Pai Gow and Blackjack Dice are among new offerings

An electronic version of the Pai Gow table game, from IGT, will be hitting the market soon.

IGT debuting table game products

What is described as the first electronic Pai Gow game will soon be marketed by Reno-based IGT.

Licensed from Stanley Co., Pai Gow Poker plays on the DTSX electronic table game system deals out seven virtual cards with which the players create a two-card hand and five-card hand. Because the hands are created on a touch screen, players can direct with their fingertips to curl up their virtual cards to see their hands and, if they believe they cannot beat the dealer, to call for a push.

“Normally Pai Gow is a very slow game with a whole lot of pushes, but playing it on an electronic table with touch screens greatly speeds up game play, making it more fun for experienced plays,” said Tim Richards, IGT director of table games. “The faster pace also gives players better odds (though the house still retains a low edge), and makes the game easier to learn for novices”

IGT also is rolling out Blackjack Dice, which simulates a game of blackjack using dice. Playing on the DTS electronic table game system, the game’s enhanced graphics enable players shake, rattle and roll the virtual dice in making a 21 or going for a Hard Roll Bonus. The game, licensed from DigiDeal, is designed to meet the strict gambling rules in Mexico.

Four the Money, which IGT is licensing from Lakes Gaming, is a simplified version of craps that requires players to roll the two dice four times without rolling a “7.”

The games has 12 betting options including if all the rolls are small (under 7), all tall (over 7), all odd, all even, any 7, and on the frequency any two-die number comes up (highest odds on the 2 and 12).

Guaranteed Play coming to table games

Guaranteed Play, a system that enables casinos to package sessions of blackjack and other table games with meals and on-premises entertainment amenities, has been introduced by Walker Digital Gaming LLC, based in Stamford, Conn.

“This system opens a whole new set of tools for casino marketing departments for enticing customer visits,” said Matt Ellenthal, chief marketing officer at Walker. Casinos can, for instance, bundle for a single special price 30 hands of blackjack (at up to $5 per hand with the possibility of a $1 million jackpot) with dinner for two at an on-premises restaurant (with dessert and two drinks). Or they can pair fixed sets of blackjack with comedy show tickets, two tickets to a movie with large popcorn, eight games of bowling with a pitcher of beer, the lunch buffet or merely a large pizza.

Customers can purchase Guaranteed Play packages when making reservations to stay at the resort or hotel, or after they arrive at the front desk or in casino restaurants. The package includes tickets stating the number of hands in the table game session and the betting limit, and for the other amenities. When playing the games, customers hand the ticket to the dealer and are given special chips, one to be presented at the beginning of each session, and the others for making wagers. The game is played by normal rules (in blackjack, players can double up, etc.). And when the game chips are gone, the session is over, and any winnings are paid to the player. Guaranteed Play players can play alongside regular players, with the dealer keeping track of who is who.

“An advantage for the player is that he can budget his gambling,” Ellenthal said. “And he can play at a discounted price; say 30 games of $5 per hand blackjack for $20.

“And for casinos, the benefit is increased revenues from filling up gaming tables during off-peak hours with, for instance, a Blackjack Breakfast Special,” he added.

MGM Grand guests can sign up to receive special offers via text message during their stay – maybe a free round of drinks at the Tabú Ultra Lounge.

MGM Grand goes mobile with concierge program

Guests at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas can now receive exclusive discounts, including offers for restaurants, entertainment, and salon and spa, directly to their personal mobile devices from the property’s new direct-messaging Mobile Concierge program.

Once a hotel reservation is booked, the guest receives a pre-arrival e-mail with the option to sign up for offers sent directly to their cell phones, iPhones or PDAs via Short Message Service communication or text messaging. The pre-arrival e-mail allows guests to specify whether they would like information only on specific amenities or on all offers available during their stay. Guests may also register for the customized service at the front desk upon arrival.

To redeem the offer guests present the text message to an MGM Grand concierge or at participating venue such as the Cristophe Salon, Tabú Ultra Lounge and Studio 54.

“With one touch of a button, our Mobile Concierge program conveniently connects our guests to special discounts, offering personalized attention and the chance to indulge in MGM Grand’s ‘Maximum Vegas’ experience,” said Tim Kelly, vice president of hotel operations.

Offered in conjunction with digital marketing service provider mobileStorm of California, the MGM Grand Mobile Concierge program is currently available to mobile service providers within the United States only.

GameTech gets GLI OK for Class III product

GameTech International received GLI certification for its Gambler’s Edge Keno Class III video gaming product for the California Native American market.  

“This certification represents a significant point in our company’s history. Prior to today, we were a bingo, VLT and wireless company, today we add Class III supplier to our banner of accomplishments,” said Jay Meilstrup, president and CEO of GameTech, a Reno-based developer and marketer of electronic bingo and gaming equipment, systems and video lottery terminals.

“This marks the first of numerous anticipated releases of other themes and products in this and other key jurisdictions, which positions our company for sustained future growth,” 

Excalibur installs PokerPro tables

Excalibur Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas has installed 12 PokerPro tables, becoming both the first casino in Nevada to install automated poker tables and the official field trial site for PokerPro in the state.

“We are delighted beyond words that an operator of Excalibur’s quality is opening a 100 percent PokerPro poker room on the Strip. It is commentary on how far PokerTek and automated poker have come in such a short time,” said PokerTek’s CEO Chris Halligan. “The acceptance of the game has grown substantially in the last year and continues to grow as our footprint expands.”  

“We continue to hit major milestones,” Halligan continued. “With more than 230 PokerPro tables currently installed worldwide, we are ready for the Nevada market.”