Having Transformed Its Casinos, Slots Maker Aristocrat Finally Makes Its Home in Las Vegas

Australian slots manufacturer Aristocrat Technologies unveiled its new $45 million headquarters in Summerlin, Las Vegas on Thursday.

Before and After: Country artist Tim McGraw introduces his new Aristocrat game at the 2016 Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. Classic “Lucky Seven” slots are increasingly giving way to new monster slots, and Aristocrat is dominating the transition. (Image: kids.britannica.com and vegasnews.com)

Once a minor player in the North American casino industry, the company has stolen significant market share from homegrown giants like Scientific Games and IGT over the past decade and, in doing so, has transformed the casino floors of America.

Gone are the rows of classic Lucky 7s, replaced by Aristocrat’s hulking, futuristic Helix cabinets — ergonomically designed terminals with high-resolution screens and quad sound systems.

But the company’s relationship with Las Vegas has been mutually transformational. For 60 years a domestic manufacturer of “pokies,” as they are known colloquially in Australia, Aristocrat is now one of the global market leaders in casino technology, and its new campus reflects its status as a major player and employer in Las Vegas.

It's so much part of the Vegas establishment these days, in fact, that one of executives is married the governor of Nevada, which is about as “aristocratic” as you can get in a republic.

Everything Slots into Place

Today the company is licensed in 240 jurisdictions in 90 countries and has a total global employee base of 3,000, but the US — and Las Vegas, especially — has become the beating heart of its business.

CEO Trevor Croker took over the reins of the company in 2017 and quickly made the decision to move it from its traditional Sydney base. Australia now accounts for just 20 percent of Aristocrat’s business, while 65 percent is  conducted in the US.

What can I say about this campus? You have earned it,” said chairman Ian Blackburne as he cut the blue ribbon outside the new headquarters, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Thursday. “We had only one material presence in one part of one segment of this business a decade ago.”

Fallen Aristocrat

Ten years ago, at the onset of the financial crisis, Aristocrat was struggling and was forced to initiate an efficiency drive that involved widespread job cuts. This was despite the fact that many of its competitors were experiencing record growth at the same time. The following year, Aristocrat reported a net loss of $157.8 million.

Its recovery and subsequent explosive growth have been aided by some shrewd acquisitions, most significantly its 2014 purchase of Video Gaming Technologies (VGT) for $1.3 billion. Amid declining financial results in Australia, the deal tripled its exposure to the US market, where it has been the “primary market-share gainer” ever since, according to analyst Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.

Last year, it entered the mobile games market through its purchase of Plarium for $500 million and Big Fish Fames for $990 million.

Aristocrat’s new Summerlin campus consists of two three-story structures of approximately 90,000 square feet each and will house to about 800 of the its 1,100 Vegas-based employees, according to LVRJ.

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