Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Social Networking Via Slot Machines In Las Vegas?

I don't know about you, but I do not go to a casino to have a social networking experience -- I go to gamble and perhaps win some money. In fact, a snapshot of my mental state at any time while pushing the video poker buttons would be about as anti-social as one could imagine. In my semi-hypnotic state of mind, the only communication going on are thoughts like, "Why did this durn video poker machine just infuriate me by dealing four cards to the royal flush and then hold back the winning card -- twice in a row??" Sometimes I am glad that the glass protecting the video poker machine can withstand my banging fist and my purposely spilled drink. I am not a very good loser, nor am I very social while gambling. If I want "social" I would go to the craps table.

(From today's Las Vegas Sun article by Liz Benstonla.)

Slot machines way high tech

"...As for turning solitary slot playing into a community experience: International Game Technology, which is also offering wide screen slots, is building slots with shared bonus rounds that allow gamblers seated next to one another to bet on one another or compete collectively for a bonus.

Improvements in digital and reel technology are 'evolutionary rather than revolutionary,' said slot critic and gambler John Robison, who writes for the trade publication Strictly Slots.

'There's a lot more buzz about the community gaming developments because this is something that really hasn't been done before,' he said.

The first of these for IGT was last year's debut of the Wheel of Fortune "Super Spin" - a giant, colorful wheel much like that used in the original game show. Players sit at individual screens situated around a big wheel and can join in a neighboring player's "spin," or wait for their own, once they are eligible for a bonus. Each player's winnings are largely displayed. Rather than drawing accidental spectators, the game is intended to draw crowds that wait to witness the spin of the giant wheel.

This fall IGT will introduce an 'Indiana Jones'-branded game with a bonus round in which neighboring players can compete, and has begun rolling out electronic versions of table games - such as baccarat, roulette and blackjack - allowing players more opportunity to interact around a table.

'This is a strange universe where people interact with a single computer,' IGT Chief Executive T.J. Matthews said at a technology conference last week. 'People want to interact with each other.' "

The complete article can be read here.

The author, Liz Benston, can be reached at 259-4077 or at benston@lasvegassun.com.

And check out this fascinating, relevant article about server-based slots from In Business Las Vegas


Bingo Lady said...

I love playing internet casino slot machines. I have never come across a social networking version though. sounds like fun

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