The company’s latest shuffler, i-Deal, was released in the fall of 2007 to replace 1999’s ACE shuffler. Unfortunately, placements thus far have been minimal. As a response, presumably, SHFL notified its customers that it would no longer service the ACE shuffler, thus attempting to force casinos into buying or leasing the i-Deal. This begs at least two questions: Did SHFL hurt customer relations with this stuff job and do casinos really need the i-Deal? Considering the low volume of placements to date the answer to the second question may be no. We did, however, get positive feedback on the i-Deal from one table game manager although his casino had not yet purchased the product.
SHFL has sold a lot of product over the past two years. Despite the talk, the numbers show the company hasn’t fully re-embraced the lease model. Without a pipeline of new PTGs, replacement demand in the entertainment segment looks limited. Thus far, on the utility side, the i-Deal has not been the replacement driver the company expected. That fateful decision over 2 years ago to adopt a partial for-sale model continues to haunt SHFL. The recurring revenues from a pure lease model would’ve smoothed out this new product trough.