According to a quarterly survey of 73 operators of 245 casinos worldwide, the top-performing slot machines of 2012 were (in order) IGT’s Wheel of Fortune, Bally’s Michael Jackson and IGT’s Megabucks. Vegas Inc. reported that the survey, conducted by gaming researchers Todd Eilers and Frank Fantini, put IGT ahead of all slot manufacturers with 34% of total fourth quarter machine sales. Bally came second with 16% while WMS scored 9% (although WMS led all companies in leased games). Looking ahead, the feature that loomed largest on casino operators’ radar was picture-in-picture technology, such as Bally’s iView system.
On Dec. 27, Pleasantville, New Jersey slots manufacturer AC Slots (ACS) informed its over 100 employees that it would be shutting its doors after 35 years in business. That has produced a recommendation by technology testing firm Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) to pull ACS’ Axcess line of slot machines from casino floors. The Press of Atlantic City reported that GLI made the recommendation based on the fact that soon there will be no one qualified to service the machines, and questions of ownership of both the machines and their components could cause legal and regulatory headaches once ACS ceases to be. But the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has decided to allow the machines to continue operating because their own most recent inspections turned up no operational problems. As such, “it is a business decision for the casino operator” as to whether to continue using the machines.
In Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment has enlisted the help of Samsung Electronics to boost the capabilities of the slot machines on its casino floors. This month, the Las Vegas Sun reported that Samsung installed some 4,500 interactive information tags known as TecTiles to slots and gaming tables at Caesars Palace, Harrah’s, Paris Las Vegas and Planet Hollywood. By touching their smartphones to these near-field communication (NFC) tags, players can receive game tutorials and win-loss stats as well as more general info about casino amenities, including the ability to reserve tables at Pure Nightclub in Caesars Palace.