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King of Pop slot machine a thriller

John Grochowski

John Grochowski

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CASINO NOTE

Players have a chance to drive away — twice — in the “Two Cars are Better Than One” promotion at Grand Victoria in Elgin. Each Tuesday through July 24, Grand Victoria will hold drawings at 2 and 8 p.m., with a 2012 Chevy Equinox and a Chevy Camaro convertible to the big winner. Visit grandvic
toriacasino.com.

Updated: June 27, 2012 7:23PM



The buzz has been building about Bally Technologies’ Michael Jackson: King of Pop slot machines ever since it gave the casino industry a preview at Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas last November.

Now the game is ready for distribution, as ballyhooed in a concert-tour mimicking poster touting “Worldwide Rollout 2012” on the outer cardboard roll and “Now Playing” on the poster itself.

There’s also an answer to a question readers often have asked me: What happens when a game designed as a wide-area progressive is placed in a casino that won’t or can’t use such systems? Wide-area progressives link games at different casinos, with the top jackpot mounting with each wager on any game on the link.

That doesn’t happen in Illinois or Indiana, where wide-area progressives are illegal. There’s no word yet on when we’ll see Jacko in the Chicago area, but when we do, it’ll be a slightly different version than the wide-areas.

Both versions will include multiple bonus events spotlighting the King of Pop with video, graphics and songs including “Beat It,” “Bad,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Billie Jean” and “Dirty Diana.” All games are five-reel, 25-line video slots with a 320-coin maximum wager.

The wide-area progressive will be a penny game, while the game we’ll see here will be available to casinos in 16 credit denominations, from 1 cent to $500. The top award on the WAP will be 40 million credits, while on the non-wide area game it will be 1 million credits. Naturally, that top jackpot will be harder to get on the wide-area games, at once per 45,662,500 plays vs. once in 3,796,875 plays on the games we’ll see here. The top jackpot event is triggered when five Top Award symbols appear either on or within one position above or below the center payline.

There will be a slightly higher hit frequency on wide-area games. Players will get at least some payback on 40.97 percent of spins, vs. 39.21 percent on the other games.

Having tested King of Pop at the expo, I can tell you the experience is a thriller. It’s on Bally’s V22/32 cabinet with a 32-inch vertical top box. The game is filled with Jackson pictures, film clips, music video, and, of course, music in Bally’s chair with 5.1 Dolby sound. At the end of a bonus round when a golden statue of a bandolier-clad Jackson rises in the top box, you’ll know you’ll have been through an entertainment extravaganza.

John Grochowski is a local free-lance writer.



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