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Park Place Unveils Customized Jackpots

With slot floors looking more and more alike, casinos jockeying for the latest hot games are using another tool to woo gamblers: custom-designed jackpots.

Park Place Entertainment Corp., which has offered its own customized jackpot games for years, upped the ante on April 9th by unveiling the latest addition to a growing niche of slots. "Park Place Millions" slots, developed by Alliance Gaming Corp., will debut in Park Place casinos before the end of the year and will offer progressive jackpots starting at $1 million.

Progressive machines funnel a percentage of each wager into a central jackpot that grows over time. Over the past several years, major Nevada slot makers International Game Technology and Alliance Gaming Corp. have created progressive jackpots that link games within a certain casino or games between several casinos owned by the
same company.

The strategy differs from progressive games offered to any casino company willing to pay for them, including such popular titles as IGT's "Megabucks" and "Wheel of Fortune" as well as Alliance Gaming's "Popeye" and
"Blondie" progressives.

By contrast, "Park Place Millions" games will be crafted to the company's specifications, from the look and feel of the game down to the number of linked slots, the game's odds and frequency of payout, Alliance Gaming Senior Vice President of Marketing Marcus Prater said.

Such systems, while not new, could become "an emerging trend in the industry," Deutsche Bank casino analyst Marc Falcone said in a note to investors. "We think the largest operators will increasingly use their national scale to develop unique products to offer their customers, especially as gaming as proliferated and casino floors have become more commoditized," Falcone said.

Park Place has about 50,000 slot machines across its casinos, giving it the kind of critical mass that make exclusive game development worthwhile for Alliance, he said. Also, the two companies typically share in the developments costs of the game, helping to defray some of the research and development costs. Alliance will also share in the revenue stream, he said.

The games would be offered in 17 Park Place casinos with separate links planned for Nevada, New Jersey and Mississippi. "The ability to offer an exclusive multi-regional progressive game gives us a competitive advantage in our major markets and it gives slot customers yet another benefit of playing at our properties," Park Place senior slot executive Dave Lyons said. Park Place already offers a customized progressive game by Alliance called "Payday."

Park Place Millions won't replace or otherwise interfere with any other jackpot progressive games offered by the company, Park Place spokesman Robert Stewart said. The game would compete with IGT's popular Megabucks jackpot games, which are linked across casinos throughout Nevada and offer jackpots starting at $7 million. Megabucks is one of several brands offered under the company's "MegaJackpots" series, which include jackpot games such as "Wheel of Fortune," "Elvis" and "I Love Lucy."

Last month, a 25-year-old software engineer from Los Angeles won the largest slot jackpot in history when he hit the near-$40 million Megabucks pool at the Excalibur resort.
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Thursday, December 14, 2023
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