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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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A Slot Machine By Any Other Name....

11 January 2000

Have you noticed the difference in the way slot machines are marketed? Gone is the emphasis on traditional reel slots with game formats that vary in appearance but are pretty much standard in substance. The popular trend now is video display terminals, games within games, multiple-coin spin formats, and most predominant of all, licensing agreements with game manufacturers and television shows.

International Game Technology was the first to jump on the bandwagon with its ultra-popular Wheel of Fortune slot machine variety, followed by the introduction of its Jeopardy game line. Now they've recently unveiled machines with an Elvis Presley theme. The common denominator among all the games is the world-wide, grass roots, vast appeal the themes enjoy among the population.

The latest revolution in "electronic gaming devices" took place when Williams Gaming, Inc. entered into a licensing agreement with Hasbro, Inc. to produce a line of MONOPOLY-themed slot machines. All indications point to their being a huge success on casino floors across America.

Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy are two of the most popular, widely watched television shows of all time. MONOPOLY is one of the oldest and most popular board games of all time. Their appeal, name, and trademark recognition is broad based.

When slot machine manufacturers go to icons of American pop culture as a means of re-inventing themselves, we as consumers must run up a caution flag.

At the same time the famous MONOPOLY trademark is being used in conjunction with a new line of slot machines, you can see it connected with an on-going promotion at McDonald's Restaurants.

Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and Monopoly all conjure up images of games in people's minds and actually de-emphasize "gambling". We think of people of all ages playing them for fun, and when we play we expect that winners and losers are determined randomly by luck, and in the case of Jeopardy, a degree of skill.

When it comes to transferring their appeal to gambling however, always remember that a slot machine by any other name is still a slot machine. A slot machine exists to make money for its manufacturer and for the casino in which it sits. They are, in fact, by the nature of the computer program which governs each one of them, GUARANTEED to make money for the casino.

Don't be tricked into thinking that just because a machine has a popular game format that winning or losing is any different than playing traditional reel machines. It's still a gamble. Granted, the players collectively win, but individual players get no such guarantee.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp