You can play a slot machine in Las Vegas before you’ve even reached baggage claim: there are tiny slots parlors in every terminal of Mc Carran International Airport.
Once you pick up your rental car, you can stop for gas and play slots at a convenience store.
And that’s all before you’ve even reached your hotel-casino, which — if it follows the modern standard — dedicates roughly 80 percent of its gaming floor to slots, and only 20 percent to table games.
Bally Technologies, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of slot machines, is headquartered 3 miles south of the Strip.
When I visited Bally in mid-March, Mike Trask, the company’s senior marketing manager, walked me into the company’s showroom to play some games.
Compared to the cacophony of a casino floor, Bally’s showroom was practically monastic, the lights low and the room silent apart from the soothing hum of two dozen hibernating consoles.
Trask, a tall man in his 30s with dirty-blond hair, showed me the company’s new Friends-themed game, installed on Bally’s Pro Wave cabinet, a slick, 42-inch curved console.
When it came out, is our demographic," Trask said, standing alongside the cabinet.
I took a seat in front of the unit, and Trask touched a logo on the display’s upper corner, selected a box on the display that ensured I would get a bonus round, and told me to hit the spin button.
I did, and a pared down version of the show’s theme song played, the NBC sextet smiled at me from the prime of their youth, and five reels of symbols — a Central Perk decal, a guitar, screenshots of characters — scrolled down the screen.
The Wheel of Fortune-style bonus round featured a clip of Rachel saying, "Happy birthday, Grandma! Bally assembles all of its machines in a factory warehouse next to its game studios and tucked behind its Vegas corporate headquarters.
Last year, Scientific Games, Bally’s parent company, shipped out more than 17,000 new units.