financial measures; see non-GAAP reconciliation below.
(2) Free Cash Flow is a non-GAAP financial measure; see non-GAAP reconciliation below.

EGM

Three Months Ended December 31, 2023 compared to Three Months Ended December 31, 2022 

(Amounts in thousands, except unit data) Three Months Ended December 31,
2023 2022 $ Change % Change
EGM segment revenues:
Gaming operations $ 52,290 $ 51,207 $ 1,083 2.1 %
Equipment sales 33,662 24,131 9,531 39.5 %
Total EGM revenues 85,952 75,338 10,614 14.1 %
EGM Adjusted EBITDA $ 38,626 $ 34,412 $ 4,214 12.2 %
EGM Business Segment Key Performance Indicators (“KPI’s”)
EGM gaming operations:
EGM installed base:
Class II 11,193 11,251 (58 ) (0.5 )%
Class III 5,250 5,075 175 3.4 %
Domestic installed base, end of period 16,443 16,326 117 0.7 %
International installed base, end of period 6,126 6,244 (118 ) (1.9 )%
Total installed base, end of period 22,569 22,570 (1 ) (0.0 )%
EGM revenue per day (“RPD”):
Domestic revenue per day $ 31.68 $ 31.46 $ 0.22 0.7 %
International revenue per day $ 8.86 $ 7.61 $ 1.25 16.4 %
Total revenue per day $ 25.47 $ 24.87 $ 0.60 2.4 %
EGM equipment sales
EGM units sold 1,519 1,116 403 36.1 %
Average sales price (“ASP”) $ 20,677 $ 19,382 $ 1,295 6.7 %

EGM Quarterly Results

Domestic Gaming Operations (3)
Domestic EGM gaming operations, or recurring revenue, increased approximately 1% year-over-year to a fourth quarter record $47.2 million. A 15% year-over-year increase in our higher-yielding premium EGM installed base, further deployment of Spectra UR43 and initial deployment of Spectra UR 49, both of which are delivering per unit performance comparable to our premium products, and continuous installed base optimization contributed to our improved gaming operations revenue performance in the quarter. Domestic EGM recurring revenue topped $45 million for the seventh consecutive quarter and accounted for approximately 60% of the total domestic EGM revenue generated in Q4 2023.
The domestic EGM installed base expanded to 16,443 units at the end of Q4 2023, representing an increase of 117 units versus the prior year and up sequentially for the seventh consecutive quarter. Outsized premium EGM footprint growth and deployment of our high-performing Spectra UR43 and Spectra UR49 cabinets drove the expansion of our domestic EGM installed base in both the year-over-year and quarterly sequential periods.
Domestic EGM RPD increased approximately 1% year-over-year to a fourth-quarter record $31.68, exceeding $30 for the eleventh consecutive quarter. Outsized premium unit growth, further capital efficient installed base optimization, deployment of our high-performing Spectra UR43 and Spectra UR49 cabinets and a relatively stable gaming macroeconomic environment paced our improved Q4 2023 domestic EGM RPD performance versus the prior year. Domestic EGM RPD decreased modestly relative from the $32.57 achieved in Q3 2023, reflecting historically normal seasonality in market-level Gross Gaming Revenue (“GGR”) trends.
Our installed base of high-performing premium EGM units increased 15% year-over-year and accounted for over 17% of our domestic EGM installed base at the end of Q4 2023 compared to approximately 15% at the end of Q4 2022. Our premium EGM installed base grew sequentially for the sixteenth consecutive quarter. Supported by our deep pipeline of new premium game content, including the recently-launched Pinata Pays game family, which placed two titles in the top five of the “New-Premium Leased” category within the January 2024 Eilers-Fantini Game Performance Report, and our increasingly diverse portfolio of premium cabinet offerings, with several new premium form factors scheduled to launch throughout 2024, we continue to believe we are poised to benefit from a compelling multi-year growth runway within the higher-yielding, higher-return premium game market segment.
International Gaming Operations
International EGM gaming operations, or recurring revenue, totaled $5.1 million, up 16% versus the $4.4 million delivered in Q4 2022. The sustained relative outperformance of established AGS franchise game themes throughout the Mexico casino market, further execution of our global installed base optimization initiatives, a stable macroeconomic backdrop, and favorable foreign exchange fluctuations all contributed to our year-over-year revenue increase. International EGM recurring revenue declined approximately 5% relative to the $5.4 million delivered in Q3 2023, with the decrease largely attributable to historically normal seasonality and, to a lesser extent, unfavorable foreign exchange movements.
The international EGM installed base totaled 6,126 units at December 31, 2023, representing a quarterly sequential increase of 43 units. New casino openings paced the installed base growth realized in the quarter.
International EGM RPD increased approximately 16% year-over-year to $8.86, establishing a new fourth quarter record. The Company estimates International EGM RPD grew approximately 4% year-over-year on a constant-currency basis. Anticipated seasonality and unfavorable foreign exchange fluctuations led to an approximately 6% quarterly sequential decline in Q4 2023 International EGM RPD.
EGM Equipment Sales
Global EGM sales reached a record 1,519 units in Q4 2023, representing an increase of over 35% compared to the 1,116 units sold in Q4 2022. Sustained Spectra UR43 demand momentum, supported by the continued strong performance of multiple titles on the cabinet; initial sales of our recently-launched Spectra UR49 cabinet; a strategic focus on broadening our customer account penetration, particularly with larger multi-site corporate operators; the ability to leverage a deeper and more diverse suite of game content and cabinet variety to increase average order size; and continued outsized penetration of the Historical Horse Racing (“HHR”) market, aided by the strength of our game performance, contributed to our improved EGM unit sales performance versus the prior year. Global EGM unit sales increased approximately 13% relative to the 1,345 units sold in Q3 2023 and have now grown sequentially in eleven of the past twelve quarters.
The average sales price (“ASP”) in Q4 2023 was $20,677 versus $19,382 in Q4 2022, surpassing the $20,000 level for the second time in the past three quarters. Our improved quarterly ASP performance reflects the superior pricing we have been able to command on our high-performing Spectra family of cabinets and continued implementation of our price integrity initiatives. ASP increased approximately 7% relative to the $19,380 delivered in Q3 2023, with the lift largely attributable to a greater mix of Spectra family cabinet sales, including our premium-priced Spectra UR49, and a decrease in the relative weighting of lower-priced convert-to-sale unit sales.
The Company sold units into 30 U.S. states, four Canadian provinces and four international jurisdictions outside of the U.S. and Canada throughout Q4 2023, supported by further successful execution of our strategic initiative to broaden our customer account penetration, particularly with larger corporate buyers. To that end, we sold units to nearly 180 unique customers in Q4 2023, representing an increase of more than 70% versus the prior year and over 60% higher than the number sold to in Q4 2019.
Product Highlights
The Company’s Spectra family of gaming cabinets continues to take the gaming industry by storm, with both Spectra UR49 and UR43 achieving a top-five ranking in the January 2024 Eilers-Fantini Cabinet Performance Report, with reported theoretical index performance of 1.62 times and 1.51 times zone average, respectively. The Spectra duo’s exceptional performance put AGS in an enviable position as the only manufacturer with two cabinets in the top five of any category within the Eilers Report. The Spectra UR43 footprint surpassed 4,000 units at year end 2023, while Spectra UR49 continued to gain steam with nearly 170 units deployed. With multiple game themes in various stages of the field testing process and several new additions to the cabinet lineup scheduled for release in 2024, the Company believes it remains in the very early innings of realizing the Spectra family’s true growth potential.
AGS’ decision to strategically transform the scale and scope of its game development team beginning in the back half of 2019 has provided the Company with the content needed to consistently scale the business. The byproduct of this multi-year effort was well-represented within the January 2024 Eilers-Fantini Game Performance Report, as the Company placed seven titles in the Quarterly Top-50 New Core games, while also producing two top-five titles in the report’s New Premium Leased category. Supported by the breadth, depth and quality of its current game portfolio, which features contributions from each of the Company’s game development studios, AGS has uniquely armed itself with the tools needed to simultaneously execute its recurring revenue yield optimization initiatives, while also positioning the Company to emerge as the middle-tier provider of choice in the North American slot sales market.

(3) “Domestic” includes both the United States and Canada.

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Table Products

Three Months Ended December 31, 2023 compared to Three Months Ended December 31, 2022 

(Amounts in thousands, except unit data) Three Months Ended December 31,
2023 2022 $ Change % Change
Table Products segment revenues:
Gaming operations $ 3,936 $ 3,691 $ 245 6.6 %
Equipment sales 893 199 694 348.7 %
Total Table Products revenues $ 4,829 $ 3,890 $ 939 24.1 %
Table Products Adjusted EBITDA $ 2,842 $ 2,370 $ 472 19.9 %
Table Products unit information:
Table products installed base, end of period 5,415 5,051 364 7.2 %
Average monthly lease price $ 239 $ 241 $ (2 ) (0.8 )%

Table Products Quarterly Results

Total table products revenue increased 24% year-over-year to a record $4.8 million. Gaming operations, or recurring, revenue accounted for over 80% of Q4 2023 segment-level revenue. Total table products revenue advanced approximately 10% relative to the $4.4 million achieved in Q3 2023.
Gaming operations revenue reached a record $3.9 million, representing a year-over-year increase of approximately 7%. Growth across all major segments of our table products installed base, including an over 65% increase in the number of shufflers installed on lease, drove our improved recurring revenue performance versus the prior year. Broad-based installed base growth also paced a 2% increase in recurring revenue on a quarterly sequential basis.
The table products installed base totaled 5,415 units at the end of Q4 2023, up 364 units, or approximately 7%, versus the prior year. A more than 65% increase in both our PAX S and DEX S shuffler lease bases, further customer adoption of our all-inclusive AGS Arsenal site license offering, which contributed to outsized premium game growth of approximately 19%, and an over 30% increase in our Bonus Spin Xtreme (“BSX”) progressive installed base combined to drive our year-over-year installed base growth. This same set of growth catalysts, along with new casino opening activity, contributed to an over 100 unit increase in our installed base versus the prior sequential quarter.
The average monthly lease price (“ALP”) was relatively consistent versus the prior year and prior sequential quarter at $239.
Equipment sales revenue more than quadrupled year-over-year to a record $893 thousand, exceeding the prior record, established in Q2 2023, by nearly 70%. Supported by new casino opening activity, PAX S sales surpassed 35 units, while we also benefitted from the sale of 13 DEX S units in the quarter.
Table Products Adjusted EBITDA increased 20% year-over-year to a record $2.8 million. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 58.9% compared to 60.9% in Q4 2022, reflecting a higher allocation of field service expense to the segment to better align with the current composition of the installed base and a greater mix of equipment sales revenue. Table Products Adjusted EBITDA increased by more than 15% versus the $2.4 million delivered in Q3 2023, representing our third consecutive quarter of sequential Adjusted EBITDA growth. Adjusted EBITDA margin expanded by over 300bps sequentially, reflecting the operating leverage realized as a result of our outsized revenue growth.
The PAX S specialty game card shuffler footprint surpassed 330 units at the end of Q4 2023, with units live in over 65 unique casinos across more than 20 states and provinces. The PAX S footprint expanded by over 40 units, or approximately 14%, sequentially in Q4 2023, supported by the activation of more than 20 units in conjunction with a recent high-profile new casino opening. With PAX S approved in all major North American markets and supported by the overwhelmingly positive customer feedback received on the product to date, the Company believes it remains in the early stages of realizing PAX’s true growth potential.
The Bonus Spin Xtreme progressive installed base increased by over 30% year-over-year and approximately 5% sequentially to 530 units. BSX is currently installed in over 50 casinos across nearly 20 jurisdictions. The enhanced BSX features and functionality scheduled to launch in 2024 should allow the product to resonate with an even broader audience, helping to drive additional customer adoption in the quarters ahead.
At quarter end, the Company was live with over 20 AGS Arsenal site licenses across a variety of tribal and commercial end markets. The Arsenal’s compelling value proposition and our organizational commitment to investing in table product innovation continue to drive interest in our site license offering.

Interactive

Three Months Ended December 31, 2023 compared to Three Months Ended December 31, 2022 

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(Amounts in thousands) Three Months Ended December 31,
2023 2022 $ Change % Change
Interactive segment revenue:        
Gaming Operations $ 3,370 $ 2,508 $ 862 34.4 %
Total Interactive revenue $ 3,370 $ 2,508 $ 862 34.4 %
Interactive Adjusted EBITDA $ 1,292 $ 498 $ 794 159.4 %

Interactive Quarterly Results

Total Interactive revenue reached a record $3.4 million, representing an increase of 34% year-over-year and approximately 8% ahead of Q3 2023. Real-money gaming (“RMG”) revenue accounted for over 90% of Q4 2023 segment-level revenue, with the balance derived from the Company’s B2C social casino platform.
RMG revenue increased 46% year-over-year and more than 20% sequentially to a record $3.1 million. An accelerating cadence of new game launches, including the introduction of the Company’s first ever online-first game theme, Double Shamrock; more tactical and targeted business development activities with our B2C operator partners; the continued strong performance of franchise brands, including Capital Gains, in the online channel; and the activation of more than 10 new B2C operator partners globally paced our record-setting Q4 2023 RMG revenue performance. Revenues earned from North American-facing customers accounted for over 90% of Q4 2023 RMG revenue mix.
Interactive Adjusted EBITDA more than doubled versus the prior year to a record $1.3 million, reflecting our ability to flow through a significant portion of the RMG revenue growth achieved in the quarter while simultaneously providing our team with the financial resources necessary to support achievement of our multi-year growth objectives. Adjusted EBITDA increased by over 40% compared to the $902 thousand delivered in Q3 2023, supported by further returns on the tactical investments in technical and customer-facing talent initiated in the back half of 2022. The Interactive segment has generated positive Adjusted EBITDA for sixteen consecutive quarters, consistent with the Company’s commitment to profitably scaling revenues within the segment.
AGS maintained its position near the top of the charts in the February 2024 Eilers-Fantini Online Game Performance Report, with the exceptional performance of its new and proven online brands producing a top-five overall slot index ranking for the fourth consecutive month. The Company’s “New” game performance told a similar story within the February report, ranking second best for the fourth month in a row with a reported theoretical win index of over 3 times site average. Three AGS game themes achieved a top-15 ranking within the February report’s “New” game category, including Platinum 8x8x8xMega Diamond and 8x Crystal Bells, while its established online franchise brand, Capital Gains, ranked second in the overall slots category with a reported theoretical win index of more than 14 times site average. Looking ahead, the Company remains committed to further diversifying its online content offering to include online-first game themes, bespoke product, simple slots, instant win, and table games to further solidify its position as a partner of choice to the industry’s leading B2C i-casino operators.
The Company’s growing suite of RMG game content, consisting of over 60 proven AGS land-based titles, was live in nearly all of the most prominent regulated North American online jurisdictions and with over 80 i-gaming operators globally as of December 31, 2023. Pennsylvania, Michigan and Canada represented the Company’s highest revenue generating end markets in Q4 2023.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Highlights

As of December 31, 2023, the Company had an available cash balance of $50.9 million and $40.0 million of availability under its undrawn revolving credit facility, resulting in total available liquidity of over $90 million.

The total principal amount of debt outstanding, as of December 31, 2023, was $566.8 million compared to $571.4 million at December 31, 2022. Total net debt, which is the principal amount of debt outstanding less cash and cash equivalents, was $515.8 million as of December 31, 2023, conveying a total net debt leverage ratio of 3.2 times compared to 3.8 times as of December 31, 2022(4).

Fourth quarter 2023 capital expenditures totaled $15.4 million, bringing full year 2023 capital expenditures to $61.9 million. Growth capital expenditures, which primarily relate to gaming equipment-related investments into the Company’s EGM and Table Product installed bases, accounted for approximately 60% of the total capital expenditures incurred for the full year 2023, with the balance attributable to capitalized research and development (“R&D”) expenditures and investment in long-lived assets intended to support various corporate operations. The Company expects full year 2024 capital expenditures, inclusive of anticipated capitalized R&D and corporate operation expenditures, to land in the range of $65 million to $70 million.

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Free cash flow(4) reached $11.0 million in Q4 2023 compared to $7.6 million in Q4 2022, pushing full year 2023 free cash flow to $27.4 million.

February 2024 Debt Repricing and Voluntary Repayment

On February 5, 2024, the Company successfully completed a repricing of its term loan credit facility. Among other things, the repricing removed the credit spread adjustment with respect to term loan borrowings and reduced the interest rate applied to such borrowings to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) plus 3.75%. Additionally, in conjunction with the repricing transaction, the Company elected to voluntarily repay $15 million of its total debt outstanding.

2024 Net Leverage Target

Supported by the relative resiliency observed across the broader North American gaming complex 2024-to-date, both with respect to GGR trends and customer purchasing demand; the growing appeal and strong performance of AGS’s deeper and more diverse suite of EGM gaming cabinets and game content; the anticipated continued outsized growth in Interactive revenues; an unwavering commitment to cost containment and operational efficiency; and steadily improving free cash flow conversion, the Company expects to exit 2024 with a total net debt leverage ratio in the range of 2.75 times to 3.00 times.

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(4) Total Adjusted EBITDA, Total Net Debt Leverage Ratio and Free Cash Flow are non-GAAP financial measures; see non-GAAP reconciliation below.

Conference Call and Webcast

AGS executive leadership will host a conference call on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at 5 p.m. EST to review the Company’s fourth quarter and full year 2023 financial results. Participants may visit the Company’s website, investors.playags.com, to access a live webcast of the conference call and a slide presentation reviewing the Company’s quarterly and full year financial performance. A replay of the webcast will be available on the Company’s website following the live event. United States residents may access the call live by dialing +1 (833) 470-1428, while international participants should visit www.netroadshow.com/events/global-numbers?confId=60800 for a dial by country directory. The conference call access code is 775707.

Company Overview

AGS is a global company focused on creating a diverse mix of entertaining gaming experiences for every kind of player. Our roots are firmly planted in the Class II tribal gaming market, but our customer-centric culture and remarkable growth have helped us branch out to become one of the most all-inclusive commercial gaming equipment suppliers in the world. Powered by high-performing Class II and Class III slot products, an expansive table products portfolio, highly rated social casino, real-money gaming solutions for players and operators, and best-in-class service, we offer an unmatched value proposition for our casino partners. Learn more at playags.com.

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Forward-Looking Statement

This release contains forward-looking statements based on management’s current expectations and projections, which are intended to qualify for the safe harbor of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements identified by words such as “believe,” “will,” “may,” “might,” “likely,” “expect,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “believes,” “continues,” “projects” and similar references to future periods. All forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and projections of future events.

These forward-looking statements reflect the current views, models, and assumptions of AGS, and are subject to various risks and uncertainties that cannot be predicted or qualified and could cause actual results in AGS’s performance to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward looking statements. Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of various risks and uncertainties, which include, but are not limited to, the ability of AGS to maintain strategic alliances, unit placements or installations, grow revenue, garner new market share, secure new licenses in new jurisdictions, successfully develop or place proprietary product, comply with regulations, have its games approved by relevant jurisdictions, market conditions, and other factors. For a more detailed discussion of these and other factors, please refer to AGS’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including those set forth under Item 1. “Business,” and Item 1A. “Risk Factors” in AGS’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, filed with the SEC. All forward-looking statements made herein are expressly qualified in their entirety by these cautionary statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results, events or developments referenced herein will occur or be realized. Readers are cautioned that all forward-looking statements speak only to the facts and circumstances present as of the date of this press release. AGS expressly disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Industry News

Real Dealer Studios: Offering a fresh spin on classic roulette

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Shane Cotter at Real Dealer Studios walks us through the groundbreaking new release, Volcano Roulette, and discusses whether classic table games need a makeover for today’s online audience.

Roulette is probably the most timeless casino game out there. Here’s what happened when we gave it a couple more balls. And a volcano.

The game we’re now launching is Volcano Roulette, and it’s fair to say that it’s a huge departure from what the industry is used to. The first thing players will see is the sleek, steampunk environment and a roulette wheel with that smoking volcano right in the middle. The game’s visuals, compared with typical RNG games, are several steps ahead thanks to the Cinematic RNG technology that Real Dealer invented. Essentially, this means the game was built on video that was produced the same way Hollywood films are made.

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As cool as this game looks, it’s really the mechanics that set it apart. In every round, once the spin starts, one or two glowing lava balls can randomly shoot out of the volcano to become part of the action. These extra balls increase the chance of hitting a straight-up bet. If the player does land any straight-up bet, a special sequence starts where the numbers on the wheel shift, steampunk style, into multipliers. Then another lava ball erupts out to pick the multiplier for the straight-up bet win. These multipliers can be as much as 333x and apply to all straight up bets that land in the round. That means the player could win up to 999x their bet.

An eruption of innovation

What sparked this game’s theme is once again related to Cinematic RNG. We’ve got this amazing technology that gives us a huge amount of flexibility. It lets us make hyper-realistic looking games with any kind of action and put them in any setting we choose.

So one of our designers got the idea to have a roulette wheel where the numbers could drop down, shift, flip over and pop back up with different numbers, all of which would happen in an old-fashioned, mechanical looking way.

We were also having ongoing discussions about how to revamp the process of releasing the ball onto the table. And after a few sessions at the drawing board, we had the great idea of including a volcano.

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Between the steaming volcano and the mechanical action of the changing numbers, the steampunk theme basically chose itself. Our 3D designers then set to work creating all the mechanical lightbulbs, cogs turning and all these different dials that give the game its character.

A degree of familiarity

Volcano Roulette is obviously a huge departure from what long-time players are used to. The challenge with revamping a classic is ensuring that when you innovate, you retain those elements of the game that the players love. That’s a balance that I believe Real Dealer Studios has managed to achieve.

That brings us to the question of whether online roulette needs a makeover. And the answer is both yes and no. As you can imagine, different players are after different experiences from the games that they play. Some prefer the classics while others want something completely new.

When this table game first moved into the digital space, it started off as a computer animation. It later improved, but still has that animated RNG feel. Later live games came in and have gained their own following. But for existing table game players used to that classic bricks-and-mortar casino feel or just looking for something higher quality, there was nothing out there.

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Seeing this, we developed cinematic RNG to deliver a much better online experience, with enhanced audio-visual quality and heightened gameplay compared to other table games you find online. I wouldn’t call this a makeover – it’s getting back to what this game is all about and doing a better job of it in the online environment.

Of course, there are other players who are expecting new twists to the game. The key to catering to these different demands from players is to have an extensive portfolio that spans multiple themes and includes a range of features. Some might be done in classic style and include a dealer, others might be automatic and have multipliers.

Attracting new audiences

Where a full-fledged makeover becomes useful is when you’re trying to cross-sell table games to the larger pools of players coming from sportsbook and slots. The challenge here, however, is that each of these two demographics requires a completely unique approach.

To reach sports bettors, for example, we have created games that tie into real-world sporting events. Just last year, we had Hockey Fever Roulette which was launched for the Ice Hockey World Championship in May. The game was set in a man cave loaded with fan memorabilia and had rock music playing in the background. It was everything you would want in a hockey-themed game.

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That was then followed by Rugby Fever Roulette, which was launched ahead of the Rugby World Cup. We wanted to make this game more personalised for each player, so we built a feature where players could choose between dealers and switch the visuals and thematics to match their favourite team.

Obviously, attracting new audiences was a major focus for these two games. But creating sports-themed titles also provided our operator partners with an opportunity to work our games into their event promotions. So, it had marketing benefits too.

Engaging with slots players is a completely different ballgame, however. Traditionally, there isn’t much cross-over between slots and table games. We therefore had to find a common ground between the two verticals. This is where slots-type features like multipliers, collect features and unique designs came into play. Cinematic RNG has really helped us here, letting us create some fantastic mechanics and immersive designs catering to the slots crowd.

Recently we took an even bolder step into the slots realm by partnering with the producers of an enormously popular slots title, 9 Masks of Fire. Our roulette version of the legendary game became an instant hit.

As 2024 progresses, we have plenty more titles in the pipeline which we are confident will offer a new spin on the classics and continue to drive engagement with players. Stay tuned!

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The post Real Dealer Studios: Offering a fresh spin on classic roulette appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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Industry News

Cheltenham and Grand National 2025 start now

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The madness of Cheltenham and Grand National has been and gone. Congratulations on surviving; you’ve made it through and live to fight another day. So, what’s top of the agenda for today? Preparation for the 2025 edition’s of the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National, of course!

Here are the six key planning and strategy points to consider in order to give yourself the best possible chance of success next spring.

The work begins now

Yes, Cheltenham 2025 is a long time away. But everything is fresh in your mind as of this moment. Many of the changes you may end up acting on could take a long time to execute, and there’s undoubtedly going to be countless foreseen and unforeseen priorities between now and the end of the year. Start now whilst 2024 performance is fresh in your mind and fresh within the wider business psyche. Keep the festival mindset running for as long as possible to maintain momentum and get flying out the stalls.

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Involve all parts of the business

This is not just an exercise for the IT department. Every relevant stakeholder from around the business should be represented. What were customers saying to Customer Services? How did Trading cope when their bet tickers slowed down? What offers and promotions did Marketing take note of that they would like to offer next time? Bring in stakeholders from all business arms to create a holistic view of where the opportunities lie and what challenges need to be overcome.

Look at the data

Get hold of all of your performance metrics from every component of your systems and take the time to do a deep-dive analysis on those numbers. If you haven’t got all the metrics that you’d like to have to hand? Well, there’s your starting point for the list of ‘things to fix immediately’.

Be honest with yourselves

Getting business involvement, analysing all the data, and prompt planning is all well and good. But if you’re not going to be brutally honest with yourselves as an organisation, it may be all for nothing. Yes, it’s important to acknowledge everyone’s hard work and remember all the things that you did right. But you also have to be your own harshest critics about what didn’t go so well and what could be improved on. There’s really no point in doing all this if you’re not going to seriously challenge yourselves to do better.

Next year won’t be the same as this year

You’re going to be delivering a various new features and functionalities, as well as making many changes to your internal systems over the next twelve months. So the technical landscape that 2025’s Cheltenham Festival and Grand National inhabited will be very different to the one just gone. How will that fancy new bet builder widget in development hold up under the unique stresses of Grand National day? What will your new AI recommendations engine do when everyone’s betting on just one event? You don’t need to answer these questions right now, and it’s highly likely that you won’t be able to answer all of these questions now. But you need to bake in consideration of Cheltenham and Grand National to your non-functional requirements for every change you make in the coming months.

Get a high-level plan diarised

You need to start now but you can’t finish now. This is something you’re going to need to come back to periodically until those Cheltenham gates open. It’s a simple but powerful scheduling task: put the key staging posts in relevant team’s diaries now. You don’t want wake up in a cold sweat one morning in January realising that you’re two months out from the Greatest Show on Turf and haven’t made notable progress on the fixes required from this year’s festivals.

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By: Graham Cassell, Partner at Circle Squared

The post Cheltenham and Grand National 2025 start now appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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Compliance Updates

Bet on Compliance: Navigating the Stakes with the UK’s Affordability Checks

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By Isabelle Zanzer, Senior Regulatory Compliance Specialist at ComplianceOne Group

Feeling like the deck is stacked against you with all these talks of financial checks in gambling? Wondering if this new game plan will leave your privacy on a losing streak? If so, no need to bet on uncertainty anymore. We’re here to deal you in on the UK’s latest gamble towards responsible betting. Let’s shuffle through the details and lay our cards on the table, as we make sure you’re holding a winning hand in understanding what’s in play. Ready to roll the dice and dive in? Follow me.

On July 26, 2023, the UK Gambling Commission launched consultations on proposed reforms in the Gambling White Paper, focusing on areas like direct marketing, age verification, game design, and financial risk checks. This article delves into the latter, highlighting new financial vulnerability and risk assessments to safeguard customers.

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The UK’s consultation introduces two checks for gambling: light-touch financial vulnerability checks and detailed financial risk assessments. The first tier of checks is designed to identify financial vulnerabilities such as bankruptcy orders or significant debts, using publicly available data. The second tier involves enhanced financial risk assessments triggered by significant losses, requiring more comprehensive scrutiny of a customer’s financial situation.

Thus, in simple terms, what is going to happen at the heart of the UKGC’s new measures are two-tiered affordability checks designed to assess the financial vulnerability and risk of consumers engaging in online gambling. The first tier involves unintrusive checks that will be triggered when a customer reaches a specified net loss within a rolling period, using publicly available data to identify potential financial vulnerabilities. To dive a little deeper, this check will be conducted if a customer either has net losses of £125 in a rolling 30 days or £500 within a rolling 365 days. It would need to include “at a minimum a customer-specific public record information check for significant indicators of potential financial vulnerability”, including whether the customer is subject to things such as a bankruptcy order, county court judgment, or individual voluntary arrangement. Net loss would be defined as loss of deposited monies with an operator, not counting restacked winnings or bonus funds.

The second tier represents a more detailed assessment of financial risk, which is activated at higher loss thresholds. A comprehensive financial review is required for gamblers with significant losses, examining their financial data including credit status and spending. If third-party data is unavailable, operators may directly seek customer consent for access, ensuring a thorough understanding of financial health.

The gambling industry’s reception of these checks has been cautiously optimistic, particularly regarding the initial, less invasive tier. However, the prospect of more detailed financial assessments has sparked debate, not only among operators but also among consumers wary of privacy infringement.

As the UK gambling sector adapts to these new regulations, the challenge will be to strike an optimal balance between safeguarding consumers and maintaining the operational viability of gambling platforms. The pilot study represents a critical step in this process, offering valuable insights into the practical implications of affordability checks and the potential need for adjustments in response to industry feedback and consumer concerns.

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The outcome of the pilot study and subsequent parliamentary debates are pivotal in shaping the future of affordability checks in the UK gambling sector. As operators, regulators, and consumers navigate these changes, the overarching goal remains clear: to foster a safer, more responsible gambling environment that protects consumers from financial harm while ensuring the industry’s sustainable growth.

Striking the right balance in the new UK gambling regulations is like walking a tightrope. With the introduction of light-touch and in-depth financial risk assessments, operators may face the challenge of protecting players without overstepping into their privacy. These two-tiered checks aim to shield those at risk, using both public data and deeper financial insights.

The key here for operators will be to navigate these waters carefully, ensuring player safety while keeping the game fair and enjoyable. Now, when trying to find a balancing act, we need to consider the following:

  1. Regulatory Compliance Risk: Reviewing the existing practices against the UKGC’s affordability check guidelines, identifying discrepancies, and recommending changes to align with the new regulations.
  2. Data Privacy and Security Risk: Evaluating the ability to handle and protect sensitive financial data in line with GDPR and other data protection laws.
  3. Operational Risk: Assessing the impact of the new checks on daily operations and customer interactions.
  4. Financial Risk: Analysing the potential financial implications of the affordability checks on revenue and customer base.
  5. Reputational Risk: Considering the public and customer perception of the affordability checks, especially regarding privacy concerns, the key here, like in all relationships, is communication. For example, it is estimated that just the very highest spending 3 percent of accounts would undergo financial risk assessments. Most financial risk assessments – at least 80 percent – would be carried out through credit reference agencies. The checks are expected to be frictionless and not interrupt the customer journey unless concerns are raised. It is estimated that a further 10 percent of risk assessments will be done through limited data-sharing through third-party open-source banking, which is similarly straightforward from a customer perspective.

Finding this balance involves a tailored approach as one offered by ComplianceOne group, whereby operators can personalize checks based on individual player profiles, ensuring those at higher risk receive the attention they need while others continue to enjoy their play with minimal interruption. It’s about creating a safety net that catches those in need without trapping everyone else in unnecessary checks. The key to a winning strategy is the execute this balance, and understanding what is at stake: Reputation, Sustainability and Trust.

The post Bet on Compliance: Navigating the Stakes with the UK’s Affordability Checks appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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