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Aristocrat makes successful foray into U.S. markets

May 20, 2003 3:53 AM

Even though it’s the second largest gaming machine manufacturer in the world, Australia-based Aristocrat Technologies is just beginning to tap the U.S. casino market.

In Nevada, Aristocrat has just rolled out the red carpet for its popular Mr. Cashman bonus feature, which is available on five unique bonus games.

Mr. Cashman is an innovative bonus for slot players. Through a random trigger, the smiling Mr. Cashman can pop up after any game to give surprise bonus credits to lucky players.

Dressed to the nines in top hat and gloves, Mr. Cashman features five unique bonus games including Random Spin, where he bounces across the screen ready to spin selected wheels; and Match the Prize, a second-screen feature that has Mr. Cashman presenting 10 stars on screen which the player touches until they score a pair.

"The game is really setting the pace in lower denominations," said Kent Young, Aristocrat’s vice president of marketing. "With its second screens, high hit frequency and outstanding graphics, we expect the same kind of player appeal in Nevada."

Among the games in which customers can find the Mr. Cashman bonus feature are Double Dolphins, Scatter Magic, Mystic Arrow, Geisha and Eagle Rock, to name a few.

"We’ve taken successful games and applied the Mr. Cashman bonus on top," Young said.

Young said that Mr. Cashman is an example of Aristocrat’s strategy of producing a recognizable product or brand that becomes popular with players.

"We feel we can be successful on the casino floor with a generic brand," Young said. "Players recognize a game through its characters and other features and come into the game quickly."

Young acknowledged that, even though Aristocrat has worldwide success in producing gaming machines, it is still feeling its way into the U.S. market.

"We’re trying to do things with a focus on the customer," Young said. "We admit that we don’t know everything and are always learning. Hopefully, that will make us better."

Mr. Cashman is found on Aristocrat’s highly advanced MKVI (pronounced Mark 6) platform, which utilizes the most advanced visual and audio technology in the slot market.

The MKVI line features more than 1.67 million colors, state-of-the-art graphics that give a 3-D effect, advanced audio clarity, a synchronized 8-track sound/graphics capability and high-resolution screens.

Driving the MKVI system is increased computing power with more than 24 times more memory than other machines.

Also making a splash in Nevada casinos as well as other U.S. jurisdictions is Aristorcrat’s wide-area progressive series, Hyperlink.

The progressive slots, which are even available in penny denomination machines, include games such as Cash Express Penny Train, Double Dolphins, Geisha, Flame of Olympus, Scatter Magic and Jackpot Carnival.

Another unique concept from Aristocrat is Reel Power, a revolutionary game concept and next evolution of the video slot.

Reel Power plays differently than conventional multi-line, multi-coin slots in that the player tries to line up symbols on reels, rather than on lines.

For example, a symbol anywhere on the first reel, anywhere on the second reel and that symbol anywhere on the third reel equates to a win of a three-of-a-kind.

The innovation behind Reel Power is that it creates winning combinations by allowing symbols to be anywhere on the bought reels. In other words, Reel Power allows all winning symbols to play as scatters throughout the screen. When all reels are played, the player has up to 243 ways to win.

Although Aristocrat acknowledges that its strategy has always been to create generic brands through innovative games (rather than license rights to established brands such as TV shows or movies), it will deviate from that strategy later this year with the introduction of a line of Jeff Foxworthy slot machines.

The slot series will be Aristocrat’s first fully-licensed theme and will feature a progressive line in addition to a fully integrated slot system.

Young said that Aristocrat is also about to release four video poker games, which should find eager players in Nevada casinos. In conjunction with those video poker games will a series of bonusing features for the poker products.

"We’ve seen a lot of change in the way Aristocrat does business," Young said. "So far, early indicators are that we are performing well in jurisdictions such as California, Oregon and the Midwest.

"There’s good potential in Nevada," Young continued. "We expect to do well here."