Trying to avoid the debt orgy that typifies gaming properties? Want to participate in the gaming explosion around the world? Take a look at Gaming Partners (NASDAQ:GPIC) -- which supplies chips, dice, playing cards, tables, and other gaming accessories to casinos.

These products sound low-tech, but, in today's world, security is not just at the airport. Gaming Partners is adding microchips to chips, dice, and playing cards to prevent counterfeiting and cheating. Casinos benefit in other ways, too. There is no need for manual counting. Chips can be automatically counted in a pile, stack, or tray.

When people hear of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, they think of Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and its pilot product-tracking projects. Gaming Partners already sells gaming chips with RFID technology built in. Anyone thinking of copying a casino's chips and sneaking them onto a table had better think again. Big Brother is watching -- and Gaming Partners is supplying the product.

The company's third-quarter results were upbeat. Revenue increased 30%, and, while there was a modest $101,000 loss, the company is still showing a $0.18-per-share profit for the first nine months.

Gaming Partners sells for three times sales and, with only 7.6 million shares outstanding, carries a modest $135 million capitalization (and more cash than debt). For comparison, International Game Technology (NYSE:IGT) may gush free cash flow, but it sells for five times sales and has slightly more debt than cash and a $12.3 billion capitalization. Shuffle Master (NASDAQ:SHFL) may be the darling of Wall Street, but it sells for 13 times sales and has substantially more debt than cash. Neither, by the way, is a competitor of Gaming Partners.

Gaming companies are buried in debt. New gaming companies such as Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) will have well over a billion dollars in debt before seeing their first dollar of revenue. MGM Mirage's (NYSE:MGG) net debt exceeds its annual revenue by $1 billion -- and that's before it borrows to take on Mandalay Resorts' (NYSE:MBG) considerable debt.

Gaming Partners has all the characteristics of a budding Hidden Gem. Seventy percent of the stock is owned by insiders or people with more than 5% ownership. The company has a patent-protected technology that is being sold to a growth market. Finances are solid, and the company is followed by one analyst who sees 2005 profits almost doubling to $0.65 a share (27 times forward earnings).

Add it up -- automatically. Gaming Partners is a small but established company with unique technology that should see rapid growth in the coming years.

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Fool contributor W.D. Crotty does not own stock in any of the companies mentioned -- but he does have a casino chip in a drawer somewhere.