Australian Slotmaker Aristocrat Leisure Plans Las Vegas Headquarters to Service Growing US Customer Base

Posted on: June 26, 2017, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: December 14, 2018, 11:37h.

After 64 years in Australia, the country of its origin, Aristocrat Leisure is moving its epicenter to the heart of the gaming universe: Las Vegas. Well, Summerlin, to be specific.

Aristocrat Leisure Summerlin headquarters
Aristocrat Leisure is setting down stakes in Las Vegas to better manage its expanding US business opportunities.(Image: Aristocrat Leisure)

Hoping to feel the heartbeat of what now comprises 65 percent of its business, the game manufacturer and slot machine maker broke ground on its new 180,000-square-foot facility in the upscale suburban city late last week.

Trevor Croker took over as CEO earlier this year, and soon after, announced he would be moving his family to Las Vegas to run the company from the US. With his homeland of Australia now accounting for just 20 percent of Aristocrat’s business, the move just made sense.

“We have a wonderful core business, and the key is not to take the eye off the ball there,” Croker explained in February. “But it is about leveraging what we have… North America is a big focus and digital focus.”

The Millenial Challenge

Croker will have his work cut out for him. While many Las Vegas casinos are currently fixated on how to attract the Millennial generation, it’s been a challenging conundrum to solve. “Skill-based gaming” has become the buzzword to do the job, and Aristocrat is investing heavily to develop offerings that will be aimed at bringing in the 20 and 30-somethings, but that could prove to be more problematic than originally anticipated.

In Atlantic City earlier this month, competitor GameCo saw its ‘Danger Arena’ slot banks removed in their entirety after they proved to be a dud in the moneymaker department. That was but one of more than 21 such skill-based games that failed to meet their marks and were taken off the casino floors at New Jersey’s Caesars, Harrah’s, and Bally’s Atlantic City properties.

Caesars Senior Vice President of Gaming Enterprise Melissa Price blamed the debacle on millennials not being able to find the newer games “in a sea of 1,500 slots.”

Hopefully, Aristocrat can conquer the issue with better results. Founded in Sydney in 1953, today the company is licensed in 240 jurisdictions in 90 countries, and has a total global employee base of 3,000, making it one of the world’s most prolific slot machine manufacturers.

Stripping Away Location

Aristocrat initially rejected the idea of locating its US epicenter in Summerlin, due to its suburban, way-off-Strip setting.

An affluent community that grew out from the original holdings of iconic eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, His heirs decided to transform the 25,000 acres into an unincorporated town in the late 1970s, and renamed it after Hugh’s grandmother, Jean Amelia Summerlin.

Being away from the immediacy of the Strip didn’t initially gel for Aristocrat. But according to Matt Wilson, the company’s managing director, the amenities surrounding the 100-acre mixed-use business complex will more likely entice talented job seekers who want a more normalized environment for their off-work family lives, which include a 150-mile trail park system and two public golf courses.

Aristocrat joins several fellow casino equipment-makers already HQ’d in the Summerlin area, including fellow Aussies Ainsworth Game Technology, as well as industry leaders IGT and Scientific Games Corp.