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November 1, 2014

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5 themed slot machines that reel in the players

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Steve Marcus

Attendees look over slot machines at the Bally booth during the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) at the Las Vegas Convention Center Tuesday, November 16, 2010.

Walking across a casino floor can at times be like a walk through Hollywood history. Themed slot machines inspired by television shows, movies and celebrities have become increasingly common.

This week, Bally Technologies announced a Michael Jackson-themed machine that the company will debut at the 2011 Global Gaming Expo, which begins Monday. For casinos, slot machines are some of the highest grossers and the popularity of the themed slots can generate significant revenue. Here’s a look at some of top-played machines in local casinos:

    • Wheel of Fortune Slot Machine
      /Courtesy of IGT

      Wheel of Fortune

      In 1997, International Game Technology produced the “Wheel of Fortune” game with a bonus wheel and sound effects from the popular television game show. Unlike many themed-slots that fade in popularity in a few years, “Wheel of Fortune” continues to be a top performer. Many versions of the game released, some attached to a progressive jackpot. Even large eight-player machines can be found at some casinos, where the players sit at the same unit, each with their own monitor. When one player hits the bonus round, all players are included in that bonus if they’ve made the required minimum bet during that spin.

    • Betty Boop Love Meter
      /Courtesy of Bally Technologies

      Betty Boop’s Love Meter

      Featuring the 1930s cartoon icon Betty Boop, the Love Meter is a multi-progressive machine that has several bonus features. The main feature, “How Hot Are You?”, involves a touchscreen display. Players place their hands on the display to register their “romantic potential.” The bonus can lead to one of the three progressives displayed on the machine tower. Due to Betty Boop’s popularity, Bally Technologies will unveil Betty Boop’s Fortune Teller this week.

    • Sex and the City Slot Machine
      /Courtesy of IGT

      Sex and the City

      The “Sex and the City” slot machine came about when HBO’s licensing chief, James Costos, pitched the idea to IGT in 2008. The pink, sparkling machines feature the leading ladies of the franchise and landed on casino floors in 2009, becoming an instant hit. The virtual digital-slot has several bonus rounds featuring pink cosmopolitans, diamonds and Mr. Big congratulating you on your winnings.

    • The Hangover Slot Machine
      /Courtesy of IGT

      The Hangover

      Last year, IGT and Warner Bros. teamed up for a “Hangover” slot machine, which was unveiled with the release of the sequel to the hit movie starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha. The game features character-themed progressive bonuses and bonuses based on memorable moments from the movie — a Stun Gun bonus, Wedding Chapel bonus, Mr. Chow’s Freaky Free Games and the Deal in the Desert bonus, among others. Base game wilds are awarded when a police cruiser, an SUV, a tiger paw swipe, a mattress, or Mr. Chow enters the screen and randomly converts game symbols to wilds.

    • Playboy Hotzone Slot
      /Courtesy of Bally Technologies

      Playboy Hot Zone

      Playboy fans who dream of playing with animated Playmates have made this five-reel slot a hit. The game features Bally’s patented Hot Zone Play Mechanic, in which an overlay appears over reels and all symbols under the overlay become wild — earning credits — and the game sometimes shows a dance from Playboy kingpin Hugh Hefner and his busty companions.

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    1. Those giant eight-player "Wheel of Fortune" machines are a great idea because they have those small bench seats. They're supposed to be for couples (read: bored spouse), but morbidly obese people love them because they're the only slot machines that they can fit into to play. Not to mention that for either the elderly or morbidly obese that since the space between seats are so spread out, players get convenient parking spots for their electric scooters.

      If manufacturers and casinos are smart, they'll recognize these facts and use the design aspects again in the future for niche slot machine zones. First it was High-Limit, and years later it was Non-Smoking slots. Scooter parking and large seats for big people are the next big trend in convenience gambling marketing.