In the wake of this year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E), it would be safe to say that poker hasn’t lost its luster, table games continue to surge and slot machines are still king.
On the G2E expo floor, slot manufacturers manned the most elaborate booths, often staffed with the slinkiest hostesses and most generous no-host bars.
Of course, at center stage were hundreds of new slot and video gaming products.
IGT alone had nearly 400 new machines for conventioneers to play and examine in a deep-carpeted "booth" the size of a small casino.
Despite all the bells and whistles, it’s expected that 90 percent of the new machines will never make it as a top casino performer, or even top casino performer, or even make it to the floor of a commercial casino.
That didn’t dim the optimism of the industry’s gaming manufacturers, whose product lines featured an eclectic mix of reel, video, low denomination and bonus-happy games.
IGT christens anniversary
In celebration of its 25th anniversary, IGT launched an impressive lineup of new games, highlighted by a wealth of new penny slot themes, innovative 5-reel slots and video slots with up to 100 paylines, multi-level progressives and a new "Mega-Mystery" progressive.
Among the new Perfect for Pennies themes from IGT are Great White, King Cheetah, Persian Princess, Beachcomber, Great Plains, South Pacific, Double Bunger and Heart of Africa.
IGT video slots also showcased a number of new titles: Jewel of Arabia, Lucky Lion Fish, Festival Fantastico, Henry the 8th, Sneeki Tiki, Brew Ha Ha and Wild Goose Chase.
While the popularity of video slot games continues to surge, reel slots haven’t lost their appeal. IGT’s new MultiWay product allows players to buy reel positions rather than wagering on standard line patterns. They are represented with three "treasured" themes: Aztec Temple, Pharaoh’s Gold and Troy. Several new titles have been added under the Reel Touch banner: It’s All Greek To Me, Bobble Times, Cash Cove and El Toro.
Video poker lovers will be happy to know that IGT, under its Action Gaming subsidiary, released new video poker themes, including Double Raise Texas Hold ”˜Em, All Star Poker and Opponent Poker.
With 160 new machines and dozens of premium branded slot games, Bally Gaming debuted one its most elaborate line of slots ever.
Among the hot new titles are several new versions of Playboy, Saturday Night Live, Rocky & Bullwinkle, S&H Green Stamps and Hee Haw, along with new wide-area progressive games for QuarterMillion$, Cartoon Jackpots, Millionaire 777s and Cash for Life.
Many of the new titles are on Bally’s innovative new Alpha video platform and housed in the company’s advanced, ergonomically advanced M9000 cabinet. The latter features improved graphics, stereo sound, multi-denomination and multi-percentage features.
A key highlight of the show was Bally’s distinctive "group play" technology, reflected in two unique video slot products: Auction Fever and Estate Auction.
Both of these games realistically simulate the excitement of an online Internet auction with "bidders" furiously competing to outbid one another in the game’s fast-paced bonus round to the delight of a "seller" who initiates the linked bonus event.
Another hot item in the Bally booth was its CineVision Series of slots that creates the feeling of playing a slot machine in a classic movie theater.
The Bally booth sported a "Real and Ready" theme, meaning that about 80% of the games on display were already approved or submitted to a regulating agency.
"We are responding to our customers who have repeatedly told us that they need to prioritize their focus on products that will be available in a reasonable timeframe," said Richard Haddrill, CEO of Bally Gaming.
The company that pioneered slot bonus technology with its wildly-popular Monopoly game launched four new Monopoly branded games at G2E.
The highlight of the new Monopoly offerings was a unique gaming concept for the slot floor, which brings the communal nature and excitement of table games to slot machines under the umbrella of a new branded series — Monopoly’s Big Event.
The new Monopoly titles include three new games that extend the wide-area progressive product line, one of which is a new penny denomination progressive game, one new non-linked participation game and three new games for the Big Event line.
"In Monopoly Big Event, our game designers have created a truly unique gaming experience that combines the entertainment elements of a video slot machine with the group experience of table games where players can jointly play for and enjoy a common gaming experience," said Brian R. Gamache, president and CEO of WMS Industries.
The Big Event concept offers the first slot machine experience in which all players participate in and win the bonus round together. The series will be introduced with three new dedicated video game themes under the Monopoly brand: X Marks the Spot, Egyptian Riches and Mystical Dragon. They feature a unique stadium seating configuration surrounding a large plasma screen display.
Australia-based Aristocrat, the second largest slot maker in the world, christened a standout array of new machines and technology ,including five-reel stepper slots, high denomination progressive systems, downloadable slots and a "Mystery" jackpot system.
"Our G2E exhibit looks like the casino floor of the future, featuring our new five-reel stepper series, a range of double standalone progressive games, downloadable technology, and a new, 100 percent cashless slant-top cabinet among over 150 game titles," said Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. President Gavin Isaacs.
Among the impressive new products is a new line of double standalone progressive games, featuring dual monitors and two-tiered progressive jackpots.
The games’ sleek and sophisticated cabinet features a 19-inch, flat screen LCD monitor in the top box that displays the progressive jackpots. Game titles include Zorro, Corrida de Toros, Big Red, Agassi, and The George Lopez Game.
Combining the familiarity of a stepper game with a 20-line, five-reel video-style format, Aristocrat’s new five-reel stepper portfolio bridges the gap between stepper and video play. Popular and proven include Geisha, Sun and Moon, and Eagle Rock.
”¡ Xtreme Mystery, a progressive-controlled mystery jackpot that adds excitement by revealing the casino-selectable mystery jackpot on the 19-inch LCD top box.