Do online slots hold the (room) key to internet poker's future?
We’ve long believed around these parts it’s all about slots. Not that we play the no-armed bandits, but more and more often it seems like we won’t get fully legalized online poker in the United States until we have legalized online slots.
While play-for-free slots are nothing new in our gaming space — Zynga’s been getting 13-year-old kids to learn the gambling foundation that is slot play for more than a year now — what is new is attaching your pulls to casino comp points, which effectively serve as a casino corporation’s own private currency. And you can see that advancement in some of the ads Facebook is serving up to at least a few of us.
It wasn’t enough that slot machines with the likenesses of Judge Judy, Spider-Man, Dolly Parton, top NASCAR drivers, and the Oompa Loompas will be unveiled at this week’s Global Gaming Expo.
The legendary rock band Kiss didn’t want to be left out of the picture.
No word, however, if band members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons will be decked out in full Kiss makeup and costume when they introduce the machine Tuesday at the WMS Industries booth at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
Gaming equipment manufacturing industry leaders believe this year’s four-day trade show and conference is focused more on the game, rather than the economic downturn that has depressed sales of new slot machines going back four years.
INSIDE GAMING: How a Texas company competes in a Vegas casino world
The slot machine industry’s largest manufacturers in the past year have invested billions of research and development dollars in interactive gaming prototypes, social media casino efforts and systems, hoping to capitalize on the potential for legalized Internet gambling in the United States.
Multimedia Games, meanwhile, is growing the company the old fashioned way: It’s building actual slot machines.
The manufacturer could give rivals International Game Technology, Bally Technologies and WMS Industries competition for the casino floor by next year.
One analyst recently came away from meetings with company executives convinced the manufacturer is poised for years of increased game sales as it moves into major markets, including Nevada.
What has held Multimedia Games back is that it can sell slot machines only in roughly 40 percent of U.S. casino markets, primarily those run by Indian tribes.
Not that Indian gaming is a bad base.
Caesars battling Zynga for mobile players, future online gaming
The future is all about real-money slot machines. That’s my not-so-new position and I’m sticking to it — especially after some intense battles of Words with Friends gave me a glimpse of who’s spending money to get slot customers.
Check it out … two competing ads currently appearing on Zynga’s free version of Words with Friends …
Bally's recommended for June approval
Can we actually say it yet? December 2012, we’re gonna get not just online poker but full-on online casinos, complete with slot machines and sportsbetting, and maybe even regular-ole made-for-kids video games for money. OK, maybe I’m gettin’ carried away … but it sure does seem that way when a company like Bally’s seems slated for the first online gaming license in Nevada.
Bally Technologies, of course, is the publicly traded Las Vegas-based slot manufacturer who got their start in pinball and video games (including Space Invaders and Pac-Man) and recently wowed the gaming world with introduction of their Michael Jackson slot machine in 2011. Earlier this year, Bally purchased Chili Poker’s parent company’s open-source online gaming platform.
A little self-promotion … check out the latest issue of Southwest Spirit magazine. The cover story is a feature on cruises. Scroll about 4/5 down the page; yours truly speaks as an expert on all things gambling … and give my tips to cruisers on how to enjoy the most bang for their ocean-gambling buck at not just Texas Hold’em, but also slots, blackjack, and roulette.
LOL, if only they really knew …
Pick up a copy in a Southwest Airlines seat back near you.
UPDATE: Cruisers beware of pirates.