As I write this, I have just returned from a week in Las Vegas to cover the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) show, and I am happy to report that slot innovation, for both Class II and Class III machine products, is alive, well and progressing. Here are some of the trends I noticed during booth visits to various companies displaying on the NIGA tradeshow floor:
- Living large: Slot manufactures across the board displayed new or enhanced cabinets with large screens or topper concepts to add both height and video excitement to games. Incredible Technologies displayed its pioneering Infinity V55 cabinet and display concept with new content, including Money Rain 2, the sequel to its Money Rain franchise which utilizes familiar game content with ramped up bonus events utilizing the V55’s massive 4K display. Scientific Games offered the new TwinStar V75 cabinet featuring a 75-inch, curved, ultra-HD 4K-resolution display that offers players a large-format gaming experience while addressing many issues operators have had with large-display cabinets. The patent-pending design of the TwinStar V75 cabinet allows for easy installation and servicing while taking up less floor and visual space. Everi’s new Empire 5527 cabinet features a 27-inch main display and an edge-lit 55-inch portrait top display with game-controlled lighting. The E5527 leverages the Empire MPX base to allow operators to configure the cabinet in ways that save floor space while giving casino patrons plenty of room to play comfortably. Novomatic Americas displayed its V.I.P. LOUNGE Curve 1.43, which featured a 43-inch curved touchscreen and new titles for 2018.
- Eastern dreams: Slot vendors pounded the NIGA showfloor with Asian-themed games for slot machine lines. For its new Orion Slant cabinet, AGS has made available for sale or lease a number of Asian-inspired titles including Dragon Fa, Phoenix Fa and Fu Nan Fu Nu Lucky Dragons. Incredible Technologies offered Many Fortunes, an Asian-themed game for its Infinity V55 platform. Konami Gaming showcased a number of Asian games at NIGA, including Celestial Sun Riches and Celestial Moon Riches, two all-new ULTRA REELS games that feature a selectable Strike Zone area to activate additional bonus opportunities.
- Reel revival: New concepts for mechanical reel slots were also front and center at many NIGA booths. Aristocrat’s RELM XL cabinet, displayed at nine-and-a-half feet tall, featured an eye-catching mechanical wheel topper and drives innovation with a 43-inch J-Curved monitor with full touchscreen capabilities, large classic reel symbols, traditional wheel plex, stereo sound and LED edge lighting. RELM XL games come in a three or five mechanical reel set configurations for high, middle and low denomination placements. IGT displayed Class III Proven Performer mechanical reel titles such as Double Diamond free games and Double Gold slots in a Class II format, along with exclusive Class II content for the mechanical reel S3000 cabinet with titles such as Jackpot Polly and Triple Double Hearts.
- Linking up: In addition to Ainsworth Game Technology’s innovative AnyBet mystery progressive jackpot technology for Class II games, a number of other gaming companies showcased linked jackpot technology. AGS featured its Xtreme Jackpots multi-level progressive ecosystem. This innovative progressive connection runs across all AGS cabinet lines and increases excitement across the casino floor by building larger, more meaningful jackpot amounts that hit more frequently. Konami offered Power Boost Inferno, the company’s newest original linked progressive game available across Indian Country. Players can increase their odds for the Supreme jackpot up to 10x through selected extra credit bet contributions.
This is only a taste of the slot innovation featured at NIGA, and a likely preview of the full slot meal at the upcoming G2E show in October.