LAS VEGAS-Gaming Partners International Corp. finished the year with earnings in the positive column and hopes of an uptick in casino gambling, the company reported in recent public filings. The maker of casino chips, table gaming equipment and other products related to the gaming industry, said in its annual report that it believes 2010 will “get off to a strong start,” but cautioned that, “due to the uncertainty in the gaming industry, we are unable to anticipate with reasonable certainty what our revenue or income prospects will be for 2010.”

Gaming Partners is looking at opportunities in other markets besides Las Vegas, particularly Pennsylvania and Delaware, because of prospective expansions of the gaming industry there. “Several jurisdictions in the US have recently legalized table games,” the company notes in its filings. “Of particular interest is the state of Pennsylvania, which has issued licenses for table games which are expected to begin operations by the third quarter of 2010. Delaware also recently authorized table games for its three licensees, which are also expected to begin table game operations starting in the third quarter of 2010.”

Gaming Partners could be considered something of a bellwether for the industry and the economy, as it is tied to the fortunes of the industry. As it explained in one of its SEC filings, “In the US, the general slow-down in the economy and in the gaming industry has negatively impacted our casino customers and therefore our sales.” In addition, casinos are working to reduce their costs, including slowing down the typical replacement cycle on products such as cards, layouts and dice that Gaming Partners sells. “In addition, financial strains on casino owners have reduced the near-term likelihood of new casino openings, the expansion of existing casinos, and large replacement orders, upon which our casino chip sales are heavily dependent,” Gaming Partners states.

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