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PokerTek Exits Amusement Business, Focuses On Casinos

Posted On: 8/30/2010

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MATTHEWS, NC -- PokerTek, a manufacturer of casino products and PokerPro electronic poker tables based here, said it is exiting the amusement industry to focus on its casino products. In 2007, the company introduced Heads-Up Challenge, an amusement-only poker videogame, and its first and only coin-op product.

Presented in a cocktail-style dedicated cabinet, Heads-Up Challenge enabled two players to compete against each other in a game of Texas hold 'em. Under a license agreement with Harrah's, the game was cobranded with the "World Series of Poker."

Officials had hoped Heads-Up would penetrate bars and restaurants worldwide. But last year, slow sales of the unit prompted PokerTek to move away from traditional distribution in favor of what executives called an "operator-direct business model." See story.

PokerTek said it will focus its efforts on the casino industry, where it reported improved fiscal results on Aug. 10. It reported that EBITDA from continuing gaming operations improved 78% for the second quarter ended June 30 and 96% for the first six months of 2010. PokerTek said it is launching a new platform that will support electronic blackjack as its first application late this year.

PokerTek was founded in 2003 by Lou White, Lee Lomax, Lyle Berman and James Crawford, who is the company's current president. It held a public offering in October 2005. PokerTek products are sold to casinos through Sydney, Australia-based Aristocrat Leisure Ltd.

At presstime, the PokerTek website still directed interested bars to phone the company about Heads-Up Challenge for distributor referrals.