WMS Industries Inc. (NYSE:WMS) today announced the formation of Williams Interactive LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary that will focus on the growth, development and operational execution of the Company’s worldwide online wagering, social, casual and mobile gaming initiatives. The creation of Williams Interactive LLC is intended to optimize the benefits of iGaming for WMS’ casino operator customers and their players. Orrin J. Edidin, President of WMS Industries, has been promoted to the new position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Williams Interactive. In his new role, Mr. Edidin will lead the Company’s efforts to leverage its product development expertise, industry leading content and already comprehensive iGaming capabilities to capitalize on the emerging industry’s significant potential growth opportunities by supporting casinos’ participation in these new distribution channels. In addition, reflecting the Company’s commitment to operational excellence and continued growth in its core gaming product sales and gaming operations businesses, WMS has promoted Kenneth Lochiatto to President and Chief Operating Officer of WMS Gaming. Under Mr. Edidin’s leadership, Williams Interactive will integrate under a unified organizational structure the Company’s already extensive array of interactive gaming operations and development initiatives in the rapidly growing online wagering, social, casual, and mobile gaming distribution channels. Williams Interactive is expected to facilitate the continued expansion, evolution and extension of WMS’ interactive businesses. These operations currently include:
- The successful and award-winning UK-based JackpotParty.com B2C online casino and the development and operation of its B2B managed online casino site in Belgium in collaboration with Groupe Partouche.
- Jadestone Group, a leading developer, publisher and distributor of online gaming content with particular expertise in multiplayer, skill-based gaming and experience in integrating their game servers with customers’ online gaming platforms, which will facilitate broader distribution of our entire content library online as they presently serve a wide range of high-profile online gaming customers primarily in Europe.
- The award-winning, cloud-based Player’s Life® Web Services that links casino-based entertainment with non-wagering entertainment features at home or on mobile devices, which now has over 1 million unique registered accounts.
- The Company’s social gaming pursuits, including the Lucky Cruise™ social casino on Facebook.
- Phantom EFX, a leading developer and publisher of play-for-fun gaming entertainment for the social, casual and mobile channels that has significantly expanded our capabilities across these distribution channels; and,
- The recently announced strategic alliance with Dragonfish, the independent B2B division of 888 Holdings, to pursue U.S. online poker initiatives, including both play-for-fun and real money applications when legally permitted, as well as other online casino applications and opportunities.
“Across the gaming industry, casino operators are looking for assistance in preparing for the ongoing convergence between their land-based casino gaming and the various new iGaming options,” Gamache added. “With our already advanced existing capabilities, which benefit from our core competencies in developing player-appealing gaming content, we believe WMS is favorably positioned to help our customers benefit through the development of customized gaming experiences that will engage their existing patrons, attract new players and help them grow their businesses.“We have an impressive, established base of talented people in our existing operations, as well as in these new businesses, and we expect the establishment of Williams Interactive to build additional momentum in these new distribution channels. Having strengthened our organization, realigned our product development and our operational efforts to address customers’ current needs and their players’ current behaviors, we’ve rebuilt momentum over the past year and we are in an excellent position strategically, operationally and financially to expand our iGaming efforts while building on our core business focus and strengths.” Williams Interactive will be headquartered at the Company’s technology campus in Chicago and structured to strengthen its various interactive businesses, including its online managed services whereby WMS provides a full private-label online casino solution to look like the customer’s web site and its online game server operations whereby WMS’ servers and game content will interoperate with third-party online casino platforms, as well as WMS’ social, casual and mobile gaming operations. Reporting to Mr. Edidin at Williams Interactive will be Jordan Levin, Vice President and COO; Kent Hansen, Vice President and CFO; and Aaron Schurman, head of Phantom EFX, WMS’ recently acquired social, casual, and mobile gaming business. In addition to these individuals, significant management and development talent have been assembled through a combination of internal WMS individuals and members of the Phantom EFX and Jadestone teams. Mr. Edidin retains his position of president of the parent company, WMS Industries, which he has held since 2008.
Mr. Edidin said, “A global migration toward content convergence and multi-channel distribution is rapidly underway. Having anticipated the convergence of land-based casino gaming with online, social, casual and mobile gaming, we set out several years ago to prepare WMS to benefit from these exciting new opportunities. We have developed and acquired the appropriate experience and skills needed to help our customers prepare for the convergence in their businesses with a broad set of value-added solutions, products and managed services.”Edidin added, “Creating a single organization to unify the Company’s efforts in online wagering and interactive gaming distribution channels, while drawing upon our extensive existing library of great gaming content, will better enable WMS to participate in the many high-margin opportunities this content convergence offers. Williams Interactive enables us to efficiently integrate our Atlanta-based online development resources, India-based systems and software capabilities, Chicago-based online development studio and engineering staff, our UK-based operational center, our Sweden-based online development and operations center and our Iowa-based Phantom EFX development team for social, casual and mobile gaming entertainment.” Reflecting the Company’s commitment to excellence and continued growth in its core business, WMS promoted Kenneth Lochiatto to President and COO of WMS Gaming. “Since joining WMS in February 2006 as Senior Vice President of Sales Operations, Ken has played a leading role in strengthening our processes to be more customer-centric, while also improving our revenues, operating margin and market share,” said Gamache. “His contributions and leadership have been instrumental in driving our long-term growth. In addition to his strong sales and operating background, Ken also possesses a diverse range of management experience gained from a 22-year career in commercial operations at General Electric, including responsibilities in engineering, finance, marketing and manufacturing.” Mr. Lochiatto retains his position as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of WMS Industries.
Gamache said, “By aligning responsibility for all of our customer touch points and product development under Ken, we expect to enhance collaboration between our development process, focus on player research and game performance, enhanced customer feedback and input, and an end-to-end integrated supply chain, allowing us to further improve our capabilities to satisfy customers’ needs, strengthen our competitive positioning and enhance our long-term growth and profitability.”Gamache concluded, “Our customers are seeking a partner that can help them respond to consumer demand for the best and most engaging content across multiple mediums by delivering a proven and integrated strategic approach to gaming in the online, social, casual and mobile world. With our documented history of innovation, proven player-appealing gaming content and record for responsible gaming compliance in legalized and regulated markets, our customers know they can count on WMS to help them stay connected to their players, wherever and however players find it most convenient to seek gaming entertainment today and in the future.” About WMS WMS serves the gaming industry worldwide by designing, manufacturing and marketing games, video and mechanical reel-spinning gaming machines, video lottery terminals and in gaming operations, which places leased participation gaming machines in legal gaming venues. The Company’s iGaming business develops and markets digital content, products, services and end-to-end solutions that address global online wagering and interactive social, casual and mobile gaming opportunities. WMS is proactively addressing the next stage of casino gaming floor evolution with its WAGE-NET ® networked gaming solution, a suite of systems technologies and applications designed to increase customers’ revenue generating capabilities and operational efficiency. More information on WMS can be found at www.wms.com or visit the Company on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning our future business performance, strategy, outlook, plans, products and liquidity. Forward-looking statements may be typically identified by such words as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “likely,” “believe,” “estimate,” “project,” and “intend,” among others. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in the forward-looking statements. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, any or all of our forward-looking statements may prove to be incorrect. Consequently, no forward-looking statements may be guaranteed. Factors which could cause our actual results to differ from expectations include (1) delay or refusal by regulators to approve our new gaming platforms, cabinet designs, game themes and related hardware and software; (2) changes in regulations or regulatory interpretations that may adversely affect existing product placements or future placements; (3) an inability to introduce in a timely manner new games and gaming machines that achieve and maintain market acceptance; (4) a decrease in the desire of casino customers to upgrade gaming machines or allot floor space to leased or participation games, resulting in reduced demand for our products; (5) a reduction in capital spending or interruption in payments by casino customers associated with business weakness or economic uncertainty that adversely affects our customers' ability to make purchases or pay; (6) a greater-than-expected demand for operating leases by customers over outright product sales or sales financing leases that shift revenue recognition from a single period to the term of such operating leases; (7) future costs relating to our planned restructuring and other charges that may be higher than currently estimated, including additional charges related to actions at a later time not presently contemplated; (8) ability to realize in full, or part, the anticipated savings and expense reductions from restructuring and lower staffing; (9) adverse affects on product development, innovation and the ability to retain and attract key personnel following the restructuring and reorganization actions; (10) a reduction in play levels of our participation games by casino patrons, whether due to economic conditions or increased placements of competitive product; (11) inability of suppliers of key components to timely meet our requirements to fulfill customer orders; (12) increased pricing or promotional competitive activity that adversely affects our average selling price or product revenues; (13) a failure to obtain and maintain our gaming licenses and regulatory approvals; (14) failure of customers or players to adapt to the new technologies that we introduce in new product concepts; (15) a software anomaly or fraudulent manipulation of our gaming machines and software; (16) a failure to obtain the right to use or an inability to adapt to rapid development of new technologies; (17) an infringement claim seeking to restrict our use of material technologies; (18) risks of doing business in international markets, including political and economic instability, terrorist activity and foreign currency fluctuations; and (19) the unfavorable outcome of any legal proceedings in which we may be involved from time to time. These factors and other factors that could cause actual results to differ from expectations are more fully described under “Item 1. Business”, “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and “Legal Proceedings” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2011, and our more recent reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.