As patrons leave the elevators onto the main casino floor at Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, a bank of gaming machines beckons. But not just any bank of machines. It’s a bank of the latest WMS’ The Price is Right games, with a show-stopping spectrum of bright lights and iconic imagery recalling the well-loved television show. The appealing array does its job, drawing players over to an area of Aria‘s casino that’s a little off the beaten path.
Slot-related apps for smartphones have been availa“The goal is to create pockets of excitement” within the casino, said Michael Volkert, vice president of slot marketing and operations, Area Resort & Casino.
“This isn’t really a [high-traffic] destination area,” he noted. But when those guests come out the elevators and “they see the casino and they see something with a lot of energy and a lot of lights, it looks fun,” Volkert said. “It just energizes this whole area.”
Volkert noted that Aria has taken down several feature walls within the casino to open up the sightlines throughout the facility. But there are still several metal structural walls that are ideal for a bank of games such as WMS’ The Price Is Right: The Ultimate Show, Volkert said.
“It’s a great use of wall space. Aria doesn’t have a lot of walls. It’s one of those casinos where we have restaurants and bars that pretty well run the periphery of the hotel so there aren’t a lot of opportunities to have a big sign like this without impeding your sightlines. You always have this balance of I want something big that’s sexy attractive and fun, but at the same time you don’t want it to block out a restaurant or bar and completely hide it from view.”
The Price Is Right game strikes that balance well, he said. “It’s a perfect game for a wall like this. It’s perfect for this situation. It attracts a lot of customers, it uses this wall space efficiently and it energies the whole area,” Volkert said.
The game is ideal because it appeals to a variety of casino customers, from the convention guests, independent travelers, frequent gamblers and casual players. Because of its draw, the bank of games usually gets plenty of player action. “People like to gamble in places that are busy, so you get a halo effect as well,” Volkert said. “If people are playing this game [The Price Is Right], these games nearby all fill up as well.”
While waiting for their opportunity at the WMS game, they try their luck at the surrounding games, which are a mix of top-tier product, middle-range-performing product and underperforming games, he said.
Volkert said the game’s design and features are keys to its success.
“WMS has a history of having very creative product. One of the things this game does really well is it intuitively teaches the guest what symbols are important. In most video games, it sometimes is not all that intuitive,” Volkert said.
For instance, he noted, that the dollar sign symbol features lighting and sounds that let players know when they’re close to getting into the bonus. “Very quickly you understand what you’re going for. The game kind of teaches you, the lighting package, the sound. Even before you get to the bonus, you know ‘OK, I want three of these.’ It does a good job of teaching you,” Volkert said.
He also noted that the bonuses are meaningful to players, which is important to keeping their interest, but also don’t take too long to get them back into the main game. “You want it to be fun, but in the end you want to get them back in action back at the game,” Volkert said, noting The Price Is Right strikes that balance well.
“This game is a little bit more gaming entertainment oriented, but it has some good gaming elements. You can win progressives. You can win bonuses; you can win free games, so it’s just a fun game to play,” he said.
At the time of the interview for this story, the game had been on the floor for about a month, and was performing about 75 percent better than Aria’s best penny game. “On a percentage basis, it’s doing pretty strong,” Volkert said.
Meet one of the reasons the game is doing so well – slot player Nancy Boyer.
A resident of Highlands Ranch, Colo., Boyer said she sought out The Price is Right game at Aria, having had luck playing The Price Is Right games at two casinos in Black Hawk, Colo.
“I like it just because it has fun bonuses, more than one kind of bonus, and I win,” said Boyer, who sat side-by-side with her husband playing the games one Tuesday morning.
There’s also a bit of a community experience, she noted. “I like it because it’s exciting, and you can get everybody going along,” sharing in the excitement.
Boyer noted that the game was very easy and comfortable to play, and that it offers another major plus. “You don’t have to be playing max coins to get the bonuses,” she said.
“I am winning today. I’m doing very well. If I bet more, I’m sure I’d win more, but I’m very happy,” she said. SM
SIDEBAR: THE PRICE IS RIGHT: THE ULTIMATE SHOW
WMS gives the longest running game show in U.S. television history a facelift in this all-new slot experience. When one of the local area progressive bonuses triggers, players will feel like they’re in the game show as experience design elements choose one lucky player to enter a bonus round, according to WMS. Featuring favorite games straight from the show, progressives award free spin enhancements, cash prizes and more.
Once selected to “Come on down,” players will play through one of the following progressive bonuses:
HOLE IN ONE – correct picks increase your odds at sinking the winning putt.
SHELL GAME – choose correctly to win more WILD symbols for this free spin bonus
LET 'EM ROLL – roll as many THE PRICE IS RIGHT logos as possible to win more free spins
SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN – spin THE PRICE IS RIGHT wheel for progressive credit awards
On top of the slot action, players can track their bonus accomplishments through a unique Player’s Life Web Services username for a personalized gaming experience. For more information, visit www.wms.com