International Gaming Expo 2010
by James J. Hodl
January 1, 2010
More New Slots, More Innovations … More of Everything
Size matters! And this year’s International Gaming Expo will be the biggest ever, with a record 302 suppliers (44 first-timers) scheduled to display everything from the latest slot machines, table games and casino management technologies to supporting products and eGaming systems.
The more than 25,000 visitors expected to descend on London’s Earls Court Exhibition Centre on January 26-28 will have to cover more ground than ever before (in excess of 120,000 square feet on two levels). But the expense of shoe leather will be worth it.
Among IGE features this year will be the Innovation Showcase, where developers will demonstrate their leading-edge products and technologies in a prime area of the exhibition floor. An extensive schedule of seminars will offer discussions on the challenges currently facing the industry and present ideas for boosting patronage and revenues. Also on the agenda is the second International Casino Conference, co-sponsored by Clarion Gaming, the show’s producer, and the European Casino Association. A great success in its 2009 debut, the conference again promises to dispense in-depth information on a broad assortment of issues from some of the industry’s leading executives and stakeholders.
But when all is sized up, the main attractions at IGE are the games and technologies.
Ainsworth Game Technology: VEGAS TIME
The key introduction from this line will be a four-level linked penny progressive, Players Paradise, with three new titles: “Vegas Fantasy, Vegas Fortune” and “Vegas Fever”. The big innovation here is that with each increased bet, extra long arrays of stacked wilds are added to boost player anticipation, and all titles trigger 10 free games with stacked symbols and frequent re-triggers.
Also to be unveiled are the new Double Hit series titles “Enchanted World, Fortune Fountain Deluxe” and “Royal Diamonds Deluxe,” all of which provide increased jackpot startup values, two-level progressives and bonus prizes with generous free-game features.
Ainsworth also is releasing Triple Shot, its first triple-level stand-alone progressive ante-bet concept. The first game in the series, “Inca Reef Triple Shot,” will offer three levels of bonus prizes and a feature that rewards free games at unpredictable moments.
Nine new titles will be unveiled in the Play 50Lines/Play 40Lines/Play 100Lines series along with the double-level $Mystery on-screen jackpot and Firestrike, a three-level mystery link progressive game.
The emphasis will be on the new electronic Poker Multi-Player, which provides a live table experience but with much faster play, and the new Multi-Game solution, which incorporates keno, bingo, roulette and Sic Bo into a single play terminal.
The Multi-Player products are designed with both players and operators in mind and are designed to deliver a player-friendly experience and top profitability.
A redesigned and enhanced R8 roulette, which has been the most successful product Alfastreet offers, and an all-new Video Black Jack and Bingo Multi-Player also will be front and center.
Alfastreet’s popular terminals support SAS protocol and can be equipped with bill and coin acceptors, ticket printers and player-tracking and cashless systems.
Aristocrat Technologies: SOMETHING NEW
Some 25 games will be making their European debut at the show. Highlights will include JAWS, a licensed Hyperlink game based on the legendary film franchise. With JAWS, Aristocrat has designed a complete experience for the player, from the “shark tooth” spin button that launches play, to the famous pulsing music, to the shark gills that cover the speakers.
Two Triple Standalone Progressives will be making their debut — Hi Octane and Hillbillions — both feature-rich games offering a three-level jackpot with prize levels shown on top-box jackpot meters.
The popular Money Train Hyperlink multi-game will be rolling into the show with the addition of four new base games, and the Viridian stand-alones will be sporting 12 new Gen7-dedicated titles spanning a range of genres, including Standalone Progressive, Reelpower, PowerPay, Xtra Reelpower and Multi Line.
As in past years the teams from Aristocrat’s European and South African offices will be supported at the stand by staff and products from ACE Interactive. They’ll be demonstrating the TruServ server-based gaming solution on both the Viridian and Indago interactive video terminal platforms.
Attendees also will get to sample a 10-seat version of PokerTek’s innovative PokerPro electronic poker table.
Atronic: PROGRESSIVE FUN
Among the new games to be shown is “Deal or No Deal Join ’N Play” available as part of the Community Bonus Series. Five integrated vertical 46-inch LCDs recreate the excitement of the popular TV game show as players collect briefcases to qualify for bonus rounds then select and swap briefcases with their fellow players in hopes of choosing the highest hidden amount.
Atronic has added a fourth title to its successful multi-bonus progressive link, “Stargate SG-1,” which offers five distinct bonuses and four progressive levels. “Teal’C” is a new five-reel game where players activate the Stargate bonus by betting max lines plus a 10-credit Bonus Bet.
Atronic’s eMillions wide-area progressive system features a nickel link on the successful e-motion platform that offers players the chance to become millionaires with the maximum bet or win 1 million credits with less than max bet.
On the systems side, Atronic will show its Crystal.net casino management floor system designed to maximize revenues and streamline casino operations. Crystal.net offers standard technology such as USB and Ethernet connectivity as well as RFID.
Atronic also will show its ecash redemption terminal, which is compatible with both with the company’s qpon cash system and other major ticketing systems.
Bally Technologies: SOLUTIONS AND MORE
Among the highlight will be the sleek new Pro Series Slant Top, which provides players with a new level of comfort and engagement. The video display and arm rests are slanted at ideal angles for optimal player comfort, and the 26-inch display eliminates traditional top glass and is perfect for progressive and other top-box features.
Another highlight will be the new SpinNation series of spinning-wheel video and mechanical-reel slots. These distinctive games feature a mystery or symbol-triggered spinning-wheel bonus top box that adds an extra level of anticipation. Among the games featured will be Hot Shot Cash Wheel and Monte Carlo Royale, featuring several different titles, and Cash Spin, fitted on the robust V32 platform and 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 wheel on the touch-enabled screen, providing a new level of player control and interaction. This “U-Spin” feature will also be available on the new dual-wheel Vegas Hits video slot.
The Alpha Elite V32 will feature an array of new game titles designed to take advantage of this nearly 6-foot-tall platform. V32 games on display will include Reel Money and the new Magic Money series, featuring three new titles: Wizard’s Wreath, Golden Scepter and Ring of Riches.
Bally will also show its new Version 11 SDS slot- and casino-management system, now available on a Microsoft Windows platform, and its MultiConnect enterprise-wide slot management system designed for multi-property organizations operating between two and 300 games per venue.
Also on hand will be the Networked Floor of the Future suite, an array of server-based solutions, along with Bally Business Intelligence, the TableView Real-Time Table Rating and Player Tracking System, and the CoolSign property-wide media-management solution.
Casino Technology: WEALTH OF OPTIONS
The PRO-series includes 25, 50 and 100-line games conceptually based on free spins combined with rounds of fast wins and other variable options that attract players and entice longer play times. The series includes the 25-line “African Magic” — a high-volatility game with a mystical adventure theme and both a wilds multiplier and an additional level of free games — and the 25-line “Gourmet De Paris,” which has all its symbols spinning as if on a separate reel, which boosts the chances of winning.
The company’s innovative 3D Powered series offers rich graphics that expand the play area and the ability of players to control the gaming environment. New titles in this series include “Princess of Speed, Born to Ride” and “Motormania,” which also has a multi-level jackpot.
The latest version of Casino Technology’s popular multi-game series Gamopolis III will be unveiled, featuring some of the company’s best performing games, including “Queen of Fruits, Blazing Dice, Aztec Gold, Girls & Diamonds” and a keno game.
All the games are available on the robust Tangra Touch slant-top and Gemini Sensa Plus cabinets. Tangra Touch is powered by the Tough Ryder hardware platform and include a third seven-inch display, sensor buttons and an enhanced sound system. The Sensa Plus, introduced last year, is slimmer than its predecessor and has dual 22-inch LCD screens and an array of features to enhance player interactivity and comfort.
IGT: THE NEXT LEVEL
The power of IGT’s AVP platform converges with sbX to provide players exclusive access to a rich library of game themes, while IGT Casinolink offers a robust portfolio of products designed to increase operational efficiencies and enhance player loyalty and excitement.
And this year the company is bundling some of its most innovative technologies (3-D games, MLD, AVP and Multi-Games) into a complete solution — IGT DynamiX.
AVP multi-games packages offer operators game flexibility with top-performing video themes, including high- and low-denom games, games with side bets and more ways to win, entertaining bonus play and 3-D excitement featuring virtual reels that spin directly out at the player, and when they stop, they shake, wobble and bounce like the real thing.
New games include “Sex and the City” Multi-Level Progressives. The first of IGT’s Premium Products line to feature the MultiPlay game interface, this spin-off of the popular TV series includes customized hardware, superior math and an array of entertaining bonuses.
The new Center Stage Series will debut with Wheel of Fortune Triple Spin Video Slots, a group-play game featuring the MultiPlay interface with three 4x4 independent reel grids plus Multi-Way game play and plenty of bonus action.
Also on display will be the Top Dollar Reel MultiPlay 3-D Slots, the first two-game Reel MultiPlay product featuring IGT’s Multi-Layer Display technology in the Premium Products lineup. The bonus is the “Take Offer/Try Again” gambling proposition, a player favorite, and the package includes highly entertaining visual and aural effects.
JCM Global: VALIDATE, VERIFY
The emphasis at IGE will be on the iVIZION bill validator, powered by Contact Image Sensor (CIS) Technology with two high-speed processors capable of scanning 75 times more points on a banknote quickly and with better than a 99 percent acceptance rate.
Also on hand will be the 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 to provide staff with the most accurate accounting possible.
Also on display will be the Sentry 2.0 smart bezel with brightly colored LED alerts to help floor personnel quickly and easily resolve issues and the Intelligent Cash Box, which is equipped with RFID technology and captures and stores each transaction, providing accounting accuracy to a central location from across the entire gaming floor.
Magic Dreams: X MARKS THE SLOTS
The X10-Xtend, as it’s called, elevates the player experience through use of high-resolution graphics, vibrant color, depth perception, high-fidelity sound and fast and fluid motion. As a result, players not only see, hear and touch the game, they also feel it.
The X10-Xtend is enabling Magic Dreams to offer more intensive versions of some of its most popular titles, including “Return of the Phoenix, Oriental Secrets” and “The Jungle,” all of which will be on display at IGE. The company also will unveil new games designed specifically to take advantage of the platform’s technological advances, and all will be linked to a new “pirate”-themed mystery progressive jackpot called Captain Cash.
Multi-Reel games to be shown include “Ultimo Tango,” a high-volatility 40-line game featuring a special “Tanguera Girl” wild symbol, and “Vikings on Ice” and “Aztec Moon”.
MEI Group: CURRENCY SECURITY
Other products will include the new GEO Gravity, a multi-width stacker-less validator designed for smaller casinos, and the Cashflow Sphinx, a countertop counterfeit detection device that bolsters a casino’s defense against fraudulent currency when used at tellers cages and on the floor.
The Cashflow 9500 also will be on display, providing electronic coin and token validation with a security algorithm that verifies coins based on size, content and weight and can be upgraded to accept new and redesigned coins.
Then there is Easitrax Soft Count, an integrated software/hardware solution that places information collected by the Cashflow SC directly into a networked data base so intake from multiple locations can be instantly analyzed on the slot floor.
Nanoptix: TICKETS TO RIDE
Designed to handle high demand with minimum maintenance problems, the PayCheck 4, which can be used with most gaming machines currently in operation, can process and print a ticket in only 2.2 seconds. Also, it is hot swappable, allowing for quick changes to the machine without having to power down the gaming device.
Other features include a jam-resistant bezel design that minimizes the need to open the gaming machine (and take it out of use) to remove jammed tickets.
Novomatic: AMAZING GAMES
In addition to the unveiling of 168 new slots games, the company will launch its innovative new NovoStar SL slant-top cabinet, which will be available in three modular versions: NovoStar SL1, with one monitor for multi-player installations, NovoStar SL2 with two monitors and NovoStar SL3 with three monitors and the ability to offer four jackpot levels through the Powerlink display. All feature the Flip Screen feature, with the SL2 and SL3 also enabling players to switch their main screen from the top to the bottom monitor. All have high-definition touch screens and rich surround sound with sub-woofer and active satellite speakers.
The company also will be unveiling the new Ultimate 10A, a comprehensive multi-game system running on the new Coolfire I+ platform that transfers popular Coolfire II gaming content to the FV623 Gaminator cabinet and features enhanced graphics and multi-denomination and multi-language options.
Novomatic also will premiere its Indigo VLT server-based video lottery solution with features that include customized multi-game offerings, online monitoring for real-time reporting of financials and game events and a comprehensive jackpot module. Games offered on Indigo VLT range from old favorites like “American Poker II” and “Lucky Lady’s Charm” to new titles like “Lost Secrets” and “Wheels of Glory”.
WMS Gaming: DYNAMIC ENTERTAINMENT
“Rome & Egypt” is a G+ 5x4 game that transports players back to ancient Roman and Egyptian times. Features include a larger reel array, the option to play 50 or 100 lines, and stacked “Caesar” and “Cleopatra” wilds. The consecutive appearance of two, three, four or five of these symbols can lead to players being awarded five, 10, 20 or 50 free spins. While in bonus play, all wins are doubled, and the free spin bonus can be re-triggered within the bonus round.
“Win It Again: All That Glitters 2” is a Cascading Reels game with a twist. When players achieve three “cascading” reels in one play they win the combined total of their last five plays
“The Wizard of Oz: Ruby Slippers” is the first Sensory Immersion offering on the Bluebird 2 cabinet. A follow-up to the original Oz game, it contains three bonus opportunities and a special “Ruby Slippers” feature. Bonus wins are enhanced depending on which of The Wizard of Oz characters triggers it; and each character adds something to each bonus round.
The game is already a big hit in the United States.
GLI Europe: Enhancing the global conversation
There is GLIAccess, which enables regulators and suppliers to quickly and easily track and verify submissions and certifications; and Point.Click.Transfer, an online application that allows suppliers to transfer previously tested and certified products into new jurisdictions around the world, literally with the click of a mouse; GLI Verify is a handheld tool enabling regulators to verify that the games and systems operating on a casino floor have been tested and certified by the lab; and there is GLI’s new Version 5.0, which not only is faster and easier to use, it lets regulators to take the lab with them to the casino floor.
The new GLI link brings global interoperability testing as close as the nearest lab by enabling suppliers to test devices against systems over the Internet with no physical shipment.
Making sure that games and systems talk to each other correctly and provide an accurate reporting of activity is vital to ensure the accurate transfer of information, including accounting and security events, and more and more jurisdictions are requiring this type of testing. However, shipping devices and systems all over the world can be cumbersome, expensive and can delay time to market. GLI link connects manufacturers’ products and operators’ systems online, and expands interoperability testing to every GLI lab. Interoperability testing can be performed on any game with virtually any system from any GLI lab in any time zone.
3M Touch Systems: Making the future palpable
The company is spotlighting its 3M Multi-Touch Technology with the Projected Capacitive system. Capable of handling independently resolved multi-touch input from all 10 fingers, the system opens up new avenues for game developers by enabling new play patterns and enhancing the overall user experience.
Also on display will be the 3M Surface Capacitive Technology, which combines high surface durability with scratch resistance and high light transmission to produce a very nimble and durable touch screen ideal for high-use applications.
The hybrid 3M Tactile Touch Technology builds on the Surface Capacitive touch system to provide users with a sophisticated tactile response so they feel they have depressed an actual mechanical button, enhancing the player experience both on slot machines and gaming tables.
3M also will show its Digital Signage Technology, which employs a dispersive signal to provide quick and accurate touch responses on large displays in public environments. Also suitable for table game surfaces, this technology can be employed on horizontal screens up to 46 inches wide.
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 email@example.com.
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