We have no problem putting participation games on our slot floor if they make us money. I can’t understand how some casinos are removing all participation games- Jerry Roed, Ellis Island Casino & Brewery, Las Vegas

Jim Mahnesmith, director of slot operations, Eastside Cannery Resort, Las Vegas:

“We see participation games as an asset as they help us keep our slots floor fresh. We can get the latest games and themes and move them on the floor quickly. And we find them easier to swap on and off the floor than those games we buy outright.

 We do hold participation games to a higher standard. We regularly monitor the performance of all our slots games; and while we don’t have a set number games must reach, we do expect participation games to do as good or better than those we own. Any participation game meeting this criterion will stay on the floor.

We also like to use participation games from many different manufacturers. Each company has themes that perform well, so we go with a good mix of new themes rather than saturate the floor with one or a few manufacturers.”

Robert Allen, corporate vice president of slot operations, Grand Casinos Minnesota, Hinckley, Minn.:

“We like participation games, but we are very sensitive about them. Since we are sharing the proceeds, participation games must earn a premium over the games we own to stay on the slots floor.

In selecting participation games for our casinos, we look for those that add an extra dimension of play that you don’t get from ordinary machines. Right now, community bonus games like WMS’ Big Event, Press Your Luck, and IGT’s eBay games are generating a lot of play and are helping out meet our financial objectives. The theme is very important.

WMS’ Happy Days is doing very good for us now, as some players as part of their entertainment and gaming experience want to forget the world and its problems and reflect on happier times – which this game does while providing a lot of fun.

Immersion games also are generating interest. We’re doing well with The Wizard of Oz, which provides a truly entertaining experience. And we have high hopes for the Star Trek immersion game, which we just put on out floor.”

Randy Reedy, vice president of slot operations, Valley View Casino, Valley Center, Calif.:

”The only participation games we thin from Valley View’s slots floor are those that don’t perform. But because we share the revenues, we require that participation games earn on average 1½ times what we take from the slots we own outright. If they don’t, they have to go; especially if they perform in the bottom 10 percent of machines on our floor. Some participation games have done very well for us, such as Aristocrat’s Millioni$er and Penny Train, along with some games from IGT.

We’ll try any new game theme, but we find that the slots that do best are those that have a formula that players find both easy to learn but also entertain.

We try to guess which these games are, but our players are the ultimate authority in telling us which ones they are.”

Jerry Roed, director of slot operations, Ellis Island Casino & Brewery, Las Vegas:

“We have no problem putting participation games on our slot floor if they make us money. I can’t understand how some casinos are removing all participation games.

Right now, Wheel of Fortune is the biggest slot game on anyone’s floor. You’re going to bar a game like that? I realize that nobody wants to pay the percentage of revenue to the game’s manufacturer, but if you have a square spot on your floor, you have to fill it. Why not fill it with a game that your customers will enjoy?

With participation games, you don’t have to pay $10,000 to fill that spot. And if the game does exceed your house average by your desired percentage point, it can easily be removed and replaced.”