If you want to see something impressive, then all you have to do is to look at the Aristocrat Leisure revenue figures from the time before Jamie Odell took charge of the company, and the present day. Mr Odell, a former senior executive for drinks company Foster’s, has really turned the company around through a five year transformation plan which is now on its fourth year.
The slot machine maker is the number two in the world for the industry, and they produce a huge amount of slot machine games every year to be sent to various casino clients. Back in 2009 they booked a net loss of around 158 million dollars in AU$, which equates to about 142 million dollars in US terms. Investors started to cash in their shares and thinks were not looking good.
Now though, all of that has changed. The company made net earnings of A$53 million in the six months leading up to March, and it looks as though they will post their first annual profit this year since the first recession hit.
“We license our content to online operators in Europe, which is low-margin, and in the U.S. we bought an Internet gaming platform. If a state allows regulated online gambling, we’ll be able to press a button and provide that service,” said Mr Odell when asked about his concerns over online gambling and the rise of that industry. “But we’re most excited about social media. We just bought a company called Product Madness, a gaming platform for Facebook that competes with the likes of Zynga. Consider games like Farmville where you can actually buy animals or treats with Facebook credits. We’re learning that people are prepared to pay small amounts to play slot machines without a win.”
He has also recently noted in interviews the company’s desire to expand into Asia, and to tap new markets there. “Many Asian people love gambling, but the great games there look and feel like Asian games: the graphics, the language, even the sounds… What didn’t work for us was trying to take an Australian or American game, say Outback Jack with kangaroos and Ayers Rock, and stick that into Asia.”