Casino games, promotions, and services were all on display earlier this month at the Cox Convention Center as part of the Annual Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Conference and Trade Show. Casino executives and personnel from across the state checked out the latest in technology and gaming — from beeping slots to coffee brewing to promotional items.
For those in attendance, there was no shortage of interesting visuals. Walking through the trade show, a 24-foot long piece of technology called the BPS 1000 manufactured by Financial Equipment Company. The device looked like something you might see on Star Trek, but is the latest in casino cash counting devices.
“It counts, sorts, and checks whether or not the cash is counterfeit,” said company representative Jon Chenault. Not far away, Ortiz Gaming has a lounge-like area complete with bar set up to spotlight its new brand of video slots. The offerings are unique in that they offer a Bingo theme. The Spanish company is looking to enter the U.S. market and company executive Humberto Magalhaes says the OIGA conference was a nice spot to spotlight their games to a growing Oklahoma industry.
“We are getting into the U.S. market, and our target is, ‘Bingo is back,'” he said while showing off one of his Spanish Bingo style slots. “It's something new and people are loving it. We are doing very well and I have a big projection for the U.S. market.”
Table game variations were also on display, including a new game called Roubingo — combining the action of roulette with the game play of bingo. Oklahoma casinos operate under Class II and III gaming licenses. For those operating as Class II (60 percent of the state's operations), games must be based on bingo-like games of chance (this includes video-style slots). Class III casinos must enter into a compact with the state, which allows Las Vegas-style gaming but shares revenue with the state. Roubingo allows a player to select numbers just as in roulette, but each number is awarded based on an accompanying bingo card with winning numbers determined by a bingo-style hopper of balls.
“This is a pure Class II table game for Oklahoma,” said company President Thomas Orlando. “It looks like roulette, plays like roulette, and has the same algorithm as roulette, but it's classified as Class II bingo.”
Almost every type of gambling was on display at the OIGA trade show. Danielle Lewis represented BAM Software, which offers casinos an in-game version of fantasy sports. The games are played via tablet computer and offer casinos a way to get as close to offering sports wagering as possible outside Nevada.
At the i5 Design area, a large screen showed off several casinos that the company has redesigned. The architectural and design firm helps create a theme and overall redesign for properties with looks that may have grown a little tired or outdated. The results were often stunning when comparing before and after looks.
“We'll go in and create an overall design plan and implement that into a full turnkey solution,” according to company sales executive Joe Jordan. i5 has worked with several Oklahoma properties. “We really try to create a really warm and inviting environment.”
Of course, just like most casinos, much of the floor was dedicated to video slot machines with themes from every medium one could imagine. These included cartoons (Betty Boop), classic literature characters (Frankenstein), sports (NASCAR), and many more. One that stood out was titled Lucky Lucha, based on the Mexican-style lucha libre masked wrestlers. Line up the reels just right and the bonus game begins, with the colorful wrestlers taking on various opponents. Play it right and your wrestler wins the title — and you might win the jackpot.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and writes about poker and gambling for the Oklahoman.
facts and figures
Tribal gaming in Oklahoma
Per Capita payments
Use of net revenues
1. To fund tribal government operations or programs.
2. To provide for the general welfare of the Indian tribe and its members.
3. To promote tribal economic development.
4. To donate to charitable organizations.
5. To help fund operations of local government agencies.
U.S. Tribal gaming
SOURCE: Oklahoma Gaming