The first REELdepth slots games from IGT are installed at Minnesota casinos

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade MegaJackpot Slot went to market in September.

First REELdepth slots games installed at Minnesota casinos

The first IGT REELdepth video slot games, which add a third dimension to the playing area, were installed over the Labor Day weekend at the Grand Casino Hinckley and Grand Casino Mille Lacs, both located in Minnesota.

REELdepth slots create the visual effect of true depth without the use of 3-D glasses with Multi-Layer Display (MDL) technology, which layers two or more LCDs (liquid crystal displays). The result is a playing area with not only length and width but also depth in which players move visually enhanced images through as they play for a unique gaming experience.

After seeing the video slots for the first time in his casino, Robert Allen, corporate vice president of slot operations for Grand Casinos Minnesota, was impressed. IGT “has done a masterful job with REELdepth, giving gaming operators the fullest range of flexible configuration options. These machines represent a virtually perfect server-based gaming solution,” he said.

Initial REELdepth games include nearly 70 of IGT’s classic slot games, as well as several new AVP (Advanced Video Platform) themes, including the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade MegaJackpot Slot sent to market in September. Casino operators who invest in REELdepth games no longer have to budget to change glass, change reel strips, or physically relocate and remove machines from the floor, added Brenda Boudreaux, IGT vice president of product management.

The Hi-Jack was first made in 1962

Product Snapshot: Vermette's Hi-Jack

Consider the Hi-Jack an unsung hero of the casino slot floor.

This manually has been moving gaming machines in and out and around casino slot floors since the 1970s. And they come in handy when installing signage around slot machines.

“They’re used all over the world,” said Joe Geisen, president of Vermette Machine Co., the Hammond, Ind.-based company that has been in business since Howard Vermette founded it in 1947. The lift was first made in 1962 to aid in the heating and air conditioning business, and its design has remained virtually unchanged, Geisen said.

Geisen recalled one of the first times he spied the lifts in use at a casino was in the 1970s when he was attending a trade show in Las Vegas. “I was surprised to see them,” he said, recalling the instance he saw them at the old MGM hotel (now Bally’s Las Vegas). “Now I see them all over the place,” Geisen said.

The lifts often make their appearances when fewer tourists are out in force on the casino floor, Geisen said. “Now it’s in the wee hours of the morning in the casinos when they bring them out and do all the moving around,” of gaming machines, he said. “They can move them around very easily in the casino.”

The Hi-Jack is a profitable product, Geisen said. “This is the one we sell to the casinos the most,” he said.

It does have one issue, however. It’s not like the flavor-of-the-month slot machine.  Its hardy construction and timeless design does not make for a rapid replacement cycle.

 “The Hi-Jack just keeps on going,” Geisen said. “I see people at trade shows who tell me they got it from their dad. They’re pretty dependable.”

Hi-Jack Features

  • One person can set up and operate in minutes; the heaviest part weighs only about 40 pounds.
  • The free-standing Hi-Jack can  lift 500 pounds. to 10 feet; and, with ceiling or wall stabilizer,   to 15 feet.
  • Two Hi-Jacks, using ceiling or  wall stabilizers and 3-inch standard pipe platform extensions, can lift 2,000 pounds to 15 feet.
  • The average lift speed of a 500-pound load is 3 feet per minute.

Judge says he'll issue ruling finding IGT wheel patents invalid

 A U.S. District Court judge announced Oct. 15 that he intended to issue a written ruling that declares invalid International Game Technology’s wheel patents in an infringement case involving Bally Technologies.

Robert Jones, a U.S. District Court judge for the District of Nevada, stated in open court that he intends to issue a written order declaring that asserted wheel patents held by IGT are invalid. This order would reject IGT’s claims that Bally’s wheel-based games infringe on patents held by IGT, according to a news release from Bally Technologies.

The court also stated that it would issue a written order invalidating certain claims of IGT’s player-tracking patents at issue in the case, and that Bally’s iVIEW display does not infringe certain claims, according to Bally.

Other player-tracking claims may remain at issue, depending on the language of the forthcoming written order, Bally said.

The court reiterated that Bally’s antitrust claim against IGT could proceed to trial and scheduled a hearing to address the parties’ intentions regarding the remaining claims.

Deutsche Bank analyst Bill Lerner, in a note to investors, said the ruling’s reasoning “could be similar to a Reno judge’s recent ruling that invalidated [Bally’s] wheel patent on the basis of obviousness.”

“We believe that [Bally] shares had been discounting the likelihood of a monetary award to IGT regarding the wheel patent, which investors now view as a lower risk – or at least a much longer-term risk,” Lerner noted.

He added that both companies still face risk in the upcoming trial – Bally from IGT’s claim of infringement on its NexGen product and IGT from Bally’s antitrust claim.

IGT had not issued a statement as of press time.

Mohegan Sun giving players more community slot games

Community gaming slots are proving such a big hit at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., that the casino recently expanded its slot offerings to include IGT’s eBay game. Based loosely on the popular Internet marketplace, eBay enables players to unify and cheer each other as they collectively win free spins and jackpots.

Installed near the entrance of Sunrise Square in the Mohegan’s Casino of the Earth, eBay grabs players’ attention with five vertical 40-inch big screen video reels located before each electronic penny-cent slot machine. As player win free spins in this intense set-up, those in the occupied adjacent seats also win free spins that can collectively win all even bigger prizes. The game is broken into Collectibles and Fashion themes, each with a 250 credit max bet and a chance to win up to 25,000 credits.

Mohegan Sun already offers several community slot games from WMS, including Press Your Luck, where players join forces to avoid the Whammy to win jackpots; and Monopoly, where players can win up to 50,000 credits. The casino also is looking to add other community slots games, including one from WMS said to be the first combination community gaming and transmissive reels machines.

Terrance Oliver named interim president, CEO at PGI

Terrance W. Oliver has been named interim president and CEO of Progressive Gaming International (PGI), replacing Russell H. Michelin, who recently stepped down.

Oliver will serve until a permanent CEO can be selected.

On assuming the positions, Oliver will have his hands full in streamlining PGI after the manufacturer of slot and table game management systems recently reported it would fall short of previously projected earnings for fiscal 2008. To cover the shortfall, PGI said it will reduce expenses by $13 million to $15 million (about 25 to 29 percent) through cuts in administrative, R&D and operating costs; and by revamping its sales, marketing and service functions.

GSA continues to grow, adds 10 new member companies

The Gaming Standards Association (GSA) has welcomed several new members to its ranks.

They include new Platinum member AMX Corp., which markets hardware and software solutions to the gaming industry; Gold member New Wave Automation; and Silver members Codere S.A. of Spain, F2 Systems of South Korea, International Currency Technologies Corp. of Taiwan, Nanoptix Inc. of Canada, and U.S.-based Oregon Lottery. New advisory members are SIQ of Slovenia and Technical Systems Testing of Australia.

“We are excited to have such a diverse range of companies join GSA, and we welcome them with open arms,” said GSA President Peter DeRaedt.