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Ainsworth is ready to Rumble with Class II, Class III slot products

By Nick Sortal

The world is moving faster, products in all genres can make a mark quicker and markets are slicing thinner and thinner. Just look how Amazon and Netflix have further divided the TV market first dissipated by cable TV. Or how restaurants such as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Boston Market were part of how the fast-food industry changed, with higher quality options.

One such example of nimble adjustments in the casino world is illustrated by Ainsworth Game Technology. The company is fairly new to the U.S. slot market, but Ainsworth is gaining momentum not only in Class III gaming, but with creating Class II products to serve Native American casinos.

Ainsworth, located in Las Vegas, moved into Class II gaming this year with the $38 million purchase of Nova Technologies, which had about 1,000 Class II games, spread mostly throughout Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, Ainsworth is also creating Class II versions of the Class III games slot players have seen at their commercial casinos. (Class II games are for Native American casinos that lack state approval for full-fledged slots. Class II games generate an instant game of bingo with each spin, but display the results more like a traditional slot machine would.)

“Some are recognizable to players who have seen them elsewhere, and then there are some new titles as well,” said Mike Trask, director of marketing.

Two of the more recognizable slots are Rumble Rumble and Flying Horse. Trask said the two came out about two years ago, and are now available in Class II.

It’s a case of the company taking its best resources and maximizing them.

“We take the math and essentially reverse engineer it,” Trask said. “But for the player sitting down at the game you wouldn’t notice a huge difference in game play.”

Many of the company’s most popular games feature “Sweet Zone” bonuses, which trigger greater bonuses and free spins, while an announcer reminds players they are in the “Sweeeet Zoooone.”

Other Ainsworth games include Dragon’s Heat, Twice the Money, China Gold, and Fast Cash Diamonds, which made its debut in September at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. The company also introduced “Double Sweet Zone” in its Order of the Dragon series. Double Sweet Zone offers players the option to play the original “Sweet Zone” for 50 credits or the “Double Sweet Zone” for 100 credits.

There’s also Sweet Zone Xtreme, which features improved graphics and massive reel strips.

Licensed titles include King Kong, Three Amigos, The Sound of Music and The Magnificent Seven.

Ainsworth was founded by Len Ainsworth, an icon in the gaming world. Ainsworth, now 93, first founded Aristocrat Leisure, left that company in 1994 and created Ainsworth a year later. He is responsible for some of the biggest advances in gaming industry in the last 60 years, such as video slots, Trask said.

The company, which began in Australia, entered the U.S. market about eight years ago and has about 5 percent of the U.S. slot market. The company recently opened a 291,000-square-foot headquarters in Las Vegas and has another in Fort Lauderdale to maintain Latin American clients.

“We’re at a place where we’ve seen real growth,” Trask said.