Mikohn to produce Latino-theme slots

Feb 24, 2004 5:48 AM

Mikohn Gaming is teaming up with Star Slots International to produce a line of slot machines with Hispanic themes and/or celebrities.

The first slots will feature the likenesses of superstars Julio Iglesias and Celia Cruz.

"Our partnership with Star Slots offers us a unique opportunity to develop highly entertaining game content, featuring such Latino icons as Julio Iglesias and Celia Cruz," said Bob Parente, Mikohn’s executive vice president of sales and marketing.

"The explosive growth of the Hispanic market nationwide has outpaced any other group, and this, coupled with the continued expansion of gaming nationwide, provides opportunities for us to address a new and exciting market."

Officials at Star Slots agreed that the Hispanic market is a formidable one, and the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population.

"As the fastest growing demographic segment in the USA, if not worldwide, the Hispanic population has tremendous buying power, with nearly 40 million consumers and $500 billion in buying power in the U.S. alone," said Carlos Barba, founder of Star Slots International and entertainment industry pioneer. "Yet, to date, it is a market segment that is largely unaddressed by the gaming industry.

"We feel our partner, Mikohn, is demonstrating its vision and leadership by establishing a partnership with SSI for the right to develop slot games based on the leading Hispanic entertainment franchises. Through this partnership, Mikohn is affording themselves a unique opportunity to lead this industry and unleash the potential of this untapped and potentially unlimited market segment."

In addition to Julio Iglesias and Celia Cruz, Star Slots has an extensive portfolio of prominent Hispanic icons for broad licensing in the casino, lottery and phone card industries.

Other SSI celebrities and sports figures include Tito Puente, Pele, Roberto Duran, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jorge Porcel, Julio Cesar Chavez, Cantinflas, Los Tigres del Norte, Maradona, Joan Gabriel and many more.

While Hispanic leaders applaud the move to include Latinos on slot machines, some feel there is much more than can be done to tap the Hispanic market.

"A casino such as the old Castaways would make a great Hispanic-themed casino," said Reuben Navarro, a Latino gaming advocate in Las Vegas. "By incorporating Latino themes, restaurants, entertainment and bilingual staff throughout, you would have a casino that would be filled by Hispanics around the clock.

"There really isn’t any other place geared primarily toward the Hispanic customer," he continued. "If you fashion this theme correctly, you would have a gold mine."