Aristocrat says there are no slots in Russia as mobile games are on hiatus
The Aristocrat brand clarified to GGRAsia that it has not supplied electronic game machines to the Russian land market “for many years” and has no “gaming business” there. But the company said it had suspended mobile games in that market because “operating in Russia is currently not viable”.
Natalie Toohey, general affairs manager of Aristocrat Leisure Ltd, told GGRAsia in an email on Wednesday that the company had ceased operations in Russia even before a new generation of casinos opened there.
These included casino resorts in the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone near Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East – the first of which was the Crystal Tiger resort backed by Hong Kong-listed Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd.
Ms Toohey said: “We have never specifically sold any products in the casinos you mention; we left Russia before these areas were regulated.
She added: “We don’t have any game company staff and no game company of any kind in the Russian market.”
Within the Aristocrat Group, the gaming division concerns land-based casinos and supporting products.
Earlier Wednesday, in a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange, the company provided an update regarding its operations in the region, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Aristocrat Leisure said: “Unfortunately operating in Russia is not currently viable and Aristocrat confirms that they will be suspending the operation of our mobile games in Russia.”
The group added: “Russia has historically contributed around 3% of Pixel United’s total annualized bookings.”
Pixel United, formerly known as Aristocrat Digital, is the umbrella for the group’s social gaming brands, Product Madness, Plarium and Big Fish Games.
Aristocrat said in its stock announcement that around 1,000 people normally work for business units within Pixel United, Ukraine.
“To date, Aristocrat has helped more than two-thirds of our Ukraine-based employees and their families voluntarily relocate, either overseas or to safer locations within the country,” the company said.
“The well-being and safety of our employees remains our top priority and Aristocrat’s Pixel United team continues to lead a comprehensive response,” the announcement said. He added that the relocated staff were working remotely, “supported by existing Pixel United studios across Europe”.
Aristocrat said, “A new office will open shortly in Wroclaw, Poland, adding to our existing operations in Poland and supporting the acquisition of new talent over time.
The statement further clarified, “With respect to our Russia-based employees, we are exploring our strategic options and will continue to do what we can to support them.”
Aristocrat said it does not expect “a significant impact on earnings” as a result of the military crisis. “We will continue to closely monitor the impacts given the fluid situation and will provide an update on Aristocrat’s half-year financial results in May,” the group added.