IGT Takes Slot Technology to New Level

30 July 2003

The evolution of slot machines from mechanical reels with pictures of bells, cherries, and oranges to computer driven video marvels of modern technology isn't over.

International Game Technology (IGT), the world's leading developer and manufacturer of slot machines with over 70 percent of the market in the United States, will soon unveil a new generation of games which the company is calling "The Mother of All Slots".

The basic premise of playing slots may be easy, but the creation of the games borders on rocket science. Last year, for example, IGT invested $80.2 million in research and development as well as in the construction of a production facility that rivals a major motion picture studio.

The new studio will make it possible for IGT to incorporate a broader use of popular television shows, movie actors and entertainment personalities, and associated sound effects and voice-overs, to create a new wave of slot machines that will bring innovations in personality and interactive play to slot machines.

The new machines will accentuate audio as much as video. For example, in 1999 slot machines produced by IGT had an average of 15 sound effects. Today and in the next generation, they may have 500 to 700 sound effects emitted through two ear-level speakers and a subwoofer.

IGT's new games include a Rodney Dangerfield theme, with voice-overs by the comedian such as: "Thanks a lot. Your kids didn't need college anyhow." or "Thanks. Now I have some drinking money."

There's also a new generation of the popular Wheel of Fortune format in which players will be interactive with Pat Sajak and Vanna White, even to the point of solving puzzles with the co-stars and getting a turn at spinning the wheel.

Reasons to celebrate in Joliet: The Riverboat Gambling Act was signed into law in February of 1990, making Illinois only the second state in the nation (after Iowa) to legalize what was destined to become the catalyst for an unprecedented decade-long expansion of casino gambling across the nation.

The licenses, it was agreed upon by legislators, would be used to revitalize economically depressed regions of the state. The City of Joliet was the recipient of two of those licenses, with both the Empress Casino (now Argosy) and Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. being granted contracts to construct properties on the banks of the Des Plaines River.

In the 10 years that the riverboat casino gaming industry has operated in Joliet, it is apparent the intent of the 1990 Gambling Act has been fulfilled. As a June 2001 story in the New York Times noted: "In a single decade, (Joliet) has burst into the ranks of the nation's boom towns."

Harrah's Joliet Casino & Hotel has spearheaded the Joliet Renaissance by investing more than $200 million in the property since it opened in 1993. Today, Harrah's executives will be joined by local political and civic leaders to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Harrah's Joliet.

A luxurious 200-room hotel opened at the property in 1999. Two years later, Harrah's Joliet became the first license holder in Illinois to open a spacious single level dockside casino.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.