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October 23, 2014

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GAMING:

Players, fans take new Michael Jackson slot machine for a spin

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Yasmina Chavez

Victoria Falcon (in red) and Cecilia Isberg (in black) donned Michael Jackson costumes July 7, 2012, at Treasure Island to help Bally promote a new slot machine themed after the King of Pop. The Michael Jackson slot just began hitting the Las Vegas casinos within the past two weeks.

Tete Johnson let out a squeal like she'd won a progressive jackpot, which on the new Michael Jackson slot was worth more than $465,000.

To the Chicago woman, the $60.80 she'd won was a thriller in itself, considering it came on a free spin being handed out Saturday to promote the new slot themed for the late King of Pop.

"My birthday is Tuesday and this was like a pre-birthday present, thanks to Michael," Johnson said in at Treasure Island.

Johnson doesn't usually gamble when in Las Vegas, but she was drawn to the slot by the game named after one of her favorite musical artists, who will break into song and video when players hit the bonus.

"I love anything having to do with Michael Jackson," she said.

The slot, manufactured by Bally Technologies, was unveiled last fall. But after going through regulatory testing, it just began hitting the casino floors of Las Vegas within the past two weeks.

The soundtrack of the game, including some of Jackson's greatest hits, was specially mixed at Bally studios to pay tribute to pop icon. It features surround sound blasting from the game console and from speakers inside high-backed chairs which also pulsate with the music.

Latasha Sackie of Dallas, Johnson's cousin, does play slots and said she appreciated the ease of the new game.

"It's fun and easy — I like simple games," she said. "Here, you have two buttons, either this or that."

Saturday's free play is one of about 100 such promotions Bally does each year across the U.S. and Canada to promote new games.

It worked, at least for Sackie.

"I will definitely play this again," she said, beaming.

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