Mikohn to develop new wide area progressives

January 15, 2002 6:55 AM
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Las Vegas-based Mikohn Gaming announced last week that it is developing a wide area progressive (WAP) slot system to compete with others such as Megabucks and Wheel of Fortune.

“We’re currently developing special hardware that will make our system ”˜bulletproof,’ and will launch the system with a brand new game,” Steve Romeo, Mikohn’s director of marketing told GamingToday. “We haven’t set a definite timetable, but look for the system’s debut in the last half of the year.”

Wide area progressive slot systems link slot machines at various casinos to create a jackpot pool that can reach the millions of dollars.

According to David Thompson, Mikohn’s chairman and chief executive officer, the system will use much of the same technology developed by Mikohn for the TAB Limited wide area progressive now operating in Australia.

Although this is Mikohn’s first venture into wide area progressives, the company has extensive experience networking slot machines at separate locations via its CasinoLink products, which are operational in four Canadian provinces, Europe, Russia and Australia.

“We see the wide area progressive system as a natural integration of our systems business with our expanding array of highly popular branded slot games,” Thompson said. “Our talented developers are already focusing on creating unique and appealing games to be offered on our WAP system.”

Romeo said the WAP system will kick off with a new game, currently under development, but could also include existing Mikohn games. They include Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Battleship, Clue and other highly-interactive slot games.

One game currently under development is Trivial Pursuit, which could be among the WAP progressives. “Our trivia-based games are gangbusters right now,” Romeo said.

To assist in the development of the WAP, Mikohn has hired veteran casino executive Charles Lombardo as a consultant.

“Charlie is one of the true gurus of slot operations,” Thompson said. “We are fortunate to have the benefit of his vast experience and expert advice in developing, refining and fine-tuning our system.”

Lombardo noted that Mikohn is fully-equipped to successfully operate a WAP because of its operations that include casino signage, progressive jackpot systems, slot networking and game content.

“I am very pleased to be working with Mikohn’s highly talented team in designing and developing a wide area progressive system that I believe is destined to become one of the industry’s top performers,” Lombardo said.

Most recently, Lombardo served as vice president of slot operations at Caesars Palace, and he enjoys more than 22 years of experience in slot departments, mostly from Park Place Entertainment and its former companies.