Aristocrat Gaming once again led the field in Eilers & Krejcik Gaming’s fifth annual EKG Slot Awards event, held February 23 at the Aria in Las Vegas. Aristocrat won a total of six awards, including a repeat win as Top Overall Supplier.
It was not quite as dominant a showing for Aristocrat as in other years—the supplier won nine EKG awards last year, for instance—but its six awards still led all suppliers.
In addition to the top award, the company won for Top Performing New Video Reel Core Game (Bao Zhu Zhao Fu Red Festival), Top Performing New Premium Game (Lightning Dollar Link: Kung Fu Master), Top Performing New Video Cabinet (Neptune Single), Top Performing Proprietary Branded Game (Dragon Link), and Most Innovative Game (Bao Zhu Zhao Fu Red Festival).
While Aristocrat was on top, the awards this year reflected increased competition in the slot sector, as other suppliers won multiple prominent awards.
IGT, for instance, won four awards, including nods for its DiamondRS cabinet, named Top Performing New Mechanical Reel Cabinet-Core; Wheel of Fortune High Roller, named Top Performing Third Party IP Branded Game; Ultimate X Poker as Top Performing Video Poker Game (for the first time, a nominated video poker supplier was not IGT as Aristocrat’s Winner’s World bartop scored a nomination); and Most Improved Supplier-Premium.
Light & Wonder won three awards, scoring Top Performing New Mechani cal Reel Game for its new Blazing 7s wheel game, Blazing 777 Triple Double Jackpot Wild, as well as Top Performing New Cabinet for Kascada Dual Screen and Top Social Casino Company for its SciPlay division.
Bluberi scored its first EKG Slot Awards, winning for Top Performing Game from an Emerging Supplier with its Devil’s Lock game and as Most Improved Supplier-Core.
There was a special award created this year for Murka, the Cyprus-based social casino game development company that continued its operations in Kyiv and Dnipro, Ukraine, despite the Russian invasion and war over the past year. Murka was given a Special Award for Overcoming Adversity.
Meanwhile, the EKG Slot Awards Hall of Fame got three new members at the event. Inducted in the Game Development category were Dennis Mead and Charles Fey. In the Slot Operations category, Buddy Frank was also inducted into the Hall.
Mead distinguished himself at IGT, where he was art director for products including Wheel of Fortune, Megabucks and Quartermania, as well as designing custom slot machines for major Las Vegas Strip properties.
Fey (1862-1944), the first posthumous induction into the Hall of Fame, is credited with designing and building the first three-reel slot machine, the Liberty Bell, in the late 1890s, establishing the basic slot format that would be followed by all others for more than a century. Fey’s grandson, Marshall Fey, appeared on video to induct the legendary inventor.
Frank is a legend in slot operations, having started his career at three Reno casinos and capping it off as vice president of slot operations at California’s Pechanga Resort Casino.
The land-based category winners were determined by the official voting from over 100 qualified slot directors representing over 300 casinos across the U.S. and Canadian markets and representing roughly 300,000 total slot machines. For the iGaming and Social Casino segments, winners were determined by voting from a distinguished panel of industry experts.
A complete listing of the winners for the fifth annual EKG Slot Awards is provided below.
Top Performing NEW Video Reel Core Game
Bao Zhu Zhao Fu Red Festival – Aristocrat
Top Performing NEW Mechanica Reel Core Game
Blazing 777 Triple Double Jackpot Wild – Light & Wonder
Top Performing NEW Premium Game
Lightning Dollar Link – Kung Fu Master –Aristocrat
Top Performing NEW Video Cabinet – Core
Neptune Single – Aristocrat
Top Performing NEW Mechanical Reel Cabinet – Core
DiamondRS – IGT
Top Performing NEW Cabinet – Premium
Kascada Dual Screen – Light & Wonder
Top Performing Proprietary Branded Game
Dragon Link – Aristocrat
Top Performing 3rd Party IP Branded Game
Wheel of Fortune – High Roller – IGT
Top Electronic Table Game (ETG) Supplier
Top Performing Video Poker Game
Ultimate X Poker – IGT
Top Performing Game from an Emerging Supplier
Devil’s Lock – Bluberi
Most Innovative Game
Bao Zhu Zhao Fu Red Festival – Aristocrat
Most Improved Supplier – Core
Most Improved Supplier – Premium
Best Overall Supplier of Slot Content
SOCIAL CASINO AWARDS
Best Social Slots Game
Lightning Link Casino – Pixel United
Best NEW Social Casino Game
MGM Slots Live – PlayStudios
iGAMING AWARDS (Real Money)
Top Performing NEW Online Slot
Almighty Buffalo Megaways – White Hat Studios
Top Performing NEW Online Table Game
21+3 Progressive Blackjack – Bragg Gaming Group
Top Performing Online Live Casino Game
Live Dealer Blackjack – Evolution
Most Innovative Online Game
Break the Bounty LuckyTap – Design Works Gaming
Best Overall Supplier of Online Content
Top Performing Omni-Channel Slot (Retail & Online)
Triple Jackpot Gems – Everi