News and notes from the international slot industry

IGT offers new Service Window for legacy video games

International Game Technology has created a new Service Window solution for legacy IGT 80960 video machines.

The Reno, Nev.-based company said the move furthers its commitment to the Gaming Standards Association (GSA) and the Game to System (G2S) protocols.

The Service Window solution, set to be deployed this fall, is the only GSA-compliant player interface available for IGT 80960 machines, IGT said in a news release.

“This new solution helps preserve operator investments. Now operators will have access to future technologies on the gaming machines they have today. And, because this solution is GSA-compliant, it gives operators more control and flexibility for the types of content distributed across the network – creating a better player experience,” said Rich Schneider, executive vice president of gaming products.

“For the gaming industry, as a whole, to move to the next step in providing a more interactive and entertaining player experience, all manufacturers must be GSA- and G2S- compliant and committed to open protocols. It’s just like the Internet – in order to open up a world of innovative applications that evolve the gaming experience, we all need to develop and implement GSA-compliant protocols in everything we do,” Schneider said in a news release. “With this development, operators can now run Service Window on any G2S- compliant system. Today, sbX is the only system available that uses G2S to drive Service Window.”

The Service Window allows operators to provide a player interaction experience right at the slot machine. When the player inserts his players club card, a special “window” slides the game screen over, providing a menu of information and services the player and operator can customize, all designed to improve the player experience.

According to GSA, an electronic gaming machine is said to be G2S compliant if the core functionality provided by the gaming machine is communicated to the system via the G2S protocol only, and in a compliant manner. Similarly, when interoperating with an EGM, a system is said to implement the G2S protocol if the functionality provided by the system is communicated to the system via the G2S protocol only, and in a compliant manner.

Today, IGT delivers the Service Window using a pure implementation of the GSA protocol. With this new solution, IGT will offer a G2S Service Window solution on all IGT video platforms including the legacy 80960 video games.

The Service Window implementation on 80960 legacy games will require an upgrade kit that leverages a G2S-compliant interface to insert video into the legacy display. For newer AVP® machines, the Service Window is built into the game. Legacy mechanical reel games will continue to use sb NexGen devices for player communications.

WMS' Adaptive Gaming reaches million milestone

More than one million unique player log-ins have now been created for its WMS Gaming’s Adaptive Gaming-enabled slot games, the Waukegan, Ill.-based company announced this week.

One of WMS’ four foundational technology platforms, Adaptive Gaming, introduced in July 2008, is unique in the gaming industry as it provides players with the ability to unlock new features as they play and save their progress in a slot game, and then resume their play at a later time – even at a different casino. Players who have signed onto the Adaptive Gaming system also can have their accomplishments displayed on leader boards in casinos nationwide. In the 20 months since the first game was introduced, WMS’ Adaptive Gaming products – STAR TREK and Reel ‘em In Compete to Win games – have generated an average of approximately 2,000 new, unique player log-ins per day. Currently, more than 260 casinos have Adaptive Gaming products installed on their slot floors.

“The enormous popularity of our Adaptive Gaming platform highlights WMS’ Player Driven Innovation approach to game design and the value of our game changing technologies which provide players with tremendous entertainment value unique to the industry,” Brian R. Gamache, chairman and chief executive officer of WMS, said in a news release. “Slot players today have more options than ever before and, as such, surpassing one million unique log-ins and generating a high percentage of repeat players for our Adaptive Gaming products is clear evidence that WMS continues to create differentiated, broadly accepted gaming products that offer players the gaming content they want to play again and again. The result is greater player appeal with more entertainment value that in turn creates significant value for our customers and for WMS.”

The Adaptive Gaming platform is built on WMS’ wide-area-network capabilities. The STAR TREK-branded series of games allows players to “boldly go where no one has gone before” as they earn medals that unlock new STAR TREK episodes, allowing them to progress through a dynamic storyline where they can save their progress and pick up from where they left off during their next casino visit. WMS recently introduced the fifth episode for the STAR TREK series. The Reel Em In Compete to Win game, which combines both the Adaptive Gaming system with WMS’ Community Gaming foundational technology platform, features a competitive element never before offered in a slot machine. Players select from four characters to compete for a grand prize in an exciting fishing contest, and those winning the largest prize within a casino and nationwide are recognized on leader boards displayed on high-definition monitors.

WMS said it plans to introduce the next-generation version of the Adaptive Gaming platform this summer with games based on the popular entertainment franchise, The Lord of the Rings. This series will feature a new “epic” gaming experience that takes Adaptive Gaming to the next level as players embark on a journey based on the storyline of the motion picture trilogy and collect miles along the way to unlock new and exciting elements of the legendary adventure.

Casino Data reaches deals with three casinos

CasaBlanca Resort Casino, Virgin River Hotel & Casino and Hollywood Casino Tunica have licensed Casino Data Imaging’s CasinoCAD data visualization and report writing analysis program.

“We are honored to be adding these three great casino operations to our client base,” stated George Levine, Casino Data Imaging corporate spokesman. “CasinoCAD’s technology speaks directly to our ability to provide high performance analysis solutions that are reliable, cost effective and simple to deploy.”

CasaBlanca and Virgin River represents CDI’s 21st and 22nd installations in Nevada. Hollywood Casino Tunica becomes the company’s 17th CasinoCAD© installation in Mississippi.

GSA creates committee on game authentication concerns

In today’s gaming industry, there are three main software concerns at the gaming device level, according to the Gaming Standards Association (GSA). First, there is no accepted standard for validating machine software at the machine. Second, multiple versions of the game authentication terminal are being used for verification; and third, there is not a common or recommended method for validating files on high-capacity storage media. To help operators, regulators and suppliers resolve this situation, the GSA has created the Game Authentication Terminal Committee.

Comprised of GSA members from around the world, the committee will work to formalize a common GAT protocol interface for use in verifying the software on a gaming device by physically connecting to the gaming device. The committee also will define a common method of validating software from high-capacity storage devices, such as CDROM, DVD, hard drive and disk-on-chip.

“The lack of standardization in this area is a concern because it complicates a very important process and adds undue costs for everyone involved,” said GSA President Peter DeRaedt. “As is the case with all of GSA’s standards committees, the work that comes out of GAT will benefit the entire industry by solving a problem, reducing costs and creating a standard that will be globally acceptable.”

Rainbow Hotel Casino in Vicksburg, Miss.

Bally, Isle of Capri reach deals on systems, Rainbow Casino sale

Bally Technologies has reached an enterprise-wide deal with Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. to install a full suite of Bally systems at Isle of Capri properties.

In a separate deal, Bally has agreed to sell its Rainbow Hotel Casino in Vicksburg, Miss., to Isle of Capri.

“We are pleased to welcome Isle of Capri Casinos back as a Bally partner on a large scale and look forward to a productive partnership as we implement our most cutting-edge systems and server-based solutions,” said Bally CEO Richard Haddrill.

Isle of Capri signed a master agreement for enterprise-wide installation of Bally’s SDS slot-management system, and will select, based on individual property needs, from an array of Bally marketing, player communications, and media-management solutions including iVIEW player-interface displays; the award-winning iVIEW Display Manager casino and employee server-based interface for the game display; Bally’s Power Bonusing suite of bonusing, gaming, and promotions; and the CoolSign propertywide media management system.

“We’ve been impressed with Bally’s commitment to systems and the sustained improvements in their product offering, and we’re excited about the solutions they offer to give us centralized control of our technology, as well as both forward and backward compatibility,” said Virginia McDowell, president and chief operating officer of Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. “Our partnership with Bally will enable us to introduce new solutions of our own design, at our own pace, and provides a steady stream of cutting-edge technology into the future as we implement our two-brand strategy across our portfolio.”

Pending regulatory approval, Bally will begin implementing its solutions for Isle of Capri in the second half of 2010.

In addition, Bally has agreed to sell its Rainbow Casino in Vicksburg, Miss. to Isle, pending regulatory approval.

Under the agreement, Isle of Capri will pay Bally $80 million in an all-cash transaction, assuming the transaction closes by approximately June 30.

“We are pleased to return to the Vicksburg market and expand our presence in Mississippi through this transaction, which creates a mutually beneficial situation for Isle of Capri and for Bally Technologies and allows both of our companies to focus on what we do best,” said Isle Chairman and CEO James B. Perry.

The property has about 350 employees, 25,000 square feet of gaming space, 831 slot, 10 table games, and an 89-room hotel.