By all accounts, last month’s Southern Gaming Summit/BingoWorld conference and exposition was a unqualified success, with large numbers of people attending sessions, socializing at parties and special events, and milling around the show floor (see story).
Those perusing the trade show floor looking for new and cutting-edge devices and technologies were not disappointed; dozens of national and international vendors displayed products and systems designed to aid every aspect of the casino enterprise. Prevalent among these displaying companies were slot manufacturers, many of whom brought their latest games and cabinets to showcase in front casino operators from Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and other southern states. These slot offerings also caught the attention of Casino Journal editors, some of which are described below, organized by company.
AINSWORTH GAME TECHNOLOGY
A wide variety of A560 cabinets and games were on display at the Ainsworth Game Technology booth. Rumble Rumble, in the company’s A560SL cabinet has an animal-stampede game theme and features a high-resolution 32-inch LCD monitor, an 18 play-button deck and a 19-inch LCD top display. Ainsworth now offers two new games in this line; Rhino Rumble and Buffalo Rumble 2. Each offers eight free games with lock ‘n’ drop Mania Wilds, scatters that are wild and trigger bonus feature games and Big Reel Multipliers that offer 5x rewards.
Also showcased in an A560SL cabinet was 5 Power 7’s and 5 Mega 7’s, which incorporate the classic eight-line format with five tiers of standalone progressives and a rapid triggering hold ‘n’ respin feature. Five or more 7’s trigger curved reel spins, leading to bonus prizes or guaranteed progressives at max bet.
Ainsworth also revealed some licensed content for the A560 cabinet line, showing its new The Sound of Music video slot game, based on the classic movie of the same name, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Players will be humming along to classic movie tunes while the single curved reels, triple curved reels and spectacular overhead signage add excitement to their play.
AMERICAN GAMING SYSTEMS (AGS)
The buzz at the American Gaming Systems (AGS) booth was all about the company’s recent acquisition of Cadillac Jack, which is best known as a supplier of Class II games for the tribal gaming market.
“Cadillac Jack was strong where we were weak, and AGS is strong where Cadillac Jack was weak,” said Robert Perry, senior vice president of sales for AGS. “With Cadillac Jack, we’ve become the second largest supplier of Class II games in the U.S. The company will stay committed to this market, offering all its games in both Class III and Class II formats.”
In other slot news, the company continued to showcase Family Feud, the latest addition to its “It Pays To Know” line of video slot games. Housed in a Skytower cabinet, Family Feud is based on one of the most popular game shows of all time and features survey questions and answers directly from the show. By choosing the most popular answers, players can actually affect the outcome of their bonus round and win more credits.
Also notable at the AGS booth was the company’s Colossal Gaming line of very large format slot machines, anchored by Colossal Diamonds, a larger-than-life game takes the space of three standard cabinets. The simple, classic three-reel, one-line game with high denom configuration has proved a hit for players and casinos where ever it has been placed, according to Perry.
AGS’s table game division also caused a stir at Southern Gaming Summit with its Count’s Kustoms blackjack tables, which gives players a chance to win a custom car or chopper from Count’s Kustoms, the Las Vegas-based hot rod and chopper shop made famous from the History Channel show Counting Cars. The table itself features a virtual video reel which players get to spin for a chance at the vehicle if they hit a blackjack while playing the Bonus Spin Count’s Kustoms side bet.
For Aristocrat, Southern Gaming Summit was a chance to display its Arc and Behemoth cabinet lines and games before regional casino operators. The company’s Arc Single features a 42-inch curved touchscreen LCD monitor and 5.1 stereo surround sound system that combine to create an immersive gaming experience for the player. Many of the games for the Arc Single are for sale as well, according to Matt Primmer, senior director portfolio planning and strategy—Americas, for Aristocrat Technologies.
The Arc Double, which featured dual 42-inch screens, Arc Wheel, which combines a 42-inch Arc screen with spinning wheel toppers and Behemoth, which has a massive 84-inch single screen, house Aristocrat’s licensed and recurring revenue games. Many of these games, such as Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory, are based on popular television shows. The newest game to this line set to debut at G2E this September is A Christmas Story, which is based on the classic movie of the same name.
Aristocrat also scored big at the inaugural Best of Show Slot Competition Awards at Southern Gaming Summit, with the company’s Britney Spears slot game on the Arc Double cabinet receiving second place honors.
ARUZE GAMING AMERICA
Aruze Gaming also made a splash on the Southern Gaming Summit show floor with Players’ Party, its third generation G-Link communal video game which comes equipped with six stations, five Party Time bonuses, three different sets of free games, the Big Chance Wheel, and a four-level progressive. Each station contains five reels and 30 lines of non-stop reel and wheel spinning action; all while being played at a recommended denomination of 1 cent. The communal Party Time bonus events are unique in that they involve table-game like play mechanics such as red and black, dice rolls and wheel spins, all in a video format featured on the bank’s shared screens.
Aruze also showcased new Ultra Stack games for its G Series line of slot cabinets. Among the new titles were Ultra Stack Feature Butterfly, Ultra Stack Feature Afrika, Ultra Stack Feature Tiki, Ultra Stack Penguin and Ultra Stack Poseidon. “Ultra Stack now has lots of different families with lots of new titles,” said Paul Luquet, director of sales, Eastern U.S. for Aruze Gaming.
Multimedia Games, a division of GCA, brought The Valkyries, a Class III video slot, to display at Southern Gaming Summit. The game features a five-tier progressive that comes into play once five or more jackpot symbols land on the reels. The company’s award-winning mystery Expanding Reels make an appearance as well, with a Valkyrie sending lightning bolts to the reels, triggering them to expand into four additional rows with 10 additional paylines per row, for a total of 80 extra paylines. When five or more scattered free spin symbols land on the reels, the free spin bonus begins, with a chance for retriggering free spins and progressive prizes.
Southern Gaming Summit attendees thought enough of the game to award it third place in the Best of Show Slot Competition Awards.
Also front and center for GCA/Multimedia games at SGS was Apex V, billed as the industry’s first scalable, multi-screen topper solution with synchronized content across a complete bank of machines and its Twist & Win game play feature, which can alter a player’s fortune in the blink of an eye by taking a random rectangular or square section of the reels and rotating it 90 degrees, negative 90 degrees, or 180 degrees.
Slot products from International Game Technology (IGT), a division of GTECH, also caught the eye of show attendees, as evidenced by them awarding the company first place in the Best of Show Slot Competition Awards for its SPHINX 3D slot concept.
The SPHINX 3D game is part of IGT’s award-winning TRUE 3D product line that offers slot players from around the world rich, glasses-free 3D gaming experiences. The SPHINX 3D video slot features an integrated eye-tracking system that detects player position and relays it to an internal 3D engine. The image is processed and displayed so that the ideal 3D picture self-matches the player’s precise line of sight, allowing freedom of movement in all directions—all without the need for special glasses.
“It’s an honor to have IGT’s SPHINX 3D game recognized as ‘Best of Show’ at the Southern Gaming Summit. The SPHINX 3D game continues to perform exceptionally well in markets around the world,” said Victor Duarte, global chief product officer for IGT.
INCREDIBLE TECHNOLOGIES (IT)
Incredible Technologies (IT) utilized Southern Gaming Summit as a regional coming out party for Infinity, its latest gaming cabinet and technology platform. Among the new titles for this platform is Money Rain, which features an innovative reel mechanic that showcases colorful currency symbols that fold in half, similar to numbers that flip on a digital clock. Money Rain also boasts over 25,000 ways to win with Scatter Ways, a Money Reel with transforming symbols, an exciting hyper reel big win event and free spins with retriggers.
“We made many strategic decisions in the development of Infinity and it shows. We now have a solid catalog of games, including Money Rain, that have proven their performance nationwide and a new technology platform and cabinet that continues to earn its reputation based on ROI,” said Elaine Hodgson president and CEO of IT. “The Southeast market has been a big supporter of IT, and Southern Gaming is a great opportunity for us to show that the ‘Infinity Buzz’ is real.”
Among the other titles displayed at SGS that leverage the popularity of their successful Money brand was Crazy Money II, which keeps all of the player favorite features of the original Crazy Money game while adding in a new bonus game with a four-level progressive.
Other titles found at IT’s booth include the wildly popular Fired Up and Lady of the Dead which helped launch Infinity to its initial success. IT also displayed their entertainment-based game segment, E-Play, with titles like Cash Fairies and Samurai Gold alongside their gambler-specific segment, V-Pro, with titles like Dracula and Gators.
The company also used the show as a chance to showcase their Simple Sign Display Kit, which is the ultimate bank signage solution as it has proven to be easy-to-install, economical and impactful.
“Infinity blends seamlessly with the Simple Sign Display Kit,” said Dan Schrementi, vice president of gaming sales and marketing for IT. “So everything we are sending out now has a 55-inch LCD screen above it that allows for more merchandising on the game. All that merchandising attracts people to sit in the seats and play, and from then on it is the game math that can carry the experience.”
Konami Gaming used Southern Gaming Summit to showcase its latest games for its Dungeons and Dragons slot concept—Dwellers of the Dungeon Keep and Fortunes of the Forgotten Realms. According to a company press release, both offer a rich, fantasy experience with dungeon maze bonuses and monster battle features that build on the success of its debut release titles.
“We launched Dungeons and Dragons last year to some great success so we’ve decided to bring out a new generation with a new game mechanic and continue along the story line,” said Steve Walther, director, product manager-game for Konami.
Konami also showcased its Rapid Revolver line of slot products at SGS. “Rapid Revolver games are unique because they combine Konami’s renowned video reel game play in the primary game screen with a vertical stack of six spinning mechanical reels in the tall-top box,” said Matt Reback, vice president, marketing at Konami. “We see Rapid Revolver delivering a diversity of entertainment and market reach that regional properties can really leverage, and the performance we’ve seen from units in the field suggests that patrons are enjoying the experience.”
The Konami booth also included other new slot products across Konami’s cabinet lineup—SeleXion multi-game, tall-top Podium Monument, and more. In addition, Konami’s 2015 exhibit provided a hands-on demonstration environment for its SYNKROS casino management system, which continues to see record expansion to new properties and gaming jurisdictions each year. Konami’s award-winning SYNKiosk took center stage at SGS as one of SYNKROS’ most competitive new tools for patron engagement and adoption.