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Alphabet Soup

The humorous world of acronyms

Alphabet Soup

I just got back from the SUC, put on by BYI, and it was SCG.

Sorry, what I meant to say was that I just got back from the Systems User Conference, put on by Bally Technologies, and it was—you guessed it—a stone cold groove.

I’m still trying to fit in with all the systems and IT folks, who pretty much communicate in Acronymese. Evidently, engineers and other systems types have so very much to say that it would just take too long to pronounce all those syllables.

I’ve written about the conference (see Casino Futures article) utilizing the same method by which I’ve communicated for some 55 years, using complete words gleaned from the English language.

OK, I didn’t really use complete words for the first couple of those years, when my speech included such observances as “goo,” “baba” and “pascetti” (a form of pasta). There were also a few years there in the early ’70s I may have made the same types of observances, but I don’t remember. However, generally, I have tended to employ complete words as a means of communication.

But at the systems conference, everybody was talking about DMs, SDS, ACSC, CMP Clouds, GUI screens, the RGS, the STM, the VDI…


I eventually learned what they all meant, and now, as Cab Calloway used to say, I’m “hep to the jive.” But I must admit, my eyes were glazed over for a while, especially when they pronounced the acronyms as if they were real words instead of a series of letters. I now know that GUI stands for “graphical user interface,” and they weren’t really talking about “gooey screens.”

(At first, I thought there was some kind of new monitor made of maple syrup, or perhaps peanut butter. I wondered if there were also creamy screens and crunchy screens.)

I also now know that VDI is a “virtual data interface,” and not a new communicable disease. (That’s right, VDI is not an STD.)

After further review, I’ve come to realize that the excessive acronym usage (EAU) employed by the Bally systems people is not necessarily just because they are systems people. It’s because a lot of them also are young people, who are accustomed to communicating on smart phones, even with people who are in the same room. Smart-phone-speak is the same as Twitter-speak, in that brevity is valued above all else, whether or not the English language is massacred in the process.

For the record, I take longer to type a text than many of you young whippersnappers, because I refuse to substitute the letter “U” for the word “you.” (Would it kill you to type two more letters, for crying out loud?) If I’m going to be right back, I say I’m going to be right back. I’ll never BRB. I’ll never LOL, or, for that matter, LMAO. If someone texts something funny to me, I’ll text back, “That’s funny.” It may take another second or two, but I’m willing to sacrifice that time in defense of proper grammar.

While I will continue to spend these extra phone minutes in defense of the English language, I still plan on attending systems user conferences until I can sling acronyms like a pro.

My daughter is an engineer for the U.S. government, and she told me they have acronyms which actually have other acronyms inside the acronyms. It’s called “acronym nesting,” something I have heretofore only seen on The Simpsons:

 “Come to Homer’s BBBQ. The extra B stands for BYOBB.”

“What’s the extra B in BYOBB stand for?”

“Oh, that’s a typo.”


Incidentally, my daughter prepared for her acronym-filled government career with an internship in electrical engineering at Bally Technologies. (I’m not kidding.)


Anyway, as I said before, I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, except for the trip home, which was on an airplane that had about six inches between my face and the seat back in front of me, and naturally, the rather rotund gentleman in that seat had to recline until I thought I was giving birth to him. I kicked at the seat back, as if to say, non-verbally, “Please remove your massive self from my lap,” but he did not budge. I should have flung a few choice acronyms at him.


By the way, the person who suggested I devote a column to Bally acronyms was Bruce Rowe, the company’s senior vice president of strategy and customer consulting, or as he likes to call it, SVPSCC.


He’s my BFF.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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