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Best of the Best: EKG Slot Awards

Aristocrat again dominates the field in the second Eilers & Krejcik Gaming Slot Awards

Best of the Best: EKG Slot Awards

Gaming consultancy Eilers & Krejcic Gaming held its second annual EKG Slot Awards last month in a gala affair at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and for the second year in a row, the awards, which rate the best in a variety of slot-game genres, were dominated by slot manufacturer Aristocrat Technologies.

In addition to presentations of awards in all the slot categories, EKG honored Triple Play Poker inventor Ernie Moody as the second inductee into the EKG Slot Awards Hall of Fame, joining inaugural inductee Joe Kaminkow, the longtime IGT game design guru now in charge of a premium game studio at Aristocrat. Kaminkow presented the award to Moody.

The EKG Slot Awards, conducted by the top consultancy and performance analysts in the slot sector, were created to recognize excellence in slot game development. The 24 different categories of slot machines nominated for awards were determined by EKG’s principals and the firm’s Slot Awards Board of Advisors.

Winners are determined using a data-driven approach, involving a combination of analyzing proprietary game performance data and a survey of qualified slot managers for the land-based categories. Where no data is available, the winners are determined solely by the survey responses. For the Social Casino and iGaming categories, winners are determined by a distinguished panel of industry experts combined with EKG proprietary data.

“There are a lot of award shows out there, but this show is all about the games,” said EKG principal Todd Eilers before the award presentations. “It is a celebration of game development.”

For the second year in a row, Aristocrat won the top award of the program, Best Overall Supplier of Slot Content. It was one of eight awards logged by the supplier—the next closest total was three, won by each Everi and Scientific Games. IGT won two.

Aristocrat’s wins included three in the mega-hit Buffalo franchise—Buffalo Gold Revolution, for Top Performing New Video Reel Core Game; Buffalo Diamond, for Top Performing New Premium Game; and Buffalo Gold, for Top Performing Core Video Reel Game.

Other Aristocrat wins for games included two nods for Dragon Link-Happy And Prosperous, which won for Top Performing Proprietary Branded Game and Top Performing Premium Game.

Aristocrat also won two awards for the company’s cabinets. The dual-screen Mars X was named Top Performing New Cabinet-Core, and the radical curve cabinet flame55 won for Top Performing New Cabinet-Premium.

Everi logged three awards, after winning none in the inaugural EKG awards last year. The supplier won for Top Performing New Mechanical Reel Core Game with the unique Cash Machine and Top Performing Third Party IP Branded Game with Shark Week-Jaws of Steel. Everi also was named Most Improved Supplier-Premium.

Scientific Games also won three awards, for Quick Hit Ultra Pays Sun Dragon, as Best New Online Slot; 88 Fortunes, as Top Performing Core Mechanical Reel Game; and SciPlay, as Top Social Casino Company.

IGT’s Ultimate X was named Top Performing Video Poker Game, and IGT was named the Most Improved Supplier-Core. While Konami was not named as award recipient, PlayStudios won Best Use of Land-Based Content in a Social Slot Game for myKonami, which is a social offering of Konami land-based titles.

Other notable awards included Gamblit’s GemFlux!, which won as Top Performing Interactive Electronic Gaming Machine; Interblock’s Roulette, as Top Performing Electronic Table Game; Zynga’s Game of Thrones Slots, as Best New Social Casino Game; and Evolution, as Best Overall Supplier of Online Table Games.

 

Multi-Hand Milestone

Moody was inducted into the EKG Slot Awards Hall of Fame in recognition of his multi-hand poker invention, which began with Triple Play Poker and proceeded to revolutionize the video poker genre with a series of games produced in partnership with IGT, including Five Play Poker, Spin Poker, Super Times Pay Poker, Ultimate X Poker and several others.

Moody’s induction by Kaminkow, last year’s recipient, was highlighted by videos featuring many of IGT’s former luminaries, including former CEO Chuck Mathewson, longtime IGT product development EVP Bob Bittman, and Mike Fields, the executive vice president of Moody’s company, Action Gaming, a former IGT director and an executive that has been on the multi-hand poker ride with Moody for the past 14 years.

Moody, a North Jersey native, started several commercial businesses before landing in the gaming industry as part of the investor group that opened Colorado’s Gilpin Casino in 1991. He built the first prototype for Triple Play Gaming—which presents three versions of each hand with draw cards taken from three separate decks—independently in the early 1990s.

After bringing the first prototype of the game to the World Gaming Congress trade show in 1995, Moody struck the first distribution deal with IGT in 1997. The partnership is still going strong, the latest hit game being Ultimate X Poker, this year’s top video poker game.

“Ernie Moody is definitely one of the truly outstanding innovators in the video poker world,” said Mathewson in his video tribute. “His creation of Triple Play Poker, followed by Five Play, 10 Play, 20 Play, 50 Play and even 100 Play, is definitely a major contribution to the immense popularity of video poker today.”

Moody was named to the AGA Gaming Hall of Fame last October.

WINNERS EILERS & KREJCIK SLOT AWARDS 2020

Aristocrat wins Best Video Reel Core award

CATEGORY: Top Performing NEW Video Reel Core Game
WINNER: Aristocrat • GAME: Buffalo Gold Revolution

CATEGORY: Top Performing NEW Mechanical Reel Core Game
WINNER: Everi • GAME: Cash Machine

CATEGORY: Top Performing NEW Premium Game
WINNER: Aristocrat • GAME: Buffalo Diamond

CATEGORY: Best Use of Land-Based Content in a Social Slot Game
WINNER: PlayStudios  • GAME: myKonami

SG wins for Best New Online Slot

CATEGORY: Best New Online Slot
WINNER: Scientific Games • GAME: Quick Hit Ultra Pays Sun Dragon

CATEGORY: Top Performing NEW Cabinet – Core
WINNER: Aristocrat • GAME: Mars X

CATEGORY: Top Performing NEW Cabinet – Premium
WINNER: Aristocrat • GAME: Flame55

Gamblit wins Interactive EGM award

CATEGORY: Top Performing Interactive Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM)
WINNER: Gamblit • GAME: GemFlux!

CATEGORY: Top Performing Core Mechanical Reel Game
WINNER: Scientific Games • GAME: 88 Fortunes

CATEGORY: Top Performing Core Video Reel Game
WINNER: Aristocrat • GAME: Buffalo Gold

CATEGORY: Top Performing Online Slot
WINNER: Scientific Games • GAME: 88 Fortunes

Murka named Most Innovative Social Casino Company

CATEGORY: Most Innovative Social Casino Company
WINNER: Murka • GAME: Scatter Slots

CATEGORY: Top Performing Video Poker Game
WINNER: IGT • GAME: Ultimate X

CATEGORY: Top Performing 3rd Party IP Branded Game
WINNER: Everi • GAME: Shark Week – Jaws of Steel

CATEGORY: Top Performing Proprietary Branded Game
WINNER: Aristocrat • GAME: Dragon Link – Happy And Prosperous

Interblock wins for Top ETG

CATEGORY: Top Performing Electronic Table Game (ETG)
WINNER: Interblock • GAME: Roulette

CATEGORY: Best New Social Casino Game
WINNER: Zynga • GAME: Game of Thrones Slots

CATEGORY: Top Performing Premium Game
WINNER: Aristocrat • GAME: Dragon Link – Happy And Prosperous

CATEGORY: Top Social Casino Company
WINNER: Scientific Games • GAME: SciPlay

CATEGORY: Best Overall Supplier of Online Table Games
WINNER: Evolution

CATEGORY: Most Improved Supplier – Core
WINNER: IGT

CATEGORY: Most Improved Supplier – Premium
WINNER: Everi

CATEGORY: Best Overall Supplier of Slot Content
WINNER: Aristocrat

Frank Legato
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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