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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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New Slot Machines Create Casino "Makeovers"

26 January 2005

One of the most significant capital investments a casino can make revolves around its inventory of slot machines. With each property in the Northwest Indiana market listing more than 2,000 units in place aboard its vessels, and those in Illinois (where there's a state-imposed restriction of 1,200 gaming positions for each license holder) accounting for over 1,000 each, you're talking about some serious money.

You needn't worry about the casinos losing anything on their investment. Each and every new machine pays for itself in no time. In recent years, however, slot machine research and development has yielded such dramatic advances in technology that the pressure is always on for casinos to purchase new products and upgrade existing ones.

For example, once "coinless" slot play was approved for casinos in Illinois and Indiana, the race was on to equip machines with paper voucher technology. It was a costly process for each of the properties, but the trade-off of eliminating the expense involved with handling tokens was probably well worth it.

The proliferation of casino gambling across the country and the establishment of new gaming jurisdictons outside of Las Vegas and Atlantic City was the impetus behind increased competition among slot machine manufacturers. Each year the companies unveil their new product line with a fanfare similar to that of automobile manufacturers introducing their new models at auto shows.

Multi-line/multi-coin video slots with interactive playing features quickly established a presence on casino floors previously dominated by the traditional reel slots. Video poker also surged in popularity and along with that popularity, new variations of the game and a higher profile in casinos nationwide.

When they were first introduced a number of years ago, video slot games manufactured by WMS Gaming were the rage. Games such as Reel 'Em In, Hot Toppings, Yukon Gold and Winning Bid, among many others, captivated the imaginations (and bankrolls) of slot players nationwide, much to the delight of the casinos that had invested in the product line.

To be sure, the machines had a long, successful and profitable run, but they are quickly disappearing and being replaced by WMS Gaming's new generation of video slots, the "Bluebird" series, featuring enhanced Bose sound systems, more player-friendly cabinets designed for comfort, enlarged and improved flat screen video technology and interactive features that keep players entertained for hours.

Casinos are eager to respond to the requests of their guests, and once one property in a particular jurisdiction introduces a new product line, you can rest assured the competition will quickly follow. This is precisely what's taking place in the Northwest Indiana and Chicago gaming market.

We are in the midst of the biggest evolution of "electronic gaming devices" in the history of gaming, Just as it is with all computer driven technology, no sooner is a new product introduced, it is rendered obsolete by what follows.

Walk into any casino in this market and you'll see the changes. Some properties are being forced to catch up with the trend setters, but eventually all them must respond to the desires of the consumers.

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