The year 2012 is nearing its end, and now's a good opportunity to look at what happened throughout the year to the stocks you follow. If you know the important things that a company achieved, as well as any challenges it failed to overcome, then you can make a better decision about whether it really deserves a spot in your portfolio.

Today, I'll look at International Game Technology (NYSE:IGT). The company is certainly involved in some big jackpots, thanks to its production of casino gaming equipment and lottery terminals. But shareholders weren't winners in 2012 as the company's stock struggled. Below, you'll find more to explain what happened with shares of International Game Technology this year.

Stats on International Game Technology


Year-to-date stock return


Market cap

$3.65 billion

Revenue, past 12 months

$2.15 billion

Net income, past 12 months

$246 million

1-year revenue growth


1-year net income growth


Dividend yield


CAPS rating


Source: S&P Capital IQ.

Why did International Game Technology crap out in 2012?
Like many gaming-related stocks, the slowdown in China really hurt International Game Technology this year. For instance, in its fiscal third quarter, its earnings dropped despite posting revenue gains, as fears about Macau caused a big sell-off after the news. Given the company's reliance on MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) and other big casino companies to place its slot machines and other gaming equipment, it needs consistent growth to keep revenue coming in.

But one big event that has big ramifications for International Game Technology's future came from its winning an online gaming license in the state of Nevada. Despite the fact that Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) has spoken out against online poker and could choose not to participate online, most of its gaming peers would love to see Nevada's move spread to offer legalized national gaming. In addition, socially-savvy Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) has indicated that it would benefit greatly from a move toward real-money gaming in its offerings.

Still, International Game Technology has faced fierce competition and will continue to do so. Rival Bally Technologies (NYSE: BYI) also received a Nevada online license, so the former won't have the field to itself. More importantly, with consumers feeling the pinch of a slow recovery, reduced casino spending could crimp growth prospects.

International Game Technology is reasonably priced and pays a respectable dividend. But the stock isn't a sure bet even after its 2012 decline.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.