Casino Game Makers
Those who know what they want to play can start searching immediately. For readers new to the world of casino gambling, I’ll give an overview of the gaming companies with games on this site. We’ll start with one of the biggest names in the U.S. casino games industry.
Bally Technologies is the second-largest slot machine manufacturer in the world. The brand has a complicated past, so that it can be said the company was founded either in 1932 in Chicago as the pinball company, Bally Manufacturing (later Bally Entertainment), or it was founded in 1968 in Enterprise, Nevada as a optics, medicine, and electronics company called Advanced Patent Technology, which was later named Gaming and Technology Inc., United Gaming Inc., and Alliance Gaming Corporation. In 1995, Alliance Gaming merged with Bally Entertainment. That combined company was purchased by Scientific Games in 2014 for $3.3 billion.
Scientific Games prints all the Powerball and Mega Millions lottery tickets sold throughout the United States. It is a huge lotto company, so Bally Technologies looks well-positioned to be a key slot machine manufacturer for the foreseeable future. Bally has focused on brick-and-mortar casinos throughout its history, but it is beginning to offer more online gaming software. Given the massive resources backing the company, it is likely to become a bigger factor in the Internet gaming market in the next few years.
At present, the company is known for its many licensed slot machines, such as Michael Jackson: King of Pop, Pawn Stars, TITANIC, Grease: Pink Ladies, Playboy, Let’s Make a Deal, NASCAR, Hee Haw, ZZ Top Live from Texas, and the Magic of David Copperfield. Bally Technologies also has innovative video slots like Cash Spin, Cash Wizard, Quick Hit, and Real Money.
International Game Technology
IGT is the largest slot machine manufacturer in the world. A lot of companies claim to be innovators, but International Game Technology takes the title. After being founded in Las Vegas in 1975, the company brought slot machines into the electronic age. IGT invented electronic slot machines, slots clubs, progressive jackpots, and licensed games. The slot machine industry would not be the same without IGT, and the company distributes about half of the slot machines in the United States. It has US offices in Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Providence.
IGT also has an international presence, with many headquarters in London and Rome and regional offices in 13 other nations, including China, Russia, and Brazil. IGT Australia is a major competitor Down Under, while IGT Interactive places its slots games in hundreds of online casinos worldwide. The company brings in about $2 billion a year and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
In 2014, IGT was purchased by GTECH for $5.1 billion. The two companies combined make the largest gaming company in the world. GTECH is an Italian lottery company. Over the past couple of decades, G-TECH has become a lotto provider for dozens of countries around the globe. Like the Bally/Scientific Games combine, it is a massive company with hundreds of slot machine titles. Several of those titles are as famous as any slot machine gets, including Wheel of Fortune and Megabucks. Wheel of Fortune helped start the progressive slots phenomenon, while Megabucks has given out 8 of the largest 10 slots jackpots in the history of gaming.
Aristocrat Leisure is the largest Australian slot machine manufacturer, where slot machines are king. Actually, the Aussies called their EGMs “poker machines” or “pokies”. No nation spends more per capita on gaming machines than the Australian people, so it really is a part of the culture. Aristocrat Leisure was a big part of making pokies part of the Australian pop culture.
Aristocrat Leisure was founded in the 1950s by Len Ainsworth. When Mr. Ainsworth left Aristocrat in the 1990s, he founded Ainsworth Game Technologies (AGT), which is one of Aristocrat Leisure’s chief competitors in Australia to this day. Meanwhile, Aristocrat has become an international company.
According to Forbes, Aristocrat Leisure is the 3rd-largest slot machine manufacturer in the world. The current CEO, Jamie Odell, has focused on “tactical” moves which keep his company viable, despite competing against the mega-giants. To that end, Odell purchased Video Gaming Technologies in 2014, which is one of the top manufacturers of Class II slot machines. For those non-Americans, Class II machines are those used in Native American tribal casinos, as opposed to the Class III or Las Vegas-style slots. Thus, Aristocrat Leisure has found a niche in which it can compete on an equal footing since the United States has 240+ tribal casinos strewn about the landscape. Aristocrat is a leader in online social gaming, too, so it uses smart and forward-thinking moves to compete against the big boys.
WMS Industries is another important slots company. WMS Industries began in Chicago in 1974 under the name Williams Industries Inc. These days, WMS Gaming and Williams Interactive are the main subsidiaries of the company. The company made a big contribution to US video game history when it began marketing “Pong” in the mid-1970s. Over the years, it owned aspects of Bally/Midway games and nearly bought Bally Technologies outright in 1995. The company was an innovator in transmissive reels, operating platforms, and game cabinets over the years. The G+ series of video reel slots had a big impact on “video lottery terminals”, which are slot machines which work on different game mechanics than slots, thus making them legal in many US states (when regular slots wouldn’t be).
WMS Industries prefers slots with video game aesthetics, complete with animated, full-color images, flat-panel display screens, and surround sound. This makes their machines likely to do well in the 21st century because millennials wanted slots with video game-style features. Williams Interactive, the online subsidiary of the company, was founded in 2012. Williams Interactive produced the cruise ship-themed Facebook game, Lucky Cruise.
In 2013, WMS Industries was purchased by Scientific Games for $1.5 billion and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Scientific Games these days. Thus, WMS Industries and Bally Technologies are now owned by the same company.