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Slot Machines / IGT / WMS Gaming / Aristocrat / SHFL / Bally Technologies / Business / Gambling / → All Tags
Is there anything less exciting than talking about mergers and acquisitions when it comes to gambling? That’s debatable, but we're going to do it anyway. Last night, video poker and slot machine manufacturer, IGT entered into a definitive merger agreement with Italian lottery company, GTECH S.p.A. This wasn’t quite a merger as much as it was GTECH purchasing IGT for more than $6 billion in cash and stock.
So, now what? Not much will change for slot machine and video poker players that are familiar with IGT’s games. You can go about your day without worry unless you, a friend or a relative work with or at IGT. This and other mergers and acquisitions in the gaming space have been made to maximize corporate efficiencies. The slot machines, video poker games and systems that IGT offers complement the services and products that GTECH offers. There will be some overlap and that will be dealt with when the merger actually takes place. When the purchase goes through, the new IGT/GTECH company will be called NewCo.
Gambling / Vegas Observations / Slot Machines / Baccarat / Poker / Video Poker / Roulette / Craps / Blackjack / → All Tags
The American Gaming Association polls casino visitors every year to to see who they are and what they enjoy. One of our favorite survey questions focuses on what casino games people like to play the most. You can expect some differences than what you'd typically expect to see in Las Vegas since there are more slot machine-only casinos across the country. Here's how it breaks down:
David Copperfield has had us hypnotized at MGM Grand for years now with his stage production, but you don't need to buy a ticket to see him work his magic, anymore. He's now a permanent fixture on the casino floor thanks to the David Copperfield slot.
Behold, the "Magic of David Copperfield" game in all its towering eyebrow-tastic majesty!
Gambling / Global Gaming Expo / Centipede / Slot Machines / IGT / Gamblit Gaming / G2E / → All Tags
This writer grew up playing Centipede at the bodega down the street so this was especially exciting. While my excitement for a Centipede bonus round was high, my expectations were limited. At the time, skill-based slot machines still needed approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission before any of us would be able to yell out pew pew pew while playing a bonus round.
Slot Machines / IGT / Gambling / Tokidoki / → All Tags
If ever a slot came close to skating the line between courting the young and the young at heart, it's likely the forthcoming Tokidoki game by IGT. Bright and colorful like any of the other machines that fill casino floors, it's the brand's cute cartoon-like characters that have a legion of fans, ranging from children to grandparents but mostly within the 16 to 25 demographic.
Inspired by Japanese culture and art, Tokidoki's Simone Legno creates fantasy worlds in which the morals of friendship, individuality and creativity play central roles and where children are referenced often. Punkstar features a "band of neighborhood kids that got together to restore an abandoned karaoke machine factory into the ULTIMATE hangout." The characters of Moofia fight against "schoolyard bullies" while Cactus Friends armor themselves in cactus suits because "kids are naive and vulnerable and need protection." Other kid-attractive worlds include Donutella & Her Sweet Friends (where sugar holds energy), UnicornO (unicorns that chill in a magic kingdom), and 'Til Death Do Us Part (where goth is adorbs).
Slot Machines / Gambling / Bridesmaids / IGT / Stratosphere / → All Tags
Do you (insert your name here) take this slot machine in good spins and in bad? For richer and for poorer until a zero balance do you part?
The slot machine based on the 2011 blockbuster movie, Bridesmaids, is finally in Las Vegas after making its debut in a few other markets first. Right now, you'll only find it at the Stratosphere, but we're sure Bridesmaids will soon be spotted all around town just like its real-life counterparts. Casino Journal describes the playing experience as so:
Gambling / Casinos / Slot Machines / Players Clubs / Free Play / → All Tags
To gain more players, casino operators are doling out more free play to players club members. Free play can be free bets at the tables, but are more often slot dollars for use in a slot or video poker machine. These offers aren't open-ended. They're usually set for specific dates and are usually redeemed by inserting a players club card into a machine. Larger players may receive promo chips for one time use.
While a few extra bucks may not make you choose to take a Vegas vacation, it may help sway where you stay if room rates are equal. In exchange for giving out copious free play to casino guests over the past few years, casino operators also decided to tighten slot machines to the point where they can still make money from guests. Sneaky casinos!
Gambling / Blackjack / Slot Machines / Venetian / Club Grazie / Rio Las Vegas / → All Tags
It could be tunnel vision, but ever since Venetian switched low limits blackjack to pay 6:5, the games are virtually empty. In fact, besides on the weekend, all of the low limits tables that aren’t craps seem eerily quiet. The high limits 3:2 blackjack games, however, have been doing brisk business as usual. Nothing has changed there.
While walking towards the beautiful sportsbook recently, this writer noticed the Dealers Angel blackjack machine. This video blackjack machine has seats for five players, but nobody was playing when I walked by. A quick check of the rules showed that this video blackjack game paid 3:2 for blackjack and that the dealer stays on 17. These are great rules for the player. Even better is that the minimum bet is $5. This video blackjack game is one of the best low limits blackjack games you’ll find anywhere in Vegas.
Downtown Vegas / Downtown Grand / High Limits / Baccarat / Blackjack / Video Poker / Slot Machines / → All Tags
The High Limits rooms at Downtown Grand have been closed for a couple of weeks for reconfiguring. This isn't a renovation, just some shuffling around. This was probably a good idea as neither room ever appeared busy. Even though the sign still says "888 Baccarat" for now, the room no longer houses baccarat. The 888 Baccarat room is now home to all of the High Limit slot machines and video poker games.
The original High Limit room is now higher limit table games with two mini pits of three tables that form a circle. One half of the six-table pit is baccarat and the other is blackjack. This semi-circle allows players to be more removed from staring at a wall, although that wall is still pretty close. The High Limit room at Downtown Grand is so small -- how small, is it? -- that a wall isn't very far away. In real estate they'd call this "cozy."
It's fun reading research reports about gambling. Sometimes, we'll look at numbers that lead us to good or bad odds in the casino. Other times, like today, the reports are about the people who are gambling, something that can make us take a good look in the mirror. Who are we? Why are we gambling? Get off our lawn? Hmmm.
Between November and December of 2006, UNLV Gaming surveyed slot machine players in the US. That data was released last year at the 15th International Conference on Gambling and Risk. The full breakdown of who plays what kind of slot machines is eye-opening. The thing that caught this writer's attention is that slot machine players were categorized in four ways.
Gambling / The Orleans / Hard Rock / The Palms / Silverton / Sam's Town / Boulder Station / Arizona Charlie's / Boulder Strip / Off Strip / Slot Machines / Loose Slots / → All Tags
As part of our search for the best gambling odds, we constantly seek the best blackjack, craps and video poker games. Generally, slot machines aren’t high on the list for gamblers seeking the best odds in a casino. Slot machine payback is referred to in a different language. People aren't looking for slot machines with the smallest house advantage. They're looking for loose slots. Loose slots have the highest returns (yay) while tight slots have the lowest (boo).
So, where can you find the loosest slots in Vegas? Exactly where you think and probably not where you visit. The second best slot machine returns in the country are found just off the Vegas Strip. Off Strip casinos like The Orleans, Hard Rock, Palms and Silverton have slot machines that return 94.64% of the money played.