As the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) kicked off at the Venetian Casino in Las Vegas, Shuffle Master, a leader in the casino gaming industry for several decades, has rebranded and will henceforth operate under the name SHFL entertainment.
The name was chosen to correspond with the company’s ‘SHFL’ NASDAQ symbol and to remain true to the original name that founder John Breeding chose for the company in 1983. ‘Entertainment’ was selected as part of the name because it “embodies what we provide to the industry with our expanded product lines, namely proprietary table games, e-tables, slot machines, utility products, and iGaming solutions …. that encourage and support a dynamic gaming experience for players,” said SHFL chief executive Gavin Isaacs.
“We have built a solid reputation over the past 30 years as a leading provider of casino gaming solutions to our customers all over the world,” Isaacs added. “We believe that our image and name should pay homage to our roots, while at the same time encompass who we are today and accurately reflect all that we have to offer now and in the future.”
Those roots include Breeding quitting his job as a truck driver and starting the company by obtaining a loan for $30,000 and developing a mechanical shuffling machine that allowed for blackjack to be shuffled after each hand, nullifying card counting tactics. The shuffle machine hit the market in 1992 and the company grew, making an initial public offering later in the year. However, casinos were increasingly using additional decks for blackjack games and Breeding’s shuffling device was designed for only one deck of cards.
In order to increase demand for his single-deck shuffle machine, Breeding created the game Let It Ride, a variant of five-card stud poker that proved to be a huge hit as a casino table game. In a few years, Let It Ride was generating much more revenue than the single-deck shuffler. The company expanded over the years to include slot machines and other popular casino table games.
Earlier this year, Shuffle Master had worked out a deal to purchase the Ongame Network, which is ranked fifth in player traffic of all online poker rooms and networks according to recent PokerScout tallies. But Shuffle Master pulled out of the deal, citing a declining European market and an uncertain regulated market in the United States. Amaya Gaming–based in Canada–has since agreed to purchase Ongame from Bwin.party Digital Entertainment, which viewed the online poker network as a “surplus asset.”
SHFL entertainment is based in Paradise, Nevada, near Las Vegas, and is one of eight current entities that have been granted a license from Silver State gaming officials to operate online poker sites in the state. In the absence of federal online poker legislation that likely won’t be considered in Congress before 2013, all systems are go for Nevada to be up and running with the country’s first legal Internet poker site sometime this fall.