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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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High-Tech Playing Experience in Gaming's Future

10 January 2007

The casino industry is making it quite clear that it wants to change the way people gamble.

Server-based slot floors that will allow casino owners to manage their inventories of games from a central on-site location will soon be the standard. All of the leading gaming industry manufacturers are coming out with their own versions of this technology, which will revolutionize the way we play slots.

Whereas much emphasis has been placed on how server-based gaming will allow individual casino properties to change game themes, denominations and even payback percentages on slot machines at the click of a mouse, the sophistication of the system is really far more complex.

The greatest advantage of server-based gambling as perceived by casino marketing divisions is the power it gives to provide what some executives described as "ultimate bonusing," which translates into strategies to keep players at the games for longer periods of time.

This will be accomplished by adding a new dimension to playing the slots, utilizing not only the attractions of the game itself but also whatever enticements the casino communicates to players via server-based technology.

International Game Technology developed IGT Advantage Delivery Games, which includes what the company is marketing as NexGen display. One platform it previewed was a roulette game. When the bonus is triggered, every participating slot player is assigned a number on the LCD screen. Then they watch a virtual roulette wheel spin as the game is played out. Every player with the winning number receives an award.

As for the slot games themselves, the new products are clearly indicative of a trend toward what are described as "community games," as well as an even greater emphasis on linked "mystery" and multi-tier progressive machines.

The gaming industry, which successfully utilized IGT's Mega Jackpot wide-area progressives to combat the giant jackpots offered by state lotteries, is bringing back the power of small jackpots to slot products made possible by low denomination games.

Community slot machine gambling transports slot players to a social experience previously reserved for table play. One genre of games allows people to enjoy the camaraderie of playing together similar to what IGT has already successfully deployed in Las Vegas with its giant Wheel of Fortune.

WMS Gaming, on the other hand, has come out with an innovative playing experience titled Monopoly Big Event, which is already in play at casinos in Nevada. When the Big Event bonus round is triggered, every eligible player participates simultaneously with the awards they receive based on the size of their wagers.

The company has also announced plans to expand on its successful community gaming category with the development of a game based on the game show Press Your Luck, for which it has obtained the licensing rights.

CASINO NEWS: It's always a good idea to periodically check, albeit in retrospect, how the casino properties in the Chicago area compare in actual slot payback percentages. The higher the overall payback percentage, the more money returned to gamblers as a collective group. Here are the most recent figures according to the monthly revenue reports from the Illinois Gaming Board (for Oct.) and the Indiana Gaming Commission (for Nov.): 1 - Grand Victoria (93.60); 2 - Argosy's Empress (92.44); 3 - Harrah's (92.22); 4 - Hollywood (92.19); 4 (tie) - Blue Chip and Majestic Star (92.12); 5 - Majestic Star II (91.93); 6 - Horseshoe (91.48); 7 - Resorts (90.71).

Slot fans who have been waiting for Atronic's new "Deal or No Deal" multi-line video machines to hit the Windy City can find them at the Hollywood Casino in Aurora, which also recently added IGT's "All Star Poker" multi-game video poker machines with a ten-cent play option. Also new on the Hollywood floor is Hot Hot Super Jackpot 20-line reel games from WMS available in two-cent play.

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