Issue 135
April 14-20, 2003
Volume 3
page 1
 

This Issue

Gaming News
Park Place Unveils Customized Jackpots

World Poker Tour TV Series Debuts

Sushi + Salsa = 'Ceviche' Room Special Plus $50 Dine-Around Bonus May 1-10 at Imperial Palace Las Vegas!

Casino Games Going to Washington Town


Show Time

Tim McGraw & The Dancehall Doctors will appear at the Events Center at Mandalay Bay Resort Casino on May 10, 2003.


Column
Gambler's Fallacy

Check out our entertainment highlights & upcoming tournaments

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Park Place Unveils Customized Jackpots

LAS VEGAS - 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.


World Poker Tour TV Series Debuts

World Poker TourLOS ANGELES, CA - Hot off a sizzling debut that's been generating tremendous buzz and viewer ship, "World Poker Tour," a 13-week series on The Travel Channel, will film its championship event next week - a tournament with a $25,000 buy-in per player, the richest in poker history!

The Championship episode, which will air in June, is attracting poker's most elite and colorful pro players, but under the format created by the World Poker Tour (WPT), anyone with a cool $25,000 can claim a spot at the table. More than 50 players are already signed up and the estimated prize pool at the start of the tourney at Las Vegas' Bellagio is expected to be $2 million to $3 million.

The tournament will feature all of the drama that has hooked viewers across the nation. "We are very excited about the World Poker Tour series on the Travel Channel and the significant increases in viewer ship we've experienced since the series premiere at the end of March," said Travel Channel General Manager Steve Cheskin. "The success of the series shows that poker makes for good television -- and that's a testament to the World Poker Tour's unique and compelling format."

By bringing viewers inside high stakes poker tournaments filmed in exotic casino locations throughout the world and using state-of-the-art technology to reveal the cards held by the world's elite poker players, the World Poker Tour has turned a popular card game into a must-watch spectator sport with millions of dollars on the table. With the record buy-in, the series finale and championship, taping April 18th at the Bellagio, marks a high point in the game. For players who are confident of their skills, the estimated multimillion-dollar pool is well worth the risk.

Meanwhile viewers are also putting their cards on the table. Some of the comments the Travel Channel has received include:

  • "Who knew televised poker could be so exciting and strategy filled???"
  • "The format is fantastic! Oh my God! WPT is my new favorite television program."
  • "I think it's also going to create millions of new poker players."
  • "There is nothing on TV I would rather watch."
  • "I'm hooked on it -- can't stop watching. It's amazing how much you can learn watching pros in a couple of hours. I think the hole card cameras put the show over the top!"

"We're thrilled with the early ratings success of the World Poker Tour series," said World Poker Tour CEO Steve Lipscomb. "The series' success further emboldens our feeling that we're on the crest of a wave - with the best yet to come. Poker is a hugely popular pastime with an estimated 40-50 million players nationwide. However, poker as a prime time television series is brand new, and it is clearly resonating with audiences - players and non-players alike. We really feel the World Poker Tour is the next major sports league in this country, and our continued success on the Travel Channel will help make that vision a reality."

Viewers don't have to wait for the dramatic series finale that will air on June 25, from 9-11 p.m. (ET/PT) to see heart- and wallet-wrenching poker action. World Poker Tour tournaments air on Wednesdays on the Travel Channel at 9 (ET/PT), and remaining episodes take audiences to some of the most famous casinos and card rooms in the world, including: Casinos Europa Card Club in San Jose, Costa Rica; Lucky Chances Casino in Colma, CA; Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT; Horseshoe Casino/Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, MS; Aviation Club de France in Paris, France; Commerce Casino in Commerce, CA; PartyPoker.com aboard a Caribbean cruise; the Reno Hilton in Reno, NV; and Bellagio in Las Vegas, NV. (Check local listings.)

The World Poker Tour is a global series of 13 poker tournaments united under one banner for television. The WPT will widen the television audience for poker by injecting high concept, cutting-edge television production values into the dramatic world of high-stakes, upscale, tournament poker. By projecting poker's true image -- a stylish and exhilarating sport combining cunning, skill and nerve -- the WPT will revolutionize poker in the same way the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" revolutionized game shows.

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