Regardless of whether you’re playing in Atlantic City, Las Vegas or points in between, most slot machines work the same way. Each game has its own random number generator, and the numbers it generates determines what you see on the reels.
There are other ways to go about it, including Class II games in some Native American casinos. There, the game being played is really electronic bingo, with numbers being drawn for whole banks, or multiple banks, of games through a central processor. Bingo numbers are then translated into slot reel combinations or video poker hands. You can watch numbers being generated within a small bingo display on the machine, but the large full-screen display is devoted to spinning reels or video icons.
Manufacturers work hard to keep Class II games as fresh, new and exciting as slots with RNGs, known as Class III games in Native American casinos. Big strides have been made. In days past, Class II games were noticeably slower than Class IIIs. Now, the image translation from bingo to slot symbols is much faster, making new Class II slots as fast as their RNG counterparts.
Gamemakers that port game themes developed for Class III onto Class II slots need to do some adjustments in the math to account for the bingo element. Bally has done just that with games such as NASCAR, available in a Class II version as well as its original RNG/Class III format. Regardless of game classification, NASCAR features drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, and Kevin Harvick on Bally’s Pro Series V22/32 cabinet with 22-inch and 32-inch video screens. The game’s three bonus events provide extra excitement, including guiding your driver around the track in a race for the biggest bonus prize.
Casinos that use both Class II and Class III games long have kept them separate, each in their own areas of the slot floor, or even in their own rooms. Advances in Class II technology have made some operators more comfortably with intermingling their games, with both styles in the same floor areas. That’s led International Game Technology to develop a series of games especially for Class II.
The thinking is that an operator that has Wolf Run on a Class III game is unlikely to add the Class II Wolf Run in close proximity. So IGT is kicking off a series with math models based on successful Class III games, but with new Class II-only themes. The first games in the series are Empress of the Amazon, Bengal Eyes and The Horseman.
Cadillac Jack, a leading provider of Class II slot games, develops games especially for that format. One new innovation is the unscripted bonus event, a difficult thing to do on bingo format. On many Class II games, experienced players can watch the patterns build on the bingo display during the initial reel spin and know not only that they’re going to a bonus event, but how big their bonus is going to be. Cadillac Jack’s innovation adds bingo draws within the bonus events, which have varied enough outcomes that players never know what’s coming.
Cadillac Jack also has added a new Power X-Stream series with very long string of stacked symbols in high-volatility games. That’s a model that has proved successful on Class III penny games, and it figures to be a hit in Class II, starting with Legends of the White Buffalo and Firewolf.
Not all tribal casinos use Class II games. Most slot machines in Native American casinos are Class III, which are the same as RNG games in commercial casinos. But tribal compacts in some states have limits on numbers of Class III slots. A few casinos use only Class II games, but more often, casinos use both classes on the same floor. Prime Class II markets include California, Washington, Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama and Louisiana.
Class II game payoffs are funded by other players – instead of betting against the house, you’re wagering for a share of the money other players are betting. On a Class III slot machine, it’s possible for you to be the only player in the house. The casino banks the game, so that if you win, your payoff comes out of house funds. In Class II, there must be at least two people playing. They don’t have to be playing the same game theme. The central processor draws the bingo numbers, and those can be applied to games of different themes.
Should any of that make a difference to you, it’s easy to tell when you’re playing a Class II game by the bingo display in the top box or on the video screen. Either way, you’re getting a random game, but the route to randomness is different.
Look for John Grochowski at www.casinoanswerman.com, on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
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