Can International Game Technology Be 2013's Big Winner?


As 2013 begins, now's a good time to look at the future prospects for the stocks you own. If you don't know where a company's headed in the next year and beyond, then it's impossible to make an informed decision about whether you should add the stock to your portfolio -- or sell it if you already own it.

Today, I'll look at International Game Technology (NYS: IGT) . The gaming equipment and lottery terminal maker crapped out in 2012, but it has plenty of potential to rebound if the long-sluggish gaming industry starts to perk up. Below, you'll learn more about International Game Technology's prospects for 2013.

Stats on International Game Technology

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Source: Yahoo Finance.

Will International Game Technology hit the jackpot in 2013?
Analysts expect good things from International Game Technology this year, with a target price that is 15% higher than current share-price levels. Longer term, though, they see limits to IGT's growth, as both earnings and revenue gains are projected to slow dramatically in fiscal 2014, which begins this October.

The new frontier for IGT's growth opportunities is online gaming. With it and rival Bally Technologies (NYS: BYI) having gotten approval in 2012 for Nevada online gaming licenses, the first issued in the U.S., the companies hope to offer games online in the near future. For now, those licenses only allow the companies to provide services and equipment to casino operators rather than operate games themselves. But as MGM Resorts (NYS: MGM) and Caesars Entertainment (NAS: CZR) seek to obtain licenses of their own, demand for IGT's services should climb as the regulatory process gets further down the road.

The big question, though, is whether IGT has already missed the online boat. Online poker has suffered a huge drop in popularity, with many smaller operators closing up shop as network effects have boosted PokerStars' market share above 40%. Several poker companies have posted large drops in revenue. In order to achieve success, casino operators will have to use traditional table games online to enhance overall gaming revenue.

The wild card in the IGT discussion is Zynga (NAS: ZNGA) , which clearly wants to benefit from real-money online gaming. If Zynga tries to build a solution on its own, then it could pose a competitive threat to IGT. On the other hand, a partnership with Zynga to promote online games could be a win-win for both IGT and Zynga.

Despite those concerns, IGT has a huge opportunity ahead of it. If the company can capitalize fully, then it could be a game changer for IGT shareholders in 2013 and beyond.

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Originally published