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Aristocrat, Station ink exclusive slot deal

Oct 7, 2003 8:35 AM

Australia-based Aristocrat Technologies, the world’s second largest slot manufacturer behind IGT, has inked an exclusive agreement with Station Casinos to introduce its new Jeff Foxworthy slot game in its 11 Las Vegas casinos.

"Once again, Station Casinos is offering its guests the exclusive opportunity to play the new Jeff Foxworthy games in advance of their widespread release," said Dan Roy, Station’s vice president of slot operations. "Many have enjoyed Jeff Foxworthy’s sense of humor and Aristocrat has successfully transformed that into a very exciting video game with fun and entertaining bonus rounds."

Under terms of the agreement, the Jeff Foxworthy slot ”” which was recently approved for distribution in Nevada by state regulators ”” won’t be made available to other off-Strip properties for 45 days.

Strip casinos, however, will be allowed to introduce the Jeff Foxworthy game within a shorter period of time.

Aristocrat gave Station Casinos the first opportunity to showcase the new slot because of Station’s large and loyal player base, according to Kent Young, Aristocrat’s vice president of marketing.

"Of course, Station is a fine company with first-class casinos," Young said. "Plus they have a repeat player market, which suited our marketing profile."

The Jeff Foxworthy video slot is Aristocrat’s first foray into the branded, celebrity-themed slot market. In the past, Aristocrat, which pioneered video slot games when everyone was still manufacturing stepper slots, had relied on creating its own brands, which have been marketed successfully around the world.

Only within the past two years has Aristocrat begun to tap the U.S. and North American casino market.

Young said the Jeff Foxworthy game, which was a hit at last month’s G2E convention in Las Vegas, was a perfect fit for Aristocrat.

"We thought Jeff was the right choice — he’s a popular entertainer and he uses multiple characters that worked well within our format," Young said. "Plus, Jeff Foxworthy had the demographic profile that would be attractive to the customers we are targeting."

The new game is a hysterical, five-reel, 20-line game that features Foxworthy’s voice and likeness, combined with an array of "redneck" symbols including an outhouse, moonshine jug, beer can and broken down pick-up truck.

The game includes several levels of bonus plays, a feature that Aristocrat has used on many of its other offerings.

"Bonusing is key," Young said. "When you have a high frequency of bonus rounds, there’s much more entertainment for the player."

Young said that another game that will soon be introduced into Nevada casinos is its newest progressive, Millioni$er, which gives players a chance to win $1 million on a penny slot.

Young added that the Millioni$er game is not an anomaly — penny denomination games represent a growing trend.

"Over half our games at last month’s G2E were one-cent denomination, a direct reflection of the industry’s move to penny slots as a way to increase time on a device and create more winning excitement for players," Young said. "As pioneers of the penny slot, we’ve committed significant resources to developing products for that niche."

Young said that he expects that "eventually, the majority of slot games" will be penny-denomination games.

"In some markets we serve, 90 percent are penny games," Young said.

Young points out that penny slots are unlike the reel machines of the 1960s and ”˜70s, when players plunked pennies into reel-spinning games.

Today’s machines often feature multi-line, multi-coin options that can involve betting hundreds of credits at a time.

"The penny machines offer lots of entertainment value and lots of volatility," Young said.

Other breakthrough games that Aristocrat introduced at the expo were Arishinko, a pachinko-style slot game with a bonus prize bucket and second-screen bonuses, and Lil Lucy, a bonus game with five random, second-screen bonus games.