I n the old days, it was all straight lines on the slot floor.
Three-reel stepper slots and, later, video slots all featured more or less the same size and shape of cabinet, creating a uniform, almost factory-like appearance to the slot floor.
In addition to aesthetic appeal, orderly rows of similar cabinets allowed operators of 20 year ago to fit.
The maximum number slot machines within a given square footage—imperative when slots were the prime cash cow of any casino.
Today’s use of slot-floor square footage is more relaxed and fluid, with machines positioned as much in small, freestanding groupings as in the oldstyle rows of machines.
And those rows themselves are much smaller, with bank configurations of six or eight back-to-back machines allowing for wider aisle space.
There are many reasons today’s slot floor bears little resemblance to that of two decades ago.
Lower slot revenues led to fewer machines and more elbow room on the slot floor.
Different games like ETGs and carnival-style games appeared, and the look of the core games became as varied as the growing number of suppliers providing them.
Each supplier creates new hardware every year.
Uniformity is no longer an option.
“We’ve got so many manufacturers out there today,” observes Charlie Lombardo,
Who started operating slot machines in the early 1970s and was senior vice president of slot operations for Caesars’ Strip properties and head of casino operations for Seminole.
Gaming—which still retains him as a consultant in designing the slot floors of the Hard Rock properties.
“If you go back just a few years, we had Bally and IGT and and a couple of other suppliers, and boxes were fairly uniform—pretty much the same height, the same width.
It was easy to sometimes even put different manufacturers back to back on the same stand, and not even notice the difference.
Now, when you start getting into the bigger and taller machines, you can’t put those in a straight row, because you’re really creating walls.
“With even one manufacturer, there are different boxes and different styles.
You want to keep them in smaller groups so that you can give bigger variety on the floor.”
Variety, in fact, has governed the design of the slot floor, notes Tom Jingoli,
Executive vice president and chief commercial officer for slot supplier Konami Gaming.
“In the past, U.S. casino slot floors carried layouts consisting of 12- plus games in a bank, hooked up to one simple linked progressive;
Whereas now we see three different linked progressives covering four games each, divvied across different areas.
This reduction in average bank size reflects a number of different factors, including increased.
Competition around integrated progressive games, evolving player preference, and varied operational considerations.
The result has been greater game variety and depth of content on the floor.”
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