At Gold Coast Casino, if there’s a coin-shaped Abe Lincoln wearing shades on penny games featuring a hippo, buffalo or Dolly Parton, we’re discussing a different type of big.
“When penny players play slots, they want to get bonus games,” said Brian Shultz, VP of marketing for Boyd Gaming. “It used to be they played to win jackpots. Jackpots don’t really carry bonus games. We have installed a system where players will be entertained and experience more bonuses more often.”
Gold Coast accomplished this by making Lincoln “Cool Abe” and transporting the iconic U.S president from Civil War days into the 21st century.
“We had him here (not the real Lincoln, which would be a story for all-time) introducing the promotion during the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) back in December and he was also on the bucking bronco out at Sam’s Town,” Shultz said. “He’s on every machine that carries more bonuses.”
These bonuses are featured on selected 1-cent games around the casino floor called Penny Lane. The bonuses will appear on the game in a number of ways – like in a NASCAR race or U-spin wheel. And these bonuses will be in progress on the screen while you are still playing the regular game.
This bonus feature is just for penny slots. Other casino games like video poker, craps and blackjack are not part of this particular package.
“Penny games are very popular here at Gold Coast because of all the bonuses,” Shultz said. “On the selected games there is a meter, and when it gets full the player has earned the bonus.”
Not every game in the casino has Cool Abe posted on the machine. Management makes that determination based on the popularity of the game as recorded in data off player use.
The Buffalo Stampede, generally regarded as one of the most popular penny slots in any casino, tops the list of machines showing Cool Abe. Thunderhorn (featured the hippo), Van Helsing, Lil Red and the new Dolly Parton slot also carry the Cool Abe seal of approval.
“The bonuses are all extra and show up on the player cards in terms of points or cash,” Shultz said. “So it’s the game and more.”
There is another version of the extra bonuses in the form of the old Skee Ball game, but it is still being worked on.
NASCAR is also a part of the promotion. Dale Earnhardt Jr. completes against Matt Kenseth and several other drivers in a virtual race. If the player picks the winner, naturally the bonus is higher.
“It’s all part of the entertainment value that Boyd Gaming wishes to give its players who enjoy playing penny slots,” Shultz said. “We have had a lot of positive feedback from our customers and will be adding more games to the extra bonuses as we continue to learn which are the most popular games played.”
Ask any player and that person will probably say the most popular game is the one they can win. Boyd’s idea of more bonuses in Penny Lane is a noble attempt to make that happen.
Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at [email protected].