As we slog through the unprecedented health crisis that is COVID-19, it’s hard to believe that anything will ever return to “normal,” or at least to the way it was before the virus hit.
Indeed, as I write this, 12 percent of U.S. land-based casino facilities remain shuttered due to coronavirus restrictions, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA). Properties that have been fortunate enough to reopen are operating under a long list of COVID-prevention mandates that are limiting the number of people allowed on the gaming floor, the number of slot machines and table game positions in play and the availability of resort entertainments such as restaurants and pools. The impacts of these casino closures and businesses limitations have had a dramatic impact on the U.S. commercial casino marketplace, where year-to-date gross gaming revenues are down 46 percent and year-to-date slot revenues are down 78 percent, according to the AGA.
Despite these alarming statistics, there is still reason to believe the land-based casino slot market will return to its former money-generating glory, hopefully sooner rather than later. As evidence for this belief, we at Slot Management & Marketing present the 2020 World of Slots, which shows—despite all the casino closures, slot limits and even the cancellation of the industry’s leading tradeshow (Global Gaming Expo)—gaming machines manufacturers are busy creating and introducing new concepts and cabinets for casino operators and gaming audiences. Read on to experience all the latest innovations from leading manufacturers, in their own words:
Rakin’ Bacon Deluxe on AGS’ new Orion Curve cabinet in a four pod configuration.
AGS offers a host of new slot innovations that highlight AGS’ obsession with the game and the player experience.
AGS introduces the stunning Starwall x Orion video canvas for premium Orion Portrait games. A first-of-its kind, the free-standing Starwall video display combines hundreds of direct-view LED tiles to create a seamless game backdrop. Measuring eight and one-half feet tall and five feet deep, AGS’ Starwall is designed to attract players from across the floor and immerse players in the gaming experience. Fitting securely with three-packs and six-packs of premium Orion Portrait games, the Starwall adds attraction through high-impact video complementary to the game theme.
AGS’ Starwall x Orion is launching with the 88 Tian Lun family—starting with Jade Wins Deluxe, Golden Wins Deluxe and then Golden Dragon. Golden Dragon is AGS’ first player-selectable multi-denomination game, featuring a multi-level progressive, expanding reels and a spectacular jackpot prize wheel.
AGS’ new Orion Rise cabinet delivers eight feet of gaming excitement in a dual-screen portrait platform, highlighted by a dramatic 60-inch 4K LCD monitor, premium multi-touch button deck, custom audio and game-themed LED spacer displays—all of which provide an immersive, cinematic game-play experience. Game themes like Wheel Surge, Dragon’s Jackpot and Blazing Wheels take advantage of the 60-inch portrait display to deliver stunning tower and dual-wheel bonuses.
AGS’ new Orion Curve cabinet features a 49-inch Ultra HD curved LCD display, digital topper and an integrated, premium LCD multi-touch button deck. Launch titles Royal Phoenix, Sacred Dragon, Reel Tower Lucky Tea Party, Reel Tower Jack’s Riches, Golden Blvd and Jackpot Blvd feature 3D animation to take advantage of the dramatic curve monitor, as both characters and symbols pop off the screen. The Orion Curve Premium package showcases a 360-degree sign package complementing a four-pod or five-pod of Orion Curve cabinets, combining proven-performing titles with elevated game banking and play mechanics.
AINSWORTH GAME TECHNOLOGY
The A-STAR Carve cabinet with Lucky Empress game from Ainsworth.
Ainsworth Game Technology recently launched its brand-new A-STAR Curve cabinet in several casinos across the U.S.
The new shape of Ainsworth is front and center at casino properties in Nevada, Oklahoma, California, Florida and beyond. The A-STAR Curve features a 43-inch floating infinity monitor, dynamic LED lighting and a state-of-the-art LCD button deck.
The new cabinet—Ainsworth’s first to launch in North America since 2017—incorporates supreme engineering and a sleek modern design into an exciting new product for casino partners across the country. The all new A-STAR Curve offers an elegant design that will attract players on any casino floor.
Several games have debuted A-STAR, including:
- Super Charged 7s Classic and Reel Hot 7s Classic—These three-reel video slots offer five- or nine-line gameplay in denominations from 25 cents and up. The two titles will be available on both the A-STAR Curve and A640 cabinets.
- Vault of Riches—One of Ainsworth’s most bonus packed titles, Vault of Riches offers the potential for a Magnifying Glass bonus on every spin. Players can also enable free games and pick ‘em features on this action filled title.
- Path to Wealth—Path to Wealth gives players the chance to traverse a game board on the path to credit awards, free games and more. The persistent-state style of game offers three-levels of standalone progressive jackpots.
- Lucky Empress—This innovative title gives payers a great high volatility gambling experience. In Lucky Empress, players collect coins to unlock huge multipliers in a “spin ‘til you win” format. Add in a beautiful Asian-themed display and it has the makings of a hit.
Buffalo Link on Aristocrat’s Mars Portrait cabinet.
From the creators of Lightning Link and Dragon Link comes the next evolution of slot floor excitement—Buffalo Link. Housed on Aristocrat’s all-new Mars Portrait cabinet, Buffalo Link combines the thrill and functionality of Lighting Link and Dragon Link with the theme and features of the gaming industry’s most recognized slot brand—Buffalo.
Voted one of G2E 2019’s most anticipated games, Buffalo Link introduces the player-favorite hold and spin functionality and five denomination sets to the Buffalo brand. Staying true to the legacy of Buffalo, Buffalo Link retains its classic free games feature along with exciting, new enhancements.
With 2x and 3x wild multipliers now available on reel five, players will be looking for those signature base game Buffalo wins. Unique to Buffalo Link is a new mystery must-hit-by bonus, awarding either free games or the hold and spin bonus feature, bringing players an added chase on their bonus pursuit.
Buffalo Link introduces a Single-Site Linked progressive with multi-denomination functionality to the Buffalo brand. With Buffalo Link’s hold and spin feature, players have an opportunity to win the SSP grand jackpot, a standalone major jackpot, and two static major and mini bonuses scale by denomination.
Buffalo Link will come packaged with innovative signage and will be available in a range of banking configurations that can be tailored to any casino floor.
New concepts from Eclipse Gaming include Spin Big Mardi Gras and Spin Big Galaxy.
With a core focus on the tribal gaming market, Eclipse Gaming is “Going Beyond the Game” to generate powerful results that benefit their partners and impact their communities. Eclipse achieves this by developing best-in-class products that deliver outstanding performance through deeper player engagement and memorable gaming experiences.
Eclipse Gaming is proud to offer a variety of imaginative themes and innovative math models that illuminate casino floors:
- The top performing Super Slots of Cash series is back with two new super-charged game themes—Bull Booster Deluxe and Buck Booster Deluxe. These classic three-reel, one-line games create a stampede with a top progressive jackpot and wild multipliers. No additional wager is required to initiate the respin feature that retriggers the third wheel, giving players a second chance to win or win bigger.
- Volcano Shakedown—Pele’s Treasure is a sizzling 25-line game that keeps players on the edge of excitement with free spins which may randomly multiply, while secret symbol stacks appear to create more wins. At any moment during the game a Wild Eruption may occur—players will notice the goddess Pele growing restless and the screens beginning to shake. Suddenly, mystery wilds explode from the top screen onto the reels!
- Unearth sparkling treasures in Gem of the Nile and Diamond Mine Madness, the newest themes in Eclipse Gaming’s Gem Link series. These fast-paced games feature stacked wilds, retriggering free spins and the Gem Link hold and respin bonus game. Players work to excavate the coveted Link Up Plus symbols during the Gem Link hold and respin game to increase the values of all Gem Links on the reels and take home larger prizes.
- Spin Big Mardi Gras and Spin Big Galaxy dazzle with vivid imagery and an attention-grabbing, oversized prize wheel. Classic symbols on a three-reel configuration offer plenty of ways to celebrate, along with an entertaining pick bonus, multiple progressives and a free spin bonus. The party starts when the bonus wheel is triggered from the third reel and the player is awarded with credits, free spins or even one of enticing progressive jackpots.
Everi’s The Beast Uncaged game series on its Empire Flex cabinet.
Everi has a robust lineup of recently released and upcoming premium titles including The Mask and The Karate Kid, both available now on the Empire DCX cabinet. MonsterVerse featuring King Kong and Godzilla is anticipated to release later this year also on Empire DCX. Cash Machine Jackpots and Gold Standard Jackpots combine the popular Win What You See gameplay with the win potential of a mechanical wheel top box. Both themes are available now.
Everi’s for-sale offerings include Wicked Wheel Panda, Wicked Wheel Fire Phoenix and the Beast Uncaged Series, now available now on the new Empire Flex cabinet. Recently released, Diamond Lock Ruby and Diamond Lock Sapphire showcase the player popular lock and respin feature for the first time on a high-denomination mechanical theme while Triple Double Patriot and Triple Double Gems feature frequent and lucrative multiplier action.
In late 2018, Everi Digital launched its proprietary remote game server (RGS) that now supports a library of more than 30 titles, which the company expects to further expand on an annual basis. The business recently extended its online gaming partnership with Parx Casino in New Jersey, following its successful December 2019 launch in Pennsylvania. In August 2020, Everi Digital announced the launch of three of its highly popular three-reel mechanical games on Borgata Online Casino, BetMGM and Party Casino New Jersey.
On the systems front, Everi’s extensive, integrated FinTech and Loyalty product lines, including AML and other compliance services, provide unified and cost-efficient benefits on the casino floor—both front- and back-of-house—enabling card-based and mobile scenarios, while remaining agnostic to third-party integrations. The one-source, bi-directional functionality of CashClub Wallet, a fully cashless integrated mobile product that is expected to go live in casinos in the fourth quarter of 2020, makes it a convenient and cost-effective solution for operators who desire 360-degree visibility and compatibility across their “on-premise and online” player amenities.
The Muliplayer Arena concept from GameCo bring esports style play to the casino floor.
GameCo is the foremost innovator and trailblazer in creating the hottest new casino gambling category of Video Game Gambling. The inventor of the world’s first skill-based Video Game Gambling Machine (VGM), GameCo’s products and platforms engage a new generation of casino customers.
GameCo offers an array of land-based Video Game Gambling products across a variety of genres including sports titles, casual games and branded licensed arcade games as well as licensed casual games. GameCo recently launched the new Multiplayer Arena, featuring games which bring e-sports-style tournaments and head-to-head competitions to the casino floor in a variety of genres.
GameCo’s patent-pending GamersEdge technology, for both retail and digital casino games, delivers the first-ever solution for truly skill-based games. GamersEdge simultaneously solves the three key challenges of skill-based gaming: allowing skilled players a higher payout, providing average players with a payout similar to slots, with a guaranteed hold percentage. GamersEdge eliminates “over-hold” of RTP, which is a ubiquitous problem with all other skill-based games.
GameCo recently launched a digital brand called iGameCo with three powerful, synergistic offerings: skill-based i-gaming, e-sports betting, and Freeplay Gambling. GameCo is a pioneer of innovation in casino gaming, holding gaming licenses in nearly 30 global jurisdictions, and the industry-leading experts in combining video games, e-sports, and gambling, iGameCo is now driving the future of digital wagering products and experiences.
In i-gaming, GameCo has amassed a catalog of dozens of skill-based HTML-5 games running on a cutting-edge remote gaming server (RGS) for immediate integration with aggregators and operators. iGameCo offers the industry’s only turnkey, outsourced, and full-stack e-sports betting solution, allowing casinos and sportsbooks a low-cost, no-risk way to capitalize on the e-sports phenomena. And iGameCo’s revolutionary Freeplay Gambling platform will provide a low-cost and scalable solution for player acquisition for sports betting and digital casino operators.
Fortune Coin Boost! on IGT’s PeakSlant49 cabinet in a bank configuration.
Global gaming leader IGT continues to innovate across the depth and breadth of its impressive product and solutions portfolio.
The company’s Peak hardware series represents a focal point of IGT’s slate of new product introductions. The sleek, functional and performance-tested PeakBarTop cabinet was recently launched in casinos across the U.S. Backed by an extensive library of the most popular video poker games of all time and a range of new and proven slots, keno and roulette games, the PeakBarTop is the ideal way for operators to modernize the player experiences and to introduce cashless gaming-enabled technology to the bartop environment. Another recently launched product from IGT’s portfolio is the PeakSlant49 cabinet. With a progressively curved, 49-inch display and a range of other tech-advanced features that enhance the player experience, IGT’s PeakSlant49 cabinet is an IGT innovation bright spot. Fortune Coin Boost! was the first game made available on the PeakSlant49 that will be followed by a strong content pipeline that includes titles such as Bubble Blast Link and Dragon Lights.
IGT customers will soon experience the unveiling of the eye-catching and performance-driven PleakSlant32 cabinet. With three, full-HD, seamlessly integrated screens, the PeakSlant32 offers an immersive backdrop for gripping game graphics and the option for synched dynamic attract content in the unit’s top box. This cabinet is also supported by range of compelling core video games such as Wolf Run Gold, Wu Dragon and Treasure Box.
Another anticipated cabinet from IGT’s Peak hardware family is the PeakSlant with Wheel cabinet—a vibrant, wheel-topped variation of the PeakSlant49 cabinet designed specifically for Wheel of Fortune game content including the cabinet’s launch title, Wheel of Fortune Mystery Link.
The compact Peak Terminal from IGT’s electronic table games portfolio will round out highlights from the compelling Peak hardware portfolio. In the post-COVID-19 era, this single-user ETG unit has become more relevant than ever as it enables operators to offer a range of popular table games in an environment that accommodates social distancing and to reduce table games labor costs.
IGT is leading the cashless gaming revolution with its turnkey, full-service Resort Wallet solution. As a module to the company’s leading IGT ADVANTAGE casino management system, Resort Wallet is a flexible technology that affords operators three variations of the cashless offering and helps ensure the safety of guests and employees by reducing the need for cash handling.
The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the relevance of digital gaming technologies, and IGT’s PlayDigital organization is answering the call. With a proven library of PlayCasino games made available via the company’s PlayRGS solution, IGT is ready to help its customers accelerate digital gaming growth and reach new players.
The Infinity Pilot in a dogbone configuration from Incredible Technologies.
Throughout the challenges of 2020, Incredible Technologies’ (IT) commitment to its partners and employees has never wavered, pledging to remain “In It Together,” echoing IT’s longstanding effort to help operators optimize their floors to look and feel stronger than ever.
After years of success in the Class III gaming market, IT is proud to announce that it will now offer its award-winning slot products to Class II operators. The move to enter Class II markets is a significant milestone for IT and strengthens the company’s support for tribes and their sovereignty. IT’s central-determinant system has undergone field testing at select locations while the initial rollout will be phased, targeting Class II-only markets first with IT’s signature games on Infinity Skybox and Infinity V55.
When the casino industry faced the unprecedented need for social distancing on the slot floor, IT was able to take its proven banking strategies to the next level. The success of the V55 Edge continues, with IT now providing a retrofit kit to transform standard V55 banks, noting that Edge configurations increase performance up to 25 percent. Using the same clever design techniques to think bigger, IT debuted a new bank merchandising solution with built-in social-distancing—the Universal Jumbo Edge (UJE). Rather than remove EGMs or place costly and temporary plexiglass dividers, the UJE can seamlessly slide into a vacant position using dynamic 4K video, creating a stunning slot bank package that can stand the test of time.
With proven titles in both core and premium product segments racing up performance charts, the development of unique and innovative games remains a top priority for IT.
Konami Gaming’s SeleXion Classics DIMENSION 27 cabinet featuring the Roman Tribune game.
Konami Gaming is committing its time, resources, knowledge and energy toward a strong industry return, through compelling new entertainment and leading-edge technology.
The company’s world-class development teams continue to drive top product releases to the gaming floor, in order to support casino teams facing new market forces and emerging opportunities. An expanded line of DIMENSION slot cabinets from Konami is arriving to casinos for the first time this year, as well as entirely new systems technology like Marker Trax cashless slot markers, SYNK31 Title 21 / Anti-Money Laundering (AML), and more.
Konami has readied three unique DIMENSION cabinets for 2020 launch. First shown at G2E 2019, DIMENSION 49J has shown strong success with the premiere of its premium debut series: All Aboard. The series has captured the interest and imagination of players with its larger-than-life LED merchandising and symbol-driven All Aboard feature, which offers the chance to claim increasing credit prize symbols up to nine times in the same bonus.
DIMENSION 27 is also arriving to casino floors this year, with three 27-inch monitors in 4K ultra-high definition, as Konami’s newest core cabinet. It gives players the change to enjoy four China Shores games on the same screen with China Shores Quad Spin, as well as special-edition SeleXion multi-game packs filled with certified original Konami classic titles. DIMENSION 49 will round out the year by revealing its own release pipeline of portrait-screen game content, designed to drive long-term entertainment variety and asset value to casinos.
“From DIMENSION 49J’s pipeline of premium entertainment to DIMENSION 27’s strong SeleXion mix of proven Konami classics, our goal is to bring long-term business value to operators while bringing enduring entertainment value to the player,” said Tom Jingoli, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Konami.
In terms of casino systems technology, Konami’s award-winning SYNKROS is in the midst of record-breaking growth. During the challenges of this year, SYNKROS users have leveraged the advantage of SYNKROS’ robust, agile infrastructure to deploy remote upgrades, and in one case, even a remote rollout. Casinos that use SYNKROS are activating new system-delivered tools for game sanitation, cashless wagering, and touchless authentication, to tackle present challenges quickly and completely.
Next Gaming’s BUST-A-Move Real Money Tournament can be played on iPhones and other mobile devices.
TAITO Corporation, a globally recognized pioneer in the video game industry famous for producing SPACE INVADERS, BUBBLE BOBBLE and ARKANOID, is entering the mobile e-sports arena through a partnership with Next Gaming and Celer Network.
BUST-A-MOVE Real Money Tournament is the first mobile e-sports title from this joint collaboration introducing the original bubble shooter game, BUST-A-MOVE as a 100 percent skill-based, real-money competition on mobile devices. In 1994, TAITO defined the bubble shooter game genre by introducing BUST-A-MOVE onto the arcade scene. Following a massive global success of the arcade release, many versions of the game were introduced on various consoles.
Recently, Next Gaming reimagined BUST-A-MOVE in a skill-based video slot machine format that stars Bub and Bob (the twin dragon co-stars), which will be in U.S. casinos this year. “We wanted to bring a version of our game, and others to follow, to a larger audience by tapping into Celer Network’s expertise in game distribution, network, compliance and security,” said Michael Darley, CEO of Next Gaming. “The benefits of running on a layer-2 blockchain game platform provides an extra level of security and peace of mind for our players, especially when playing for real money in the i-gaming and e-sports markets.”
The collaboration team is working on featuring a series of mobile e-sports games based on TAITO’s game titles that are loved by generations around the globe. “On its 25th anniversary, we’re honored to bring BUST-A-MOVE Real Money Tournament to the fans where they can test their skills in a real money competition directly from their personal mobile devices,” said Dr. Mo Dong, co-founder of Celer Network. “We are excited to see Celer’s advanced layer-2 blockchain scaling solution is powering this initiative.”
Additional games are expected to be released in the second half of 2020.
Lucky Trail is a new pick-and-win progressive game from Novomatic Americas.
Novomatic Americas is launching a virtual preview which will feature an array of sleek cabinets, electronic table games (ETGs), sports betting kiosks, player loyalty kiosks, video gaming technology, play-for-fun online/mobile games via Green tube, and an impressive progressive link lineup.
On the progressive side of the ledger, Novomatic Americas is introducing Golden Seas, a new Thunder Cash link game. Golden Seas will enhance the popular multi-level jackpot offering and give operators a new theme to add to the already exciting link.
The Money Party link, with fruity and juicy games, is quickly joining the booming Thunder Cash link on casino floors nationwide. Novomatic is also releasing a family of standalone progressive titles. The attractive mix of games, including Eternal Mandarin Ducks, Royal Crane and Noble Peacock, will be available across multiple cabinets and is sure to attract a wide range of players. In addition, Dancing Tiger and Dancing Lantern’s desirable jackpot mechanics and entertaining trigger features will keep players laughing and playing while their jackpot pays.
The Novoline Ji Deng Gao Zhao link will hit later in the year with Lucky Trail, a pick-and-win progressive whereby picking a lucky lantern can light up a good fortune. The concept features the Lucky Twist link with Lucky Twist Matrix-Dynamite Dragon, and Lucky Twist wheel-Money Ki Neko, two features that will keep players’ luck hot while entering the matrix or getting the wheels spinning.
The NOVOSTAR V.I.P. 3.65 is a big hit in the Illinois VGT market. This big game produces tremendous fun. Attendees can also experience the new VGT myACP for Illinois and Pennsylvania. It is popular with widely dispersed route operators, thanks to an easily implemented tool for performance management and maintenance, as well as the new Novo Rewards player loyalty module.
Scientific Games (SG) is innovating and delivering the necessary systems, solutions and cutting-edge products that empower casino partners to operate safely and efficiently, and to create a state-of-the-art gaming experience for their players.
New slot products include the Kascada, the next generation of the top-selling TwinStar J43 and built on a legacy of revolutionary portrait cabinets. The Kascada will launch with games based on some of Scientific Games’ most celebrated brands, including Coin Combo, a progression of Duo Fu Duo Cai, and MONOPOLY Money Grab, featuring one of the most successful slot themes of all time.
A robust pipeline of proven content leveraging SG’s recent successes is also debuting, including new themes in the popular Super Colossal Reels, Drop & Lock, and Ultra Hot Mega Link series. Also, a new Quick Hit Blitz Multi-game and Ultimate Fire Link Power 4 game are adding new dimensions to these red-hot series.
New series featuring leading-edge game mechanics will also be debuting, including Kraken Unleashed, Powerball Superbank, and 123 Wild, a series developed by the same studio that created 88 Fortunes and Dancing Drums, available soon on the sleek new TwinStar Matrix. The dazzling new TwinStar 5RM will also showcase an engaging new Locked & Loaded series, a mechanical reel adaption of the hit Lock It Link mechanic.
Solutions that address the operating safety and efficiency challenges that casinos are facing, include Social Distancing and Automated Game Sanitization modules, cardless and cashless gaming through the Unified Wallet mobile application, and an automated player gift fulfillment program with Player Boutique.
The company’s latest electronic table game innovation, Quartz Hybrid, features a 26.5-inch LCD HD flush-mounted player touchscreen, and allows players to wager concurrently on up to eight games.
The Synergy Blue 2600 cabinet series.
Inspired by Atari but built with today’s players in mind, Synergy Blue’s new 2600 cabinet series combines the immersive experience of an arcade with the excitement of wagering to provide the quality and engagement levels that players have come to expect. Nostalgic design and unique accent lighting draw new players in, while interactive arcade-style games keep them engaged and leaderboard features, as well as enticing bonus rounds, keep them coming back for more.
Built on the patented HAWG platform, the 2600 cabinet line is compatible with Synergy Blue’s expansive library of skill-influenced games. With familiar classics like Mahjong, mobile styles like Lucky Candy Ca$h, and the latest in multiplayer games such as Joyride Jackpot—Synergy Blue has something for every type of gamer and gambler.
On the 2600XL cabinet, Joyride Jackpot blends the familiar fun of an arcade driving game with the thrill of gambling on the casino floor. Coupled with arcade-style hardware—including a realistic steering wheel and foot pedals—Synergy Blue provides a completely immersive experience. The new cabinet line can support a variety of interactive peripheral devices, from traditional touchscreen or button styles to a driver configuration or an arcade shooter, each designed to excite new players with arcade style fun and gambling excitement.
The cabinets in the 2600 line come standard with Blue Safe Touch technology, ensuring confidence in personal health and safety. Patent pending antimicrobial/germ inhibiting particles are embedded in paint and plastic surfaces, as well as antiviral/antibacterial touch surfaces and UVC air filtration—which meet rigorous standards from the U.S. EPA, E.U. BPR, ISO and JIS.
The 2600 cabinet series is UL/CE/FCC certified, compatible with industry standard peripheral devices, designed for serviceability, and available in 40-inch wide-set, 28-inch standard, or bar-top options. A limited quantity of for-sale 2600ST units will be available in Q4 2020.