Play Synergy, an Empire Technological Group company, has announced that it will be acquiring Aruze Gaming America. The news comes less than a week after Aruze said it would shut down its Las Vegas headquarters and lay off 100 employees. Aruze has been in trouble since a court ruled that the company shares the financial obligations of its sole shareholder, Kazuo Okada.
The deal will see Play Synergy take over Aruze’s online and land-based slots operations in the US. That includes sales, support, and service. The company said current customers should not be affected, and the transition will be as smooth as possible.
The acquisition will add Aruze’s games to the portfolio of Play Synergy. Some of the most popular online slots by Aruze in the US market are the Cannonball and Ultra Stack series.
Play Synergy has an existing relationship with Aruze which began in 2022. Under the terms of their strategic partnership, Aruze has installed some of its retail games on the Play Synergy cabinets. That has allowed both companies to expand faster.
Play Synergy did not disclose the financial specifics of the deal. However, it says it’s confident that the deal will close within 30 days, pending regulatory and court approvals.
It also said it would offer new employment opportunities to some of the 100 affected Aruze employees. It did not specify how many.
Turbulent Times for Aruze Gaming
Last week, Aruze said it was shutting down its Las Vegas headquarters and laying off its entire staff of 100 people. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the expected effective closure date is Aug 18, but not much more information is available.
The closure comes less than six months after the company announced that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 bankruptcies allow companies to reorganize their business and form a plan to repay debts while continuing to run their business.
At the time, the company said the bankruptcy was necessary due to factors outside its control. One of those factors was a $27.4 million garnishment judgment against Aruze, stemming from Okada’s legal problems.
Okada, a Japanese businessman, is a former executive and investor in Wynn Resorts. He was a plaintiff in one of the many lawsuits against its founder, Steve Wynn. However, he failed to pay a $50 million “success fee” he had promised to Bartlit Beck LLP, the law firm representing him. Okada’s suit ended in settlement as the parties agreed to a $2.6 billion payment to Okada’s Universal Entertainment Co.
The garnishment isn’t the only issue facing Aruze. Bankruptcy filings revealed that the company also owes $20.8 million to other creditors.
Aruze’s Innovative Products
Aruze isn’t only a slots company. It also manufactures a variety of electronic gambling devices, some of them quite original.
Play Synergy will get unusual innovations like Aruze’s Rock, Paper, Scissors slot machine and Go Go Claw gambling device as part of the acquisition.
Aruze’s products also include electronic Keno, video poker, and electronic table game (ETG) versions of blackjack, craps, poker, roulette, and baccarat.
One of these ETGs is Roll to Win Craps, found in casinos nationwide. Players place bets digitally and roll the dice on a digital table, which records the results. However, not all the publicity about the game has been good. It was recently in the news after four players were arrested for cheating after sliding the dice rather than rolling them at the Cosmopolitan Casino.
For the casinos, part of the appeal of ETGs like Roll to Win Craps is that they don’t require a dealer. That’s a significant cost savings, especially when the industry is facing a talent shortage. Other examples of hybrid and untraditional games by Aruze across casino floors include a hybrid roulette and a wheel-spinning game called Big Wheel.