November 2019
by Buddy Frank

Without a doubt, the opening question when any two gaming pros gather for the next few weeks will be: “What did you think about G2E?” My go-to answer about this year’s edition is a single line: it was the best show in years.

But that’s the shorthand version. If you have time to mull over lunch, here’s a bit more detail:

License deals – Brand names were again everywhere, but few, if any, were new. The jury is still out on how long the last big one, James Bond, will last, but overall brands haven’t really been that strong for several years, Wheel of Fortune notwithstanding. Due to their high cost, many branded slots are released in a WAP format with higher fees based on a percentage of coin in. Yet today, most slot directors seem to prefer the less expensive lease model of fee per day. Who can argue with the amazing success of “88 Fortunes,” “Lightning Links,” or “Dragon Links”? Those, and many more, from Buffalo to Dancing Drums, have become major hits with no superstars attached. This trend looks here to stay; the Las Vegas Strip may be the only exception. However, I did hear some grumbling that one or two vendors were boosting the prices on their non-brand leased games, so don’t be surprised if there is some future operator pushback even on those hits.

by Frank Legato

For most of the year, this space consists of articles written in standard, objective news style. However, in the wake of the annual Global Gaming Expo, I like to use one column to offer my purely subjective, first-person take on what I considered to be the best slot games launched at G2E.

Mind you, this is by no means to say certain games are better, will earn more, or will outscore other games in terms of win-per-unit or other measurements. These are simply opinions, based on 35 years of writing about slot machines, on what I considered the standout offerings at G2E.


by Buddy Frank

I generally don’t like to discuss Las Vegas. That’s not for any lack of excellent operators or world-class casino resorts in town, of course; it’s just that the Strip is so unique that the lessons from there seldom translate to the rest of the country. But once each year, the entire gaming world descends on Las Vegas for G2E, and, given that that happened just a couple of weeks ago, there’s probably no better time to talk about Glitter Gulch and its infamous history than now.

Last December, I reviewed what I consider one of the best books on the history of organized crime in Las Vegas, The Money and the Power, by Sally Denton Smith and Roger Morris. It documents organized crime’s activities from post-WWII onward. Interestingly, the last short chapter in that book is called ‘Shadow Capital.’

That’s almost the complete subject of David Johnston’s Temples of Chance: How American Inc. Bought Out Murder Inc. to Win Control of the Casino Business. Published in 1992, the book delves into some of the same territory covered so well by Denton and Morris.

ReelHot October 2019 Update
Top-performing game title per Supplier (trailing 3 months).

Click here or the chart below to see the full ReelHot index.
Upcoming Industry Events of Interest
Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center- Nashville, TN - 11/11/2019 - 11/14/2019
Join us as we celebrate 20 years of bringing tribes and technology together. This event has become an industry "must attend" for anyone working in leadership or technology in tribal gaming, government and health.
777 W Cherokee St, Catoosa, OK - 12/09/2019 - 12/12/2019
 Advance your gaming management career by attending this unique program tailored to your industry. The University of Nevada, Reno and the OSU Spears School of Business have teamed up to offer a 4 day program to provide leadership sessions and concurrent tracks in slot operations, surveillance operations, table game operations, and casino accounting and finance management.
Las Vegas, NV - 12/09/2019 - 12/11/2019
The workshop is an opportunity to bring Tribal leaders, decision makers, and influencers together and provide them a platform to learn and create a strategic plan to truly understand and harness the power of Class II Gaming. To protect the assets and interests of their respective gaming tribes and create a new financial economic engine that provides protection for their tribal sovereignty today, tomorrow and well into the future.
Southern California - 01/29/2020
Four years ago, Raving began an industry movement to recognize those Tribal organizations that give back to their communities. We ask you to share those special events, those acts of generosity, those good works outside of your job description that have improved the lives of your community. Because the more we hear about people helping people, the energy spreads. Submit your entries starting October 1, 2019 through early December 2019.
Tropicana Las Vegas - 03/23/2020 - 03/26/2020
The WGPC is an annual conference that connects casino surveillance, asset protection professionals and regulators from around the world. The event examines current and emerging threats to casino entertainment complexes and explores opportunities and practices to combat those threats.
This report is edited by Buddy Frank, Frank Legato, and Justin Martin