The EILERS-FANTINI survey is designed to track slot machine and related technology purchasing trends on a quarterly basis and is the gaming industry’s largest slot survey in terms of total casinos and slot machines surveyed.
This quarter’s report represents the 21st proprietary slot survey and includes record-level responses from key purchasing agents at a number of North American commercial and tribal casinos, several racino/VLT operators, as well as nine international participants.
In total, the 103 survey participants collectively operate 366 gaming venues with approximately 354,731 total slot machines or equivalent gaming devices. Ninety-four North America participants operate 299 casinos and approximately 316,862 slot machines, representing about 31.3 percent of the total install base of machines in North America.
Purchasing Activity for Fourth Quarter of Calendar Year 2014
North America survey participants purchased and took delivery of 8,750 slot machines in the fourth quarter of 2014, including 2,760 new and expansionary units and 5,990 replacement units while also purchasing 4,385 conversion kits in the quarter. Based on the quarter’s survey results, the estimated total North America replacement sales are likely to be about 14,350 games in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2014 including 12,350 traditional casino replacements and approximately 2,000 Oregon VLT replacements. Including new and expansionary demand, the estimated total slot demand for the quarter is about 17,800 games sold.
Gainers and Losers
Konami, GTECH and Aristocrat all gained ship-share on sold product in the quarter relative to each company’s trailing average while IGT lost share. As for leased and participation games, the same three companies also gained ground in terms of net lease placements while IGT and WMS were the primary donors.
Non-Big 5 Vendors Remain Strong
Non-Big 5 vendors continue to take market share in North America with survey participants purchasing 25 percent of games from non-Big 5 vendors during the quarter including Oregon VLTs and 18 percent excluding Oregon VLTs. Key suppliers gaining ground include GTECH (VLTs), Ainsworth, Multimedia Games, Aruze and Incredible Technologies.
Top Performing Leased Titles
IGT’s Wheel of Fortune (WOF) franchise remained the top performing premium leased game in the quarter. GTECH/Spielo’s highly anticipated Sphinx 3D remained in the second position and Aristocrat’s Buffalo Stampede rounded out the top three performers.
Most Anticipated Premium Leased Games
Aristocrat continues to have best lineup of most anticipated premium leased games with eight of the top 15 most anticipated titles according to our survey participants with Sons of Anarchy leading the group. After Aristocrat, GTECH/Spielo received 20 percent of the total votes with survey participants looking forward to the company’s new Bejeweled 3D title.
Forward Replacement Demand
The 94 North America survey participants (operating 298 casinos and 316,869 slots) plan to replace a weighted average of 6.4 percent of the casino-owned games on their floors over the next year, which is slightly below our survey results from the prior quarter. We believe the decline reflects the weakness in gross gaming revenue (GGR) trends starting in late calendar year 2013 and carrying through the majority of calendar year 2014. However, we note December 2014 GGR results have been much better than expected. If that trend holds, we would anticipate future surveys to show a pick up in replacement expectations for calendar year 2015.