Games & Technology Report
Raving's Cutting Edge Table Games ConferenceAttendees of Raving’s Cutting Edge Table Games Conference have spoken, choosing the winners of the event’s Best New Table Games of 2008 Competition.
This inaugural competition, which selected gold, silver and bronze awards, was created specifically to recognize and honor new table games, which often can be overlooked in the sea of new casino technologies and slot machines that permeate the gaming industry each year.
New games were evaluated and critiqued by table game professionals and attendees of the conference Sept. 14-16 at the Mandalay Bay casino-resort.
Taking home the Gold Award was EZ Baccarat, which makes the commission disappear without changing the nature and spirit of this successful table game. It only replaces the taking of the 5 percent commission on every winning bank hand by “barring” one specific winning bank hand: a three-card total of seven called the “Dragon 7.” Players can make an insurance bet, called the “Dragon 7” bet that pays 40 to 1 when the three card winning bank hand occurs.
“It was an unexpected but wonderful surprise. We knew we were going against some great table game powerhouses, but we also knew table games operators would recognize the elegant simplicity of EZ Baccarat,” said T.J. Tejeda, principal with the Talisman Group, who developed the game with Talisman’s Robin Powell in conjunction with DEQ.
Rolled Up Gaming’s 3 Hand Hold ‘Em, winner of the Silver Award, brings the recent popularity of Texas Hold ‘Em to table pits. With the right mix of volatility and time on device, 3 Hand Hold ‘Em is designed to appeal to a broad range of players and is simple to learn, yet amazingly complex in strategy. By eliminating multiple betting rounds, the house gets more hands per hour than other table Hold ‘Em games.
The Bronze Award went to Galaxy Gaming’s Three Card Double Play, which gives players six cards to create two, three-card hands that are played heads up against the dealer. There’s no qualifying hand for the dealer, and if the player wins both hands, he or she is paid two to one.
Dennis Conrad, Raving’s president and chief strategist said attendees of the conference - having a day and a half to judge the games - really took the time to play and understand all of the exhibitor’s games. “I was really impressed that nearly every attendee took part in the judging process. That tells me that people really care about what’s new out there and what goes onto their table game floors,” he said.
As part of the contest, one attendee/judge was selected at random for an all-expense paid trip to the Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino near Lakeside Calif. Arnold Cope, vice president of casino operations for the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, won the trip, which includes free airfare, hotel and amenities provided by Barona, a conference sponsor.
The conference included two days of sessions, the first day devoted to operations and the second to marketing.
Presentations included a panel on the unionization debate surrounding table games; a discussion of how the roles of table game professionals have changed; a session on how random bonusing and out-of-the-box table game philosophies can create player loyalty; and Dennis Conrad’s Best and Worst Table Game Promotions of All Time.
Gaming consultant and author Max Rubin and Talisman Group’s Tejeda gave keynote addresses.
Conference exhibitors and sponsors included Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino; Beat the Dealer 21; DEQ Systems; FYI Gaming; Galaxy Gaming; Gary Platt Manufacturing; Imperial Casino Games; MaxiGames; Raving Service; Rolled Up Gaming; SCA Promotions; Tek Visions; Walker Digital; and World Game Protection.
U.S. DISTRICT COURT FOR NEVADA RULES FOR IGT ON WHEEL PATENTThe U.S. District Court for Nevada ruled in favor of International Game Technology in a patent infringement dispute with Bally Technologies, deeming Bally’s wheel indicator patent invalid based on obviousness and prior art.
Bally had alleged that its Lucky Wheel products embodied the claimed invention and that IGT’s “wheel” games, including its Wheel of Fortune slot machines, infringed the patent.
“IGT believes strongly in the United States patent system and respects the valid intellectual property rights of others. We are pleased that our position has been vindicated,” said TJ Matthews, IGT chairman and chief executive officer.
Judge Edward C. Reed entered an order granting IGT’s motion for summary judgment on Sept. 9, more than two years after the lawsuit was filed by Bally Gaming, a subsidiary of Bally Technologies.
However, Bally Technologies indicated that the ruling may actually help the Las Vegas-based company in separate litigation pending in the same court. It also said the court’s order does not negatively affect Bally products in the field.
Bally officials said the Bally patent has a priority date before that of the patents that IGT is asserting against Bally in a separate lawsuit, yet the court still determined it obvious.
In issuing its order, the court cited the recent Supreme Court decision of KSR International Co. v. Teleflex, Inc., and determined that the combination of prior art, coupled with the well-known use of a wheel in gaming, rendered the claims obvious. “This underscores the difficulty in bringing suit on patents in our industry post KSR, and we feel this decision strengthens our position in the other litigation brought by IGT also in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada,” said Bally CEO Richard Haddrill.
STANDARDS GROUP CONTINUES GROWTHU.S.-based AMX has joined the Gaming Standards Association as its newest platinum member.
Hardware and software solutions from AMX simplify the way people interact with technology. With the increasing number of technologies and operating platforms at work and home, AMX solves the complexity of managing this technology with reliable, consistent and scalable systems. The company’s award-winning products span control and automation, switching, distributed audio and video, and technology management.
Other new members include: U.S.-based New Wave Automation as a gold member; silver members Spain-based Codere S.A., Korea-based F2 Systems Taiwan-based International Currency Technologies Corp., U.S.-based Oregon Lottery and Canada-based Nanoptix Inc.; and advisory members, Slovenia-based SIQ and Australia-based Technical Systems Testing.
“The international reach of our new members clearly underscores the global relevance of our standards, across jurisdictions and across disciplines within the gamingindustry," said GSA President Peter DeRaedt. "Already their participation and additional specific requirements will add significant functionality to the new versions of our standards under development.”
SLOTS IN MARYLANDThe Greater Baltimore Committee is supporting passage of Maryland's slots proposal and urged voters to approve it during the Nov. 4 statewide referendum.
“The GBC has determined that this slots proposal makes sense,” GBC President and CEO Donald C. Fry said in a statement released in September by the group comprised of business CEOs and top-level business executives. “It is a reasonable way to provide needed additional revenues to our state, to stop the hemorrhaging of discretionary spending and revenue that is currently going into the coffers of neighboring states, and to provide the citizens of Baltimore City with an opportunity to benefit from much-needed property tax relief."
Slots legislation requires that 5.5 percent of slots revenue would go to local jurisdictions where slots are located, and that a significant portion of Baltimore City’s share be used to reduce property taxes and for public school construction. With the state government currently facing declining revenues as the national economic downturn begins to impact Maryland, passage of the slots proposal will play a vital role in keeping Maryland on an even fiscal keel, Fry said.
AGEM ADDS THREE MEMBERSThe Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) announced that its board of the directors has approved the membership applications of three new companies, bringing the trade group comprised of the world’s leading gaming suppliers to a total of 56 members.
The newest AGEM members are Aruze Gaming America, Global Cash Access and KSK Digital Printing.
Aruze Gaming America, with headquarters in Tokyo and U.S. operations based in Las Vegas, is a manufacturer and distributor of hybrid LCD high-resolution reel and video slot and poker games and multi-terminal gaming devices.
Global Cash Access, based in Las Vegas, is a leading provider of cash access systems and related marketing services to the gaming industry.
KSK Digital Printing, with locations in Las Vegas, Cleveland and Detroit, specializes in slot machine glass, reel strips, slot toppers, casino backlits and interior casino signage.
TESTING AGENCY WINS U.S. LOCAL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION AWARDEclipse Compliance wins the U.S. Local Business Association’s 2008 Best of Cleveland Award in the laboraty category.
The USLBA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USLBA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2008 USLBA Award Program focused on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USLBA and data provided by third parties.
Eclipse Compliance Testing is a full-service regulatory compliance test laboratory and electronic gaming device consulting organization.
It serves the regulated gaming, amusement and vending industries. Its management has been testing electronic gaming equipment for all regulated gaming jurisdictions since 1987 and has the expertise and knowledge to provide the gaming, amusement and vending industries with world-class testing and consulting services.
AVENDRA MAKES EXECUTIVE 100 LISTAvendra, the hospitality industry’s leading procurement services company with $3 billion in purchasing volume, was named to Supply & Demand Chain Executive Magazine’s “Executive 100 List” for 2008.
Avendra was chosen for its innovative work in monitoring the safety of its supply chain.
This year Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine focused the criteria for its “100” feature on supply chain innovation.
“We are honored to be named to Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s prestigious list,” said Dennis Baker, president and chief executive officer of Avendra.
“I believe that Avendra’s team of quality assurance professionals is unrivaled in our industry,” Baker said. “They have worked collaboratively with suppliers across all segments of the supply chain to strengthen safety standards and add additional quality control measures.”