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Best of John G. Brokopp

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WMS Gaming keeps doing what it does best

17 October 2007

WMS Gaming, one of the world's leading slot machine creators, devotes its energy to turning out what it perceives as the most entertaining, interactive, sensory-appealing slot games in the business.

All it takes is a look at gaming floors in casinos around the country to conclude it is a successful business plan.

The Waukegan, Illinois based company stakes its reputation on making the games people love to play. Executives at the recently opened Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Michigan, took notice and devoted 18 percent of its massive 3,000 slot machine inventory to WMS product.

WMS, like rival Bally Technologies, was founded in Chicago. Both companies started as pinball manufacturers. WMS, which was then known as Williams Gaming, got into the slot business in 1992. Four years later it introduced a revolutionary video game called Reel 'em In, which started the multi-line, multi-coin, secondary bonus craze and changed the way people play slots.

Ongoing investment in technology at WMS continues to take the video gaming genre to new heights, including Sensory Immersion Gaming (Top Gun), which combines 3D graphics with a BOSE 3Space audio system, and Transmissive Reels Gaming (Monopoly Super Money Grab), a unique combination of reel and video technology.

Harrah's Joliet recently introduced Monopoly Super Money Grab machines, as well as the very latest technology to come out of WMS, games with a feature called "Wrap Around Pays". Available in two-cent denominations, there are six units; three themed with the "Great Eagle" game and another trio titled "King of the Wild".

"Wrap Around Pays gives the player 100 lines of action for a value proposition of fifty cents," vice president of marketing Rob Bone told me. "There are more pays and more opportunities to win. We wanted it to be simplistic. If the player gets a certain amount of symbols in a clump, they're going to get a pay."

This columnist had an opportunity to tour the WMS Technology Campus which is located on North California Avenue in Chicago. It's the research and development lifeline of the company.

"This is our creative center," Bone explained. "A little over 500 employees work out of here. I can without question say that aura within this facility at any one point in time is compelling."

Much of what is going on now is preparation for the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas Nov. 12 - 15. The new product line will be introduced, featuring not only the next generation of existing technology but innovations and enhancements that will take slot play to the next level.

WMS takes the gaming business seriously, right down to the high quality symphonic audio that accompanies each game's theme, most notable among them the towering music from "Pegasus" and the haunting, epic themes from "Great Wall".

"We have our own professional CSO level sound studios where all the music is original and unique to the games," Bone said. "We worked with Kirkegaard Associates, a world-renowned creator of acoustical environments. It's arguably one of the most robust and efficient studios in the upper Midwest if not the Northeast. It also speaks to what we're trying to do with sound and our partnership with BOSE."

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