IGT bills itself as the "leading company specializing in design, development, manufacturing, distribution, and sales of computerized gaming equipment." "Si" Redd, the company founder, came from humble roots.
According to Si, his father was a part-time farmer who loved to preach the gospel. With no church and no congregation, Si's father, Marvin, carried a bible and set to preaching on street corners. Sometimes the crops on the family farm suffered but Marvin didn't care, he was busy saving souls.
Si sold newspapers across a swath of farmland in rural Mississippi and carefully saved what he didn't contribute to the family budget. Eventually he had enough to buy an old beat-up pinball machine and then a rundown jukebox. A born salesman, Si convinced a local rib joint owner to keep his machines at the restaurant for a cut of the profits.
Soon dozens of diners and roadhouses in the area had one of Si's coin-op machines and he grew his business into a multi-state operation that supported him well.Bally Franchise
In the early 1960's Si sold his business and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada to retire, but it didn't take. When he heard that Dick Graves, owner of the Sparks Nugget casino, was selling his Bally Slot machine franchise up in Reno, "Si" flew up to meet him. They arrived at a $70,000 purchase price and Si was part of the Nevada gaming industry.
His Bally franchise became known as Bally Distributing, and as the slot machines moved from single-pay mechanical devices to electo-mechanical and then computer driven machines, Si was at the forefront of new designs. And, he took great interest in two new manufacturers entering the slot market with video machines.
Seeing the coming change in the industry, Si sold his Nevada Distributing Company to Bally Manufacturing, but paid $1.5 million to Bally so he could keep the rights to the electronic games, including video slots. He then purchased Nutting Enterprises, a pioneer video game manufacturer and launched his new company, A-1 Supply. It immediately acquired Fortune Coin and the state's largest slot route with 4,800 units.Sircoma and IGT
With manufacturing facilities in Reno and Las Vegas, the company changed its name to SIRCOMA (Si Redd COin MAchines). Two years later, the company went public under the name IGT (International Game Technology). With a monopoly on video draw poker machines, the company sold hugely profitable machines for over $12,000 per unit.
When Bally tried to introduce their own video poker machines, IGT sued and collected damages of $2.5 million. It would be another six months before Bally was able to reintroduce their own poker machines. By 1982, video poker machines represented 10-percent of all slot machines in Nevada. That percentage has since grown much higher.