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Company Overview

IGT (NYSE: IGT) specializes in the design, development, manufacture, distribution and sales of gaming machines and systems products worldwide, as well as online and mobile gaming solutions for regulated markets.

The parent company's name - International Game Technology - reflects its global reach, its product emphasis and its history of technological innovation. The growth of IGT can be traced directly to the expansion of the casino industry and the ascendance of gaming machines as the primary revenue drivers for the modern casino floor.

IGT is the global leader in creating games players love. With the industry's largest library of slot themes, IGT offers operators and players an unrivaled gaming experience. The hallmark of IGT's game development success is to consistently deliver fresh, engaging content that balances flexible configuration options and proven profitability with unparalleled graphics, rich sounds and immersive game play concepts and bonuses.

IGT is at the forefront of server-based gaming with sbX, the Experience Management System. IGT is working with its peer manufacturers and customers to ensure that the gaming industry leverages the power of and benefits from the open network as set forth by the Gaming Standards Association.

Company Timeline

1981-1990

IGT began as a private company in the early 1950s. The company signaled its intent to establish itself as one of the leaders in the global gaming industry when it went public in 1981. A deciding factor in IGT's decision to go public had occurred a few years prior with the success of its revolutionary gaming product, the video poker machine. This product served as the company's "foot in the door" into several gaming arenas.

In 1984, IGT acquired Electronic Data Technologies making the company a pioneer in the computerized player tracking concept and later instrumental in the proliferation of "frequent-player rewards" programs, which remain popular in casinos to this day. This initial system gave casinos a powerful new marketing tool in player management. Over time, the tracking system evolved into the company's highly sophisticated IGT Advantage and sbX systems.

After IGT's initial public offering and listing on NASDAQ, the company went through an extensive period of innovation over several years. A number of landmark products resulted from this process including the S-Slot, which marked the company's entrance into the microprocessor-driven spinning-reel slot market; and the Player's Edge video poker machine. In addition, the company introduced the Nevada Megabucks slot machine, the world's first wide area progressive slot machine system. With an initial base top jackpot of $1 million, this new game allowed for million-dollar player payouts for casinos on the system. During this time, IGT also furthered their global vision by establishing an Australian office to focus on the country's club market.

1991-2000

In January 1991, a decade after its initial public offering, IGT was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The following year IGT Europe was established to service casinos across the continent. In 1994, international expansion continued with the opening of new sales and service offices in Argentina and South Africa. The NYSE also listed IGT as a top-performing stock that year.

In 1996, IGT debuted the Wheel of Fortune® progressive slot. This game continues to be one of the most popular gaming machines of all time. The Game King video product featuring multi-denomination technology also was introduced during this time.

Two key acquisitions were made in 1998. They included Barcrest Gaming, located in the United Kingdom, and Sodak Gaming, Inc, which became IGT's gaming distributor for the Native American market.

In 1998, IGT introduced Triple Play Draw Poker through its partnership with Action Gaming, now known as VideoPoker.com. The new S2000 spinning reel slot machine system was brought to market in 1999.

2001-Present

In 2001, IGT became a member of Standard & Poor's 500 list. The company also continued to acquire gaming companies including Silicon Gaming and Anchor Gaming. The acquisition of Anchor Gaming resulted in doubling gaming operations revenue.

During 2003, IGT acquired Acres Gaming. The company's bonusing and systems technology were a significant addition to IGT's games and systems products. In 2004, the company introduced its central determination system (CDS) as well as its Class II bingo games and systems to the Native American market. IGT Canada was established to serve the emerging Canadian lottery and gaming markets.

In 2006, IGT celebrated its 25th anniversary as a publicly traded company and also acquired WagerWorks for its advanced online gaming technology. It was also the year the company unveil its first multi-level progressive MegaJackpots product, Fort Knox. In an effort to take advantage of emerging markets, new IGT offices were opened in Macau, Mexico and Russia.

Group play and community bonus games were introduced to the marketplace in 2006 with the debut of Wheel of Fortune® Special Edition™. The company also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the most popular gaming machines ever made, Wheel of Fortune® slots, and the 20th anniversary of the Megabucks wide area progressive game.

During the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas in 2006, IGT unveiled its M-P Series product line. The new multi-player concept focused on roulette and baccarat and was the first of the company's electronic multi-player table game products.

In 2007, IGT saw significant successes in the Mexican gaming operations and in product sales in the Japanese and Asian markets. In addition, a new IGT office was opened in China. Two major intellectual property arrangements also were announced; these included an arrangement with Austrian-based Novomatic focusing on IGT's M-P Series multi-player product and with PureDepth, Inc. for its 3D-like, Multi-Layer Display® (MLD®) technology.

IGT opened the Global Technology & Interoperability Center in Reno, Nevada early in 2008. This first-of-its-kind research and testing center encompasses a 6,500-square-foot facility, which is available for use by peer gaming manufacturers, customers, third-party agencies and partners. The collaborative center focuses on product testing in a true-to-life casino atmosphere prior to market release. Later that year, in an effort to diversify business and market opportunities in the United Kingdom, the company acquired Cyberview Technology, Inc.

The company opened IGT Technology Development (Beijing) Co., Ltd. in Beijing, China in March 2009. The office was established to research and develop gaming, application and systems in addition to providing support, technical services and training.

In 2009, Patti S. Hart was named IGT's new president and CEO. That year also saw two important developments within the Network Systems business segment. First was the acquisition of certain assets of the Progressive Gaming International Corporation which resulted in the creation of the IGT Casinolink system, one of the most prevalent and flexible international gaming systems available today. And second was the release of sbX Tier One package. The sbX system offers a bank-by-bank solution, which gives casino operators the ability to implement server-based technology without the need to commit the entire casino floor.

Sex and the City™ Slots were introduced in fall 2009 in the United States and in early 2010 internationally. This game features entertaining game play, bonus rounds on a multi-level progressive jackpots platform. It continues as a top performing MegaJackpots game on many casino floors around the world.

The year 2009 ended with IGT's sbX Experience Management System being installed at ARIA Resort & Casino at CityCenter in Las Vegas. ARIA's casino floor opened with a first-of-its-kind combination of IGT systems on the server-based network, including IGT Advantage and sbX.

In 2010, IGT continued its dominance. In January, IGT took top honors as the best slot manufacturer of the year for the second year in a row at the 2010 International Gaming Awards in London, England, which was held in conjunction with the annual International Gaming Expo (IGE).

The Network Systems division experienced continued success in 2010. The year saw Europe's first sbX installation at Casino d'Evian in France in May which was followed by installations in Finland and Italy.

Also in June, IGT announced The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas had signed a multi-product and systems agreement featuring sbX, a majority floor share of games, plus an entire suite of IGT Advantage system products.

Demonstrating IGT's everlasting player appeal, the company won 16 awards, more than any other game manufacturer, in Casino Player Magazine's Best of Gaming reader poll held in August. Winners included IGT favorites such as Double Diamond and Wheel of Fortune® and new releases like Wheel of Fortune® Experience on the Center Stage Series. IGT also swept the entire video poker category, taking all five places.

In the fall of 2010, IGT marked a significant Company milestone with the production of its 2 millionth machine. At the end of 2010, IGT announced the creation of its Interactive division formed by the merger of the company's WagerWorks and Million-2-1 groups and focused on providing online and mobile gaming solutions for regulated markets.

In June 2011, IGT announced the purchase of all outstanding shares of Entraction Holding AB. Based in Sweden, Entraction was responsible for operating one of the world's largest, legal online poker networks and was one of the leading suppliers of online gaming products and services. With the acquisition of this established online gaming supplier, IGT is able to offer a complete interactive gaming portfolio of casino games, multi-player poker, sports betting and bingo.

Also during the summer of 2011, Eric Berg was named IGT's new president.

IGT and its player-favorite games won 12 awards in Casino Player Magazine's Best of Gaming for 2011. Winners included Wheel of Fortune®, Megabucks®, Star Wars®, American Idol® and Sex And The City™. Both Double Diamond® and Wheel of Fortune® were named in the "Favorite Reel Slot" awards. Readers selected Jacks or Better, Double Double Bonus Poker® and Deuces Wild in the "Favorite Video Poker" category.

Corporate Social Responsibility

IGT strives to be a good corporate citizen in all aspects of its business operations. IGT supports a variety of initiatives around responsible gaming, the environment and community activism.

Responsible Gaming

IGT believes all stakeholders in the industry must take an active role to address problem gaming as well as underage gambling. IGT promotes responsible gaming to its employees, customers and the public. IGT is a supporter and member of the National Council on Problem Gaming (NCPG) and the National Center for Responsible Gambling (NCRG). IGT provides financial support for issue awareness, research and treatment. IGT also contributes funding for a nationwide problem gaming helpline through the NCPG. IGT is the only gaming equipment manufacturer in the world to have a full-time director of responsible gaming, charged with implementing the IGT Responsible Gaming Program. "Social responsibility is a cornerstone of IGT's business philosophy. Our Corporate Responsible Gaming Program reflects that commitment. We strive to provide the best gaming entertainment in the world while working with key stakeholders to protect vulnerable populations. It is our mission to promote responsible gaming by supporting education, research and treatment as well as promoting awareness and providing leadership in this most critical area." – Patti S. Hart, CEO, IGT

Environmental Responsibility

IGT believes in environmental responsibility. Each year, IGT recycles millions of pieces of cardboard, metal, paper, glass, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, printer cartridges, wire harnesses, pallets and fluorescent light bulbs. Although not required to do so in the U.S., IGT uses many parts that meet or exceed the European Union Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive. IGT does not generate a large amount of hazardous waste and small quantities of inks and solvents are recycled by an outside disposal company.

IGT also works to reduce its energy consumption. IGT has replaced outdated light fixtures and installed lighting sensors.

In recognition of its efforts, IGT was ranked #170 on Newsweek's Green Rankings list in 2009.

Community Activism

IGT is committed to the local communities where it does business. IGT provides monetary and in-kind gifts to a variety of organizations addressing education, health and human services and the arts. The Company also encourages employees to be active volunteers and participate in community service projects.

IGT Games

Core Games

IGT's unrivaled library of Core, also known as For Sale, video- and spinning-reel slots have long been the cornerstone of casino floors around the world.

In 1990, IGT was the first gaming manufacturer to introduce specific themes to slot machines, starting with Double Diamond and Red, White and Blue Slots, and the company has never looked back. Today, IGT's roster of Core games includes themes that provide casinos with the highest level of flexibility, profitability and entertainment for their players.

Core products please the widest spectrum of players from low-denomination, video slot penny players and $100 High Limit, spinning-reel slot players. They feature both time-honored and new gaming formats and configurations, with most typically first introduced by IGT to the market.

Popular game features and technologies include:

  • MLD® (Multi-Layer Display®) games that have amazing 3D animation, crisp special effects and reels that shake, wobble and bounce.
  • MultiPLAY games that allow players to enjoy up to four games on one screen
  • MultiWay and MultiWay Xtra games provides players multiple "ways to win" instead of following traditional payline structures
  • Stacked Wilds symbols made famous by the outstanding success of Wolf Run, Wild Wolf and Kitty Glitter Video Slots
  • Free Games bonuses where players trigger bonus rounds filled with free spins
  • Split Symbols where two symbols can share one position and enable up to 10 symbol wins on the same payline

For more information on IGT's Core products and the machine models they operate on, please visit the Games section of our web site.

Online and Mobile Gaming

IGT's interactive products are consistently named the best in the market by industry experts, customers and independent judges.

IGT provides a range of offerings and services from a hosted casino platform to a fully managed, turnkey online and mobile casino solution. We can help you in managing all or part of your online and mobile casino operations in compliance with your regulatory environment.

MegaJackpots

IGT is synonymous with revolutionary gaming innovation. And few examples illustrate the company's unmistakable impact on the industry more than IGT's invention of the MegaJackpots wide area progressive.

The world of gaming changed forever in 1986 when IGT parlayed some of its existing lottery technology into a concept named the MegaJackpots wide area progressive system. This system lead to the debut of a slot machine called Megabucks in Nevada, and the industry has never been the same.

The MegaJackpots wide area progressive system connects gaming machines in casinos to a single large jackpot that grows as machines on the system are played. When the jackpot is won, the progressive meter resets to a predetermined base amount - and the process begins again. All MegaJackpots systems emphasize controls and security, and IGT administers the wide area progressive links.

The initial success of Megabucks, a dollar slot game, led IGT to adapt the MegaJackpots concept to numerous other systems and concepts in a wide range of denominations - from pennies to $5. Today, IGT has expanded the MegaJackpots brand beyond wide area progressives and into multi-level progressives that are standalone jackpots supported by the host casino.

The MegaJackpots family of products includes the most popular slot theme of all time – Wheel of Fortune® – and many other major player favorites like Sex and the City™, Star Wars™ and The Amazing Race™. MegaJackpots products offer operators the opportunity to re-merchandise their floors with big, fresh themes, and draw players to lower traffic areas. They also feature the newest, hottest gaming technology such as the Center Stage Series with a 103-inch screen that allows players to share in the thrill of big wins and communal bonuses.

MegaJackpots have produced more than 1,100 millionaires and have awarded more than $4.4 billion in major jackpots. Megabucks made slot-payoff history on Feb. 1, 1987 at Harrah's Reno when a California man hit the first MegaJackpots prize for $4,988,842. After several subsequent record-setting jackpots, Megabucks set a new standard for slot payouts on March 21, 2003 when a 25-year-old software engineer from Los Angeles won $39,713,982 at the Excalibur Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas. One lucky player, Elmer Sherwin, won Megabucks jackpots twice: once for $4.6 million in 1989 and again in 2005 for $21.1 million.

For more information on IGT's MegaJackpots products and the machine models they operate on, please visit the Games section of our web site.

Video Poker

Video poker is a prominent part of today's modern gaming operation thanks to the vision and innovation of IGT.

Although the concept of video poker had been around since the mid-1970s, the game became formally established when SIRCOMA, the precursor company to IGT, debuted Draw Poker in 1979. Throughout the 1980s, video poker became increasingly popular, as players found video poker machines less intimidating than playing table games.

Video poker was the first game to introduce the element of player skill to gaming machines. Players were given decision-making options that regular slots didn't offer, and the impact of video poker took the industry by surprise. The machines proved so popular that the original upright machine design was adapted to a bar-top model, which created a powerful new revenue stream for local taverns. The prototype Draw Poker machine led to multiple variations on the theme: Jacks or Better, Jokers Wild, Bonus Poker, Deuces Wild Bonus Poker, Player's Choice Poker and dozens more.

Video poker stayed pretty consistently popular until 1997 when an inventor named Ernie Moody pioneered a multi-hand concept he called Triple Play Draw Poker. The new game allowed a player to play three hands at once and proved to be an instant hit. Moody went on to start Action Gaming, Inc., now known as VideoPoker.com, and partnered with IGT to cultivate and distribute this new wave of multi-hand video poker products.

Today, IGT and VideoPoker.com work together to consistently develop groundbreaking games based on original thinking. This unique partnership creates concepts that overwhelmingly dominate the video poker market. In addition to endearing player favorites like All Star Poker, Super Times Pay Poker and Spin Poker, recent player hits have included Ultimate X Poker, Quick Quads Poker, Super Star Poker and the Dream Card feature.

For more information on IGT's video poker products and the machine models they operate on, please visit the Games section of our web site.

Multi-Player Products

Today's players expect more entertainment value and social interaction from gaming than ever before. In response, IGT debuted its line of M-P Series multi-player products in 2006 to infuse the best of video gaming with the positive social aspects of wagering on a common outcome.

Some of IGT's multi-player products also fill an important niche in gaming jurisdictions where electronic games are allowed but traditional table games are not. In these areas, players can experience all the fun and excitement of games like Blackjack and Baccarat while remaining strictly compliant with local or state regulations.

Multi-player products fall into two categories: electronic table games and virtual racing games.

Electronic Table Games

M-P Series games allow guests on up to 100 individual player stations to make wagers and share in the excitement and anticipation of a single game resolution. Designed to appeal to both table and video slot players, M-P Series hardware includes both fully automated and hosted electronic table games. Benefits of this technology include increased hands-per-hour dealt compared to traditional table games, reduced exposure to common cheating techniques, 24-hour game availability and customizable game offerings to suit changing player tastes.

Virtual Racing Games

The M-P Series of products also supports virtual racing games which are gaining popularity across the country and around the world. Triple Towers® Virtual Horse Racing is a prime example of using technology to perfectly recreate everything players love about live racing in the comfort of their favorite local casino.

For more information on IGT's multi-player products and the machine models they operate on, please visit the Games section of our web site.

IGT Systems

IGT is committed to providing customers with Network Systems solutions that enhance their players' experience, differentiate their property, lower operating costs and drive profitability.

Server-based gaming gives operators the ability to run their casino floors how they want, with the games they want, and the player interaction they want. A networked floor is used to remotely manage game theme and configuration changes and to deliver applications and marketing messages to players on the game screen via the Service Window or at the game via traditional player tracking displays. This results in lower operational costs, improved efficiency and more satisfied and loyal players.

IGT Network Systems unites its server-based and casino management systems development efforts under one umbrella with four integrated, but modular, system families – sbX, IGT Advantage, IGT Casinolink and IGT Mariposa – and several other system add on products such as IGT Tournament Manager and Slot Analytics.

IGT Network Systems products benefit from the diversity of its install base and a commitment to delivering products our customers need to improve their business. Combined with tens of millions of dollars of Research & Development, this dedication and investment is unmatched in the gaming industry.

IGT is proud to have its casino management systems installed in more than 850 locations worldwide, helping to operate more than 400,000 gaming machines and tables. Current IGT systems customers include Stations Casinos, MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts, Harrah's Entertainment, Atlantis Casino Resort, Table Mountain Casino, Cache Creek Casino Resort, Thunder Valley Casino, Valley View Casino, the Las Vegas Sands, San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino, Firekeepers Casino, Red Rock Resort Spa and Casino, Grand Casinos Hinkley and Mille Lacs, MotorCity Casino, Melco Crown Entertainment, Resorts World Genting and Sentosa, Tsogo Sun and Holland Casinos.

For more information on these products, please visit the Systems area of our web site.

Understanding Gaming

Slot Machines: Separating fact from fiction

Twenty years after the introduction of the "virtual reel" slot machine, the myths about how slots operate continue

by Frank Legato

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For most of the 20th century, the slot machine was pretty much the same. Three reels spun around, prompted first by springs loaded in a handle and later by electrical switches. Where those reels landed when stopped by a separate mechanism was largely a function of gravity.

Since the period of time the reels spun for and the number of symbols on each reel remained constant, odds and probabilities could be calculated by mapping the reel symbols, and wagering systems could be developed to give math-savvy players an advantage.

It all changed in 1984 when Inge Telnaus was issued a U.S. patent for a computerized method of determining the results of a slot machine. Ever since this system was implemented, players have mistrusted the machine. The result has been a remarkable set of myths about how this computer selects a winning result, and how a player can have the best chance of beating the odds and walking away a winner.

People dislike trusting anything to computer technology, including the notion that the result a computer generates is truly random. So the myths have persisted, ranging from logical but wrong to truly ridiculous. Now it's time for Casino Player to publish its periodic rundown of the most popular notions about slot machines that are actually fiction, and to give you the real facts.

But first, one should know what Telnaus actually invented with his computerized slot system, which is the basis on which all modern slot machines are designed. The system - the patent was soon purchased by then-young IGT, which held it until it expired in 2004 - became commonly known as the "virtual reel" system, because with it, slot results were no longer dependent on the movement of the physical reels. Instead, each reel result was assigned a number in a computer program. The low-paying or nonpaying results were each assigned many numbers, the high jackpot symbols just a few or one. These numbers were all burned into a game chip, with a random number generator device (RNG) that would cycle through all the numbers constantly, at lightning speed. When the handle was pulled or the spin button pushed, the device would generate one number in the program at random.

By manipulating the sets of numbers assigned to each symbol or reel result in the program, manufacturers were able to calculate theoretical payback percentages based on a computer simulation of millions of spins. However, a math wizard could no longer calculate the odds by counting the symbols and looking at the paytable, because the physical reels were now meaningless. The RNG was selecting the outcome, and signaling a computerized stepper motor where to stop the physical reels. The reels themselves now functioned to display the result chosen at random by the RNG.

We write more about the RNG and the virtual reel system than about most other slot subjects, particularly in our letters- to-the-editor department. If the questions our readers send us month after month demonstrate anything, it is that many of the stubborn myths about how slots operate are still believed by many players.

To follow are some of the most popular myths, and the facts to disprove them. We have no doubt that the myths will persist after our readers peruse this article - they have, in fact, taken on a life of their own. But we will keep trying to provide you with the facts nonetheless.

MYTH: The casino can flip a switch to make slots tighter if too many people are winning, or if the casino is crowded. When business is slow, they can change back to higher paybacks.

REALITY: The old "payback switch" has been one of the most persistent myths out there, but the fact is this: There is no switch or button or mouse-click on a computer screen used by casino slot personnel to alter the payback programs of slot machines on the casino floor.

Here's how it works. Slot manufacturers demonstrate their game software in prototypes to slot department officials of casinos. If those officials like what they see, they order a bank of the machines, choosing from typically six or seven available theoretical payback percentage programs offered by the slotmaker. Those payback percentage programs are burned into the game chip at the factory, by programmers who have determined the theoretical return by running computer simulations duplicating several years of game play. The chips have also been approved by regulatory agencies, which run the same simulations to verify the theoretical payback percentage. They are delivered to the casino, and the game chips are locked into the machine.

Once locked in, the chips generally remain in the machine for the life of that game. They can be replaced if the machine is not earning, but that also requires regulatory verification, and in practice, the casino will change out the entire game instead of the payback percentage if the game is not making money for the casino.

Under current regulations, changing payback percentages requires opening slot cabinets and switching out chips, with regulators informed ahead of time and present when the change is made to verify the new percentage. Casinos simply do not have that kind of manpower.

Percentages are a function of casino policy within any given denomination - if you doubt that, look at our annual loose slots awards in this issue. Those numbers are similar every year, and they reflect actual payback, not theoretical. If a game does not earn, casinos do not change the percentage. They change the game.

MYTH: If a computer programmer can determine a game's payback percentage, the results of any spin cannot be truly random.

REALITY: The results of any given spin are random. The programmer's manipulation of the payback percentage is achieved by manipulating the universe of numbers from which that random result is chosen. If more numbers are assigned to lower or nonpaying results, the payback percentage will be lower. Assign more numbers to jackpot results, and the payback percentage will be higher - not because of the manipulation itself, but because of the laws of probability once the universe of numbers is altered and one of those numbers is generated at random.

Imagine the computer programmer designing a slot game that displays the simple flip of a coin. He has assigned one number to heads, one number to tails. Heads will come up as often as tails over the long run, so the coin-flip game will return as much as it takes in - he has programmed a 100 percent payback percent age into the coin-flip game. But the actual flip of the coin is random. It may land on heads five times in a row, or it may land twice on tails followed by three times on heads... but in the long run, it will even out to a 100 percent payback percentage. The actual flip, however, just like the actual generation of a result by the RNG, is random.

MYTH: The payback percentage is always better when wagering the maximum.

REALITY: The computer does not care how much you wager. It is going to generate a number at random, regardless of how much you bet. The truth is, with a straight "multiplier" game - i.e., the jackpot amounts are exact multiples of the single coin amount: 10 coins for one wagered; 20 for two; 30 for three - there is no inherent advantage in betting the maximum. The payback percentage and hit frequencies are the same, regardless of the wager.

This reality is altered only by the pay schedule or by multiple paylines. If it's a "buy-a-pay" schedule, you will see on the table that some jackpots are only activated with the second or third coin. In this case, the payback percentage does rise with the amount wagered. But it is not the wager itself that drives this rise; it is the pay schedule. The actual result will be the same regardless of the wager - only the payoff will differ.

In the case of a multiline reel or video slot, the payback percentage will be lower if all paylines are not activated, and will rise as each coin activates another payline. Once all paylines are activated, it is the same as a straight multiplier - if you bet at least enough to activate all the paylines, the percentages and hit frequencies are constant from that point.

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If a game does not earn, casinos do not change the percentage. They change the game.

MYTH: The slot machine pays out more (or less) when I insert my slot club card.

REALITY: Another persistent myth is the function of the slot club card. The card reader is not connected in any way to the slot computer's game chip. In fact, it is in an entirely separate location, in the top box of the machine. The reader is there only to record your play: Coin-in and coin-out. It transmits that information to the central slot club computer for the sole purpose of rewarding you for loyal play. The slot club card has absolutely no effect on the results that will be achieved by the slot's RNG program.

MYTH: A casino employee familiar with the slot games can tell me accurately when those slots are "due" for a jackpot.

REALITY: Players often tip slot personnel to direct them to a game that is "due" to hit, and when they do, they are wasting their money. Each spin on a slot machine is entirely independent of any other spin.

The slot machine's RNG cycles through the entire set of numbers more than a hundred times every second. Therefore, even if a jackpot has not hit for weeks on any given machine, it does not mean it will hit today, tomorrow or next week. Or it could hit on the next spin. There is no way for you, or that slot attendant, to know for sure.

This is even true in the case of a progressive, although in the case of a progressive link that has been in one place a long time, and an employee who has witnessed the neighborhood in which it has hit consistently, a progressive being "due" could be a worthwhile tip. As we've seen in Megabucks, once a progressive reaches unprecedented proportions, "due" becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because of the phenomenon of "jackpot fever." More people will play, increasing the likelihood that it will hit sooner rather than later. But still, as we said, there are no guarantees - an unprecedented jackpot level on a progressive still does not mean it's going to hit today, or tomorrow. Save your tip money for the cocktail server.

MYTH: A player who sits down and hits a jackpot immediately when a player vacates his seat "stole" that player's jackpot.

REALITY: No one can "steal" your jackpot. As we noted above, the RNG program is cycling through the entire set of possible results many times each second. To believe the next player has "stolen" your jackpot is to assume that you would have hit the spin button at the precise nanosecond that he did. The odds of that happening are astronomical. You could have hit a jackpot, or you could have kept losing. There is no way to tell - so don't worry about it.

MYTH: Casinos always place the loosest machines on the ends of the row, so people can be seen winning.

REALITY: There may be a grain of truth to this one - but not much. It is common sense to place high-paying machines in prominent locations, but in reality, slot managers mix them in throughout the floor. As we noted earlier, payback percentages are a matter of policy within any denomination, so the quarter game on the end is going to have nearly the same long-term payback percentage as the one in the middle. In the short term, it's going to have the same cycles as any other game on the floor.

MYTH: The result in second-screen bonus events is predetermined, so if there is a choice of hidden bonuses, it doesn't matter which choice the player makes.

REALITY: It does, in fact, matter which choice a player makes in the so-called pick-a-tilestyle of bonus game. When the bonus is initiated, the machine's RNG selects an entire screen of bonus amounts. After that, it's up to the player to pick the higher or lower amounts.

Many of the newer games in this style verify this point by revealing all possible choices after the player makes his selection. This feature offers nothing for the game; manufacturers began doing it this way because they, as us, received constant inquiries from players as to whether their choices in the bonus round really mattered.

MYTH: By counting the number of spaces and symbols on the reels in relation to the award for each winning combination, someone skilled in mathematics can determine the odds on a reel-spinning game.

REALITY: This was actually true in the old days, before the invention of the virtual reel system. However, as we noted in our introduction, the number of symbols on the reels now means nothing. The probability of any one symbol landing on the payline is now governed by the computer's RNG. By assigning many numbers to a single symbol or set of symbols, the programmers are creating what is, in effect, a reel strip with hundreds of symbols, rather than the 22 stops on a physical reel. It is now a "virtual" reel. The reel strips on a traditional slot serve the same purpose as a video screen - to display the result chosen by the RNG. Counting the symbols and doing math achieves absolutely nothing, other than perhaps a headache.

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The computer does not care how much you wager. It is going to generate a number at random, regardless of how much you bet.

MYTH: Heating up the coins or cooling down the coins increases the chance of winning.

REALITY: This one is still out there, and it's as bizarre as it has ever been. People actually have heated coins with a cigarette lighter or packed them in ice before inserting them. The result? It made the coins hot or cold. It does nothing else. Whether you like ticketprinting slots or not, at least the new games will finally put this myth to rest.

MYTH: If the reels wiggle, it means the machine is getting ready to pay out.

REALITY: See above. The reels are only there to display the result achieved by the computer. Whether they wiggle, jump, dance a jig or sing the national anthem, the result will be the same - a display of the result corresponding to the RNG's choice of a number in the program.

There are many other myths, which we address from time to time in our letters sections, and which persist despite logic and factual information... pulling the handle versus pushing the button, the casino will never let you win, slot attendants change percentages when they work on the machine.... We could go on and on. However we only have so much space for a single article, and we need to leave something for our letter files.

We will close with this one thought: Most myths are based on the notion that the casino is somehowout to cheat the player out of his money illegally . If you believe that, consider this: They don't have to. They have a license to take your money with a 10 percent house edge on most of the games, and we players give that edge up willingly.


This article originally appeared in Casino Player magazine. Used by permission.

Different Types of Electronic Gaming

Regulated casino gaming is a legal and accepted form of entertainment in many countries around the world. In the United States, casino gaming generally falls into three major categories – Commercial, Tribal, and Video Lottery. Each category is defined by different characteristics and is subject to different rules and regulations. IGT provides gaming content and system solutions for each type of gaming.

Commercial Casino Gaming

Commercial casino gaming ("Las Vegas style" gaming) is the most common form of casino gaming in the United States. Games include such traditional casino games as slot machines, table games including roulette and craps, house-banked card games like blackjack, and pari-mutuel wagering. Slot machines use a random number generator (RNG) to determine their results. An RNG housed in each slot machine constantly generates random numbers which correspond to reel stops on the game's screen. When the "spin" button is pressed on the slot machine, the random number that is "active" on the exact millisecond that the processor receives your bet determines the outcome of the spin.

Tribal Gaming

Tribal gaming is gaming operated by and for the benefit of tribal governments. Game classifications are established in the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Class I

Social games played solely for prizes of minimal value or traditional forms of Indian gaming engaged in by individuals as a part of, or in connection with, tribal ceremonies or celebrations.

Class II

Class II games are bingo games, including (if played in the same location) pull-tabs, lotto, punch boards, tip jars, instant bingo, and other games similar to bingo, and certain non house-banked card games. Class II games may include electronic, computer, or other technologic aids. Specifically excluded from Class II gaming are house-banked card games such as blackjack and electronic or electromechanical facsimiles of any game of chance.

An electronic Class II gaming system employs player interface stations that are used as technological aids to play a bingo game against another player or players. Unlike a slot machine, a Class II player interface station does not generate its own results. These games are powered by independent systems and the Class II player interface stations act as terminals for these games. An independent system controller performs a bingo draw for every game. The system then feeds the results to the terminals. The bingo numbers are set up on a grid, and the patterns on the grid correspond to payout patterns for the game. The results of the bingo game may be displayed in an entertaining fashion. A Class II winning pattern can appear as a winning bingo card with squares marked in a certain pattern or in other entertaining ways such as spinning reels landing in a winning combination. A losing pattern can appear as a bingo card with no winning pattern or as reels in a non-winning combination.

Class III

Class III games are all forms of gaming that are not Class I gaming or Class II gaming. Examples of these are traditional casino games such as slot machines, table games including roulette and craps, house-banked card games like blackjack, and pari-mutuel wagering.

Video Lottery Gaming

Video gaming is an exciting form of gaming entertainment that provides tremendous revenue generating opportunities worldwide. It is fast becoming a favorite among governmental jurisdictions looking to enhance revenues and players looking for alternative forms of leisure activity.

There are three key components in Video Lottery Gaming: Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs), Site Controller, and the State Central System.

Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) are connected to the state central system via a network (e.g., telephone, wide-area). Clusters of VLTs are located at each site. The VLT generates and records an "event" for any change in status of the machine (security breach, door open, touch-screen error, etc). This event information is uploaded continuously from the gaming machine to the site controller, and to the state central system upon request.

A Site Controller, a microprocessor-controlled device, acts as the data management liaison between the site location VLTs and the state central system. The site controller performs two major tasks. First, to gather, store, and report gaming machine information to the central system; and second, to provide daily accounting performance, while also functioning as a central display point for gaming machine maintenance and security information.

The state central system resides at a secured location where it monitors and controls the activities of the entire video gaming terminal network. The system configuration and software are designed to provide high availability of operation and ensure absolute security of data.

Introduction to Gaming Guide

Modern-day, casino-style gaming has been legal in the US for approximately 80 years. For most of that time, this type of activity was limited only to locations in Nevada. However, changes in the economy over the past 30 years have prompted many jurisdictions around the world to either institute or consider legalized gaming. Gaming today is a respected, highly-regulated, advanced-technology industry with its own history, products, and language.

IGT created the Introduction to Slots and Video Gaming guide to assist new and potential customers in understanding gaming machines and to help build a familiarity with basic operating principles and terminology. It is intended as a general introduction to both the casino and lottery gaming business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I'm planning to visit Las Vegas (or another gaming jurisdiction), and I really enjoy playing the Wolf Run® and the Wheel of Fortune® MegaJackpot® (or any other game theme) slots. Which Las Vegas casinos have Wolf Run® and Wheel of Fortune® MegaJackpots® slots?
A: Since new game themes are continually being introduced on casino floors, IGT may not have an up-to-date list of all games currently available in all casinos. If you know which casino(s) you plan to visit, give the casino's slot department a call and ask if that game is available.
You also may check out where to play our popular MegaJackpot slots, like Wheel of Fortune, on the following web site: http://www.megajackpots.com/megajackpots.asp
Q: Does IGT sell used machines to individuals for home use?
A: No, IGT no longer sells used machines. However, there are a number of used-machine stores in Las Vegas and Reno. Try Showcase Slots in Las Vegas at 1-888-522-7568.
Q: Where can I purchase parts for my gaming machine?
A: IGT only sells parts to casino customers. If you have purchased your machine from a reputable seller, it is best to contact the seller directly. Another source for machine parts and/or documentation is the Internet. Many Search engines can find local parts suppliers in your area.
Q: Is there game software of IGT games that I can use on my PC at home?
A: Yes, certain popular IGT game themes are available in a product from Masque Publishing. Please visit the Masque Publishing web site (www.masque.com) for more information.
Q: How do I submit a game idea?
A: Please complete the Idea Disclosure Package forms and return to the IGT contact indicated in the attachment.