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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Video Slots Dominate Casino Landscapes

4 December 2002

The handwriting is on casino walls everywhere: Traditional spinning-reel slot machines are soon going to be placed on gambling’s “endangered species” list.

Casino floors both in the Chicago-area and in gambling jurisdictions nationwide are being taken over by video slots that feature multi-line, multi-coin games with bonus features and interactive capabilities that give gamblers a playing experience the old generation of machines just can’t match.

Williams Gaming, an Illinois-based electronic gaming device developer and manufacturer with corporate offices in Waukegan, began the revolution in 1997 when it introduced “Reel ‘Em In”. At the time, rival company IGT (International Game Technology) was riding high with its line of spinning reel slot games, spearheaded by Red, White, & Blue Sevens, Double Diamond, and Triple Diamond.

Reel ‘Em In was an instant success. Five years later, Williams Gaming now has about 26 different video theme games in its slot arsenal. Even IGT, which was reluctant to enter the video slot bonus game market, was forced to do so a couple of years ago when the Williams line began to dominate.

Now all you have to do is step foot in any casino and marvel at the number of multi-line, multi-coin, bonus video slot games that are available. Available in nickel, dime, and quarter denominations, slot devotees who previously restricted their play to the spinning reel slots now find themselves attracted more and more to the new dimension of play.

What’s the attraction? Simple. Players love the interaction, the thrill of the choice they enjoy in the bonus rounds, and the chance to hit it big with a bonus multiplier that can mean hundreds of dollars even on the nickel games.

Traditional reel slots have lost their thrill for many players who have gravitated to the video bonus games. Three-reel games seem to pale in comparison with the nine, 15, and even 20-line new generation of slots. Video games also seem to give more entertainment value to customers than their reel cousins.

Along with the enjoyment of playing the video brands, however, can be an increased demand on gaming bankrolls. Even though you can play as many coins as you wish on most games, the biggest payoffs and the richest bonus rounds come as a result of investing as many coins close to the max as you can afford. With a 90-coin max on many of the games, that can mean a lot of money.

For example, if you’re playing a nickel game (20 coins equals $1.00), betting the 90-coin max per spin means a $4.50 investment! Forty-five coins a spin on a nickel machine adds up to $2.25. Those are hefty sums over an extended period of playing time (provided your bankroll holds out). Couple this with the inflated house edge on nickel games, sometimes as high as 10 percent, and you’re putting your gaming dollars at a greater risk when compared to quarter and dollar games.

As I have emphasized in past columns, the speed with which you play casino games has a direct influence on the severity with which you subject your bankroll to the house edge. The longer and faster you play, the more dollars and cents the house edge extracts.

With this in mind, may I offer two bits of advice when playing the video games: First, when you win and the credit meter starts running up, always let the machine proceed with this process at its own pace. Never hit the button that totals up your winnings instantaneously. It’s just a way to “buy” some time. Second, don’t speed up your play by hitting the button that stops the reels. Always let the spin play out at its own speed. This is just another way to bank some time on your behalf instead of giving it back to the casino.

Next week I’ll continue my discussion about video slots with some information and words of advice from Williams Gaming executives. It’ll prove to be enlightening reading

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