Doubling Down South
by James J. Hodl
April 27, 2010
A pelican in Biloxi, Miss.
BingoWorld takes up residence at the 2010
Southern Gaming Summit — and that means more exciting new products and
technologies are coming to North American gaming’s largest and most anticipated
regional trade show.
The 17th annual Southern Gaming Summit is going to be the busiest and most exciting yet. This year’s show, coming May 5-6 to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center in Biloxi, will be joined by the bingo industry’s largest trade show, BingoWorld Conference and Expo, which is relocating from Las Vegas to be closer to one of its biggest regional markets.
Produced by the Mississippi Casino Operators Association and BNP Media Gaming Group — publishers of Casino Journal and Slot Manager — Southern Gaming Summit will provide two full days of cutting-edge seminars exploring the brightest ideas, the latest technologies and the most pressing economic, political, regulatory and legal issues confronting the industry in these challenging times.
Bingo World likewise will bring together experts from across the sector to discuss the latest marketing and promotional tools and the newest technologies and to offer ideas for growing bingo operations of all sizes and types. As always, there will be Bingo University, offering hands-on tips on how to better run your business.
And when it comes to networking, information-sharing, greeting old friends and colleagues and making new ones, the backdrop of the South’s fine food and legendary hospitality puts SGS in a league of its own.
So grab your briefcase (and maybe a serviette) and head down to Biloxi. But, first, here’s a taste of what you’ll find on this year’s expanded exhibit floor.
Action Packed Gaming: ATTENTION PLEASE
Table games are always on the move, so why should the signs announcing the game rules and wagering limits remain constant? Action Packed Gaming provides the answer with its K-Series Digital Display Table Limit Signs.
The K-Series digitally displays both critical game information and marketing and promotional messages for card games and craps. They feature vibrant, attention-grabbing colors. They can be changed by remote control from the pit. And players will like the “Drinks Please” illuminated indicator which can be posted at their table position to alert wait staff.
Other Action products include card shoes, chip racks, chip separators, cup holders, money paddles and slot toppers.
Aristocrat Technologies: OFF AND RUNNING
Taking center stage at Aristocrat’s booth is its newest RFX stepper game Kentucky Derby.
Launching just five days before Southern Gaming Summit to coincide with the running of the Kentucky Derby, this game is the world’s first slot themed after the famous thoroughbred race (the product of a licensing agreement between Aristocrat Technologies and Churchill Downs).
The five-reel game comes in a choice of two unique base games — Oaks Day and Run for the Roses — and features a four-level interactive jackpot with a Hyperlink trigger.
Also new this year is Hit The Heights, with a rocket-style theme and two video wheel bonuses, one unique to the game and a second “Hit The Heights” bonus common to all games.
A new GEN7 progressive participation game also is being introduced — Beijing Bonanza, the first title available in Aristocrat’s new “Community Gaming” space. The base game is the popular Lucky 88. Players in the community game become eligible for a tournament feature when playing a five-credit ante bet.
Aristocrat also will unveil the Viridian Widescreen cabinet, with larger screens, easier accessibility and improved ergonomics. The high-resolution monitor measures 22 inches and is housed in a slim-line chop-top cabinet. Improved ambient lighting creates a more welcoming environment. A simplified universal interface provides easier bet options. While the reduced belly area provides more room for players to relax and enjoy their game.
Operators will appreciate the relocated speakers that give the cabinet a great new look. Players will love the upgraded, life-like sound.
Aruze Gaming: ROCKIN' THE SLOT FLOOR
Capitalizing on the momentum Aruze Gaming steadily built in 2009, the company is making its first appearance at SGS with an array of game titles that combine proven mathematics, a robust platform and a highly entertaining player experience.
Key among these is Rock You Queen, a licensed slot themed around the legendary rock band and featuring videos, music clips and Aruze’s most ambitious graphics and animations package to date. The game has multiple bonuses from free spins with added multipliers and a second-screen “bicycle race” (cue the song of the same name) which occur frequently to keep players entertained.
Aruze also is showing its multi-terminal G-Station machine game Shoot the Craps, which gives everyone playing the opportunity to be the shooter in a new way to play the traditional dice games.
G-Series games on display will include Giant Panda, The Last Emperor, San Guo Shi Dai and Showgirl — all featuring exciting bonus play, high-energy graphics and intricate game mathematics.
G-Link products will include “Jackpot Battle Royal,” which features a competitive tournament-style bonus event where players race to win three mystery prizes.
Bally Technologies: GOING FOR A SPIN
Bally Technologies is coming to SGS with a collection of groundbreaking new products highlighted by the sleek, technologically advanced Pro Series Slant platform.
The Pro Series takes slot play to a new level of comfort and engagement. The video display and arm rests are slanted at the ideal angles for optimal ease, enhancing time on device. A 26-inch display eliminates traditional top glass and is perfect for progressive and other top-box features.
Designed to make full use of the Pro Series’ enhancements, Bally’s new SpinNation series of wheel games features a mystery or symbol-triggered spinning-wheel bonus top box which adds an extra level of play and excitement.
The SpinNation portfolio includes:
Cash Spin on Bally’s advanced Alpha Elite V32 platform, featuring a spinning wheel on the top two-thirds of the video display above the mechanical reels. In the bonus round, the player actually “spins” the virtual wheel on the touch-enabled screen.
This innovative U-Spin technology, as it’s called, is the foundation for another new title, Vegas Hits, which features two digital spinning wheels stacked one on top of the other for uniquely dramatic and eye-catching appearance. When the bonus is in effect, players touch the U-Spin display and actually move the lower of the two wheels backwards, forwards and slower or faster.
Cummins-Allison: CUTTING CURRENCY COSTS
Cummins-Allison is coming to Biloxi with three new solutions that enable casinos to quickly, accurately and economically handle currency and tickets.
The MPS 4100 series currency and slot ticket sorters have the power to image slot tickets and retain these images in a data base for up to five years, depending on the requirements of the local jurisdiction. Eliminating the costs and labor associated with storing physical tickets, this electronic storage system enables quick and easy recall, with tickets exported to a casino’s network and organized by batch and day.
The JetScan iFX also has imaging ability, and it allows the internal tracking of money from individual slot machines and gaming tables to be performed on a desktop currency scanner. The serial number of every note is captured and recorded while currency is sorted and counted at the rate of 1,200 bills per minute. The serial numbers can be stored and managed in a data base, allowing each note to be traced to its source, if necessary.
The JetSafe Employee Bank system is a complete cash-handling solution. It lets staff from multiple POS stations quickly and securely make bank deposits. It counts and validates currency, deposits the cash into a secure vault and furnishes reports and audit trails. It can also be connected to any of Cummins’ coin-processing units, allowing coins to also be counted and securely deposited.
Gary Platt Manufacturing: BOTTOMS UP
Several new ways to provide style and comfort to a casino floor will be unveiled by Gary Platt Manufacturing.
The highlight will be the Ohio X-Tended Play chair, part of Platt’s signature seating line. The Ohio is designed to maximize time spent on slot machines through features that include molded high-density foam seats, ergonomic lumbar support, waterfall seat design and steel-spring back support.
Also to debut are the custom Vue and Revel chair lines, developed to provide an edgy yet sleek look to any casino floor.
Platt also will display the Mega FX, an “interactive” slot chair with motion and surround sound features that enable occupants to feel the action of the “immersion” games that are growing in popularity.
International Game Technology: THE NEXT PROGRESSION
IGT is bringing to the South an array of new MegaJackpots games with something for every slot floor and every player.
Topping the list is the revolutionary MegaJackpots Center Stage Series, housed on an advanced platform that provides unlimited options for downloadable content. The first game available in the series is Wheel of Fortune Experience Slots, which features 3-D base game graphics and a puzzle-solving bonus. Wheel of Fortune Triple Spin Video Slots and American Idol Video Slots, both coming soon, also will be on display.
IGT also will be showing a new single-play version of Sex and the City, a line of new Amazing Race Multi-Level Progressives, which take group play to the next level with the industry’s first and only “co-op bonus”.
And not to be missed at this year’s show — an Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland MultiPLAY Video Slot designed with IGT’s hot new Progression Play technology that allows players to accumulate credits, awards or levels of play on an ongoing basis.
There will be more IGT DynamiX 3-D, MLD and AVP slots on display, more multi-game capabilities, more play options — among them the Cougarlicious Video Slot and the new REEL Edge Blood Life Slots, the first Pachisuro-style reel-spinner to receive regulatory approval in North America — and more Reel MultiPLAY slots featuring MultiPLAY on spinning reels with configurable lines, designed to appeal both to players who prefer traditional reels and players comfortable betting on more than one game at a time.
JCM Global/Transnet: SECURITY SOLUTIONS
JCM is coming to this year’s SGS with an array of exceptionally secure solutions for both casinos and bingo operations.
Among the highlights — the innovative Intelligent Cash Box, which directly links cash boxes to assets to provide accurate and detailed reports on current transactions while eliminating the potential for human error in an number of key areas; the iVIZION bill validator, powered by Contact Image Sensor technology with two high-speed processors that quickly scan 75 times more points on a bank note with an acceptance rate better than 99 percent; and the robust Universal Bill Acceptor, which uses overt and covert sensing technology to validate international currencies up to 85 mm in width, backwards and forwards, and even reads bar codes.
Also on the display will be the popular Vega, a lower-cost validation option perfect for AWP and similar applications that delivers a lockable, removable cash box, supports multiple interface protocols, has an optional programmable bill recycler and can be conveniently upgraded as required with USB-downloadable software.
Micros Systems: HOSPITALITY HELP
Helping casinos to better serve the non-gaming desires of their guests is the business of Micros Systems.
The company will be showing its Micros Keyboard Workstation 270, a next-generation POS terminal that can be used with both indoor and outdoor concessions. Features include a 5.7-inch color QVGA display, rugged keyboard, spill-proof work case and an integrated magnetic card reader. The Workstation 270 occupies a small footprint, runs 10 hours on a single battery charge and can function in a wide range of temperatures.
Also on exhibit will be the Micros 9700 Hospitality Management System, which provides a single POS solution for all aspects of casino hospitality operations. There are modules to handle restaurant reservations and table assignments, maintain guest profiles and preferences, manage food and beverage inventories, send orders to vendors via the Web, even plan and manage catered events. With the 9700, all POS transactions link to back-office functions, which enables instant reporting, auditing and analysis for determining the efficiency and profitability of hospitality operations day to day, week to week and month-long.
Micros also will show its JTECH paging systems and hospitality software designed to improve productivity and guest service. Systems include ServAlert, which improves communications between chefs and wait staffers, GuestAlert for managing customer flow in casual dining environments, HostAlert for coordinating restaurant operations to maximize guest flow, and two guest-alert devices, GuestPass and ValetAlert.
Video Gaming Technologies: CLASS II CLASS
Taking aim at the Class II market, VGT will be showing several new five-reel video games combining superior graphics and audio with intricate game play and profitable pay tables.
Titles include Cameloot, a King Arthur-themed five-reel, nine-line, 48-max-bet game that features VGT’s unique “Red Screen” three-reel free-spin feature and two bonus games: Juggles the Jester and The Wizard’s Wheel. The Wild West-themed Silver Dollar Shootout (five reels, 20 lines, 200-credit max bet) triggers bonus play when you see 10 on-screen coins or three sticks of dynamite. Hunt For Neptune’s Gold (five reels, 20 lines, 200-credit max bet) pays bonuses for collecting jewels and finding a treasure chest in a maze, the appearance of sharks being good luck as they devour symbols to reveal bonus wins. All feature Newton the Nudger, a credit-dispensing gremlin who randomly appears to change a losing spin into a winner.
Also on view will be VGT’s new Mystery Jackpot Progressives along with all its Legacy games, which include Red Hot Ruby, Mr. Moneybags and Lucky Ducky.
WMS Gaming: PUNCH, PLINKO and MORE
WMS is highlighting its groundbreaking line of Community Gaming titles at this year’s SGS.
The newest in the series include two games based on “The Price Is Right” TV game show — Plinko and Punch a Bunch. Both are Transmissive Reels games that play WMS’ advanced Bluebird2 platform. Plinko features a bonus game in which players get to choose from one to three prize boxes containing up to five “Plinko chips” they drop into a pegged game board. Where the chips land in bottom bins determines the credit values awarded. In Punch a Bunch, players advancing to the “Bonus Pick” can win up to five “punches” on a 30-spot grid that delivers both cash prizes and chances to multiply, add or subtract from bonus winnings. Both games feature matching symbol wilds, a “Grand Game” prize box selection feature, free bonus spins and a ‘Showcase Showdown” progressive bonus jackpot.
Monopoly: Bigger Event 2.0 will be another crowd-pleaser at the show. Available on the Bluebird and Bluebird2 platforms and fitted with high-definition dual 52-inch screens, Bigger Event has all the features of Monopoly Big Event plus bonus rounds tied to the game’s “Electric Company, Water Works” and “Railroad” spaces and a random bonus the plays on the top screen.
The company also is showing a follow-up to the original Oz game — Wizard of Oz: Ruby Slippers, a Bluebird2 game that employs WMS’ advanced Sensory Immersion technology. Ruby Slippers features three bonus opportunities with bigger payouts depending on which of the film’s characters trigger them. And each character adds something to each bonus round.
Other popular titles on display will be I Love Lucy in the Win It Again series with Cascading Reels, Samurai Master from the Super Multi-Play series on the wide-screen Bluebird 2, and in the Adaptive Gaming series, Lord of the Rings, with “Power Spins,” random wilds and eight unlockable bonuses.
James J. Hodl
is a Chicago-based freelance writer covering the gaming industry. He can be contacted at +1 773 777 5710; or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.