It’s been 25 years since Everi Holdings’ legacy game company Multimedia Games entered the Class II gaming space. From there, it’s been a progression of technology, game styles and new markets that has evolved into a remarkably diverse collection of products.
The evolution has been methodical: central determinant content for Washington lottery, then the New York lottery in 2004. The debut of the TournEvent tournament system in 2006. The transition to Class III from 2008 onward.
Since Multimedia and Global Cash Access merged to form Everi in 2015, the business has experienced significant organic growth, becoming a top supplier of mechanical-reel stepper, core video, and premium slots as well as tournament offerings.
“If you look at our most recent numbers, the future’s really exciting,” says Loren Rosenberg, Everi Games senior vice president and chief product officer. “We had a record second quarter this year, with our highest-ever quarterly sales of gaming machines, and in the latest Eilers slot survey, and we had 14 percent ship share in the markets that we participate in. If you look at the premium side of the business, we’ve really separated ourselves from the smaller suppliers, and we’re in a class of our own right behind the big three.
“As a company, we’re investing heavily in our R&D. Since January 2021, we’ve added 150 people across our game development and technology teams. You’ll see that investment reflected in our product roadmaps. We’re going from 64 games this year to approximately 88 next year in North America alone. This reinvestment translates to offering more product diversity to our casino operators.”
At Global Gaming Expo, Everi’s depth and breadth will be on full display with new products in each of the company’s categories, or “swim lanes,” as Rosenberg calls them. It starts with a new video cabinet called Dynasty Vue.
“It’s the first cabinet in our new Dynasty Series,” says Caitlin Harte, Everi’s director of product management. “The form factor is unique in that its custom display allows our game designers to create game mechanics that you would see on a portrait cabinet, while providing the sight lines comparable to a dual-screen, and the integrated base of a slant-top.”
The company is launching four game families on the Dynasty Vue at G2E. Money Slam offers an innovative reel array, with credit awards and four jackpots in a “cash-on-reels” connecting pay-style mechanic, with a bonus wheel at the top.
Combo Cash utilizes a “Win What You See” bonus that replicates the feature from the company’s smash hit Cash Machine—where numbers appearing on three reels form a simple display of the bonus award.
Wild Wheel continues the tradition of wheel-based bonus games begun by Everi’s Wicked Wheel series, and High Rollin’ Gems is a multi-game offering that brings together three of Everi’s highest-performing mechanical reel-spinners, in a brand-new video package.
“All of our launch families present a wide range of features right out of the gate, and we’ll have a large catalogue of games launching throughout 2023,” Harte says.
While Dynasty Vue joins a multitude of successful form factors on the video side, Everi is beginning to ride the success of its newest stepper cabinet, the Player Classic Signature.
Officially launched earlier this year, the cabinet brings modern technology to a form factor that remains loyal to the traditional reel-spinner. The cabinet features wider reels than the original Player Classic, with full-spectrum color lighting enhancing the spinning reels. The digital display above the reels includes the traditional pay schedule, while payline configurations light up to show players how they have won.
Players, by the way, can select the denominations on the games. Pay schedule amounts and progressives displayed on the top monitor instantly change as the denomination is adjusted.
“We designed Player Classic Signature thoughtfully to bring our legacy of success into the future, yet still honor and respect the rich history of Player Classic and the loyal stepper player,” says Rosenberg. “We stayed true to everything that we’ve learned since the launch of Player Classic 15 years ago, and selectively updated and enhanced it for the changing player and operator needs.”
Inaugural releases Blazin’ Gems Deluxe and Triple Jackpot Gems Deluxe bring the “double nudge” feature to the new cabinet—a feature that offers two chances at improving results on nine lines that can result in more than one of the five progressives on a single spin.
Among the highlights on the cabinet at G2E will be several new game families. The Platinum Signature series features two double-progressive meters—two progressives (triggered by three wild symbols) apply to the base game and two larger progressives to the free-games feature, Platinum Spins. Inaugural games are Black Diamond Platinum and Crystal Star Platinum.
The Extra Spin series—with base games Patriot Extra Spin and Wild Gems Extra Spin—gives players an extra chance at landing three wild symbols to win one of two progressives. When wild symbols land on the first two reels, the third reel re-spins for another crack at the prize. (The top progressive is won with three wilds on the ninth payline.)
Other game groups featured on Player Classic Signature include the Crowns Diamond Respin Series, which randomly re-spins up to five times after a win, with prizes equal to or higher than each previous re-spin; the Pay Upgrade Series, which includes the rare persistent feature on a stepper game when a multiplier on a win applies to the subsequent three spins; and the Classic Bonus Multiplier series, featuring multipliers up to 30X.
The new stepper cabinet joins a mechanical reel group that has catapulted Everi to the top of the genre. The Skyline Revolve premium cabinet has been home to several hits, including Cash Machine Jackpots and Gold Standard Jackpots. The format offers player-selectable denoms and classic mechanical stepper math.
“Skyline Revolve is the No. 1 premium mechanical product in the market, according to Eilers,” says Rosenberg. “Gold Standard Jackpots and Cash Machine Jackpots have each been home runs.”
This year, the company will use the cabinet to introduce a licensed theme baby boomers will remember with a chuckle: Rocky and Bullwinkle, and a sister game, Boris & Natasha.
Both three-reel, nine-line games feature the Skyline Revolve bonus wheel and a five-level progressive jackpot, but boomers who were fans of the quirky 1960s Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons will find the audio that accompanies most reel events to be hilarious. The games’ developers convincingly recreated the voices of the show’s characters—the heroes Rocky and Bullwinkle and Cold War Russian-spy villains Boris and Natasha—who react to game events with wisecracks from the show. They even pipe up in attract mode:
Natasha: “You got plan, Dahling?”
Boris: “I always got plan!”
Even the narrator of the cartoon series, who would hyper-dramatically introduce each scene, is reproduced. When the wheel spin is triggered, the narrator declares, “Just in… a mysterious wheel began to spin!” This one will have boomers laughing out loud.
The premium steppers will join a host of games on the company’s standard mechanical platforms, including not only Player Classic Signature but the Skyline format, which places a 24-inch LCD display with a vintage-inspired bezel on top of Player Classic; and the original Player Classic, which continues to pump out titles.
The Skyline will host several recently released titles, including Triple Double Cash as well as the 5X Skyline Series, which consists of 5X Gran Coronas and 5X Wild Jackpot Gems.
On the Player Classic, Everi will show four new titles, including Wild Stacks Deluxe Ruby Fire, Wild Stacks Deluxe Sapphire Riches, Wild Wild Stars, and Wild Wild Charms.
Flexing in Premium Video
Everi’s continued top performance on the stepper side is matched by video in a wealth of configurations, from the premium Empire DCX, Empire Flex Fusion and Empire Arena formats to several new core video launches on the standard Empire Flex and MPX portrait cabinets.
At G2E, Everi will show two new titles for Empire DCX, the theatrical presentation that hosts the hit Shark Week Feeding Frenzy—Little Shop of Horrors Director’s Cut and Willie Nelson Live.
“Little Shop of Horrors was popular on the Empire MPX cabinet, and this is a naturally upgraded version,” Rosenberg says. “We’ve made some really nice twists to the game, and believe players are really going to like the additions.”
The mystery wild feature from the original is enhanced in this new version—instead of individual symbols becoming wild, entire reels turn wild. Bonus features include Rampage Reels, which displays up to six individual reel arrays for a free spin; and a wheel bonus including credit awards, jackpots and extra spins.
The new Willie Nelson game brings footage from a live Willie Nelson concert to the big 4K DCX format, with bonuses including a lock-and-re-spin event, a pick bonus, and a mystery free-spin event. The lock-and-re-spin event aims to fill the screen with Texas-themed stars to trigger one of four progressives. The picking bonus has the player selecting from, naturally, guitar picks. All events are accompanied by video from live Willie Nelson shows.
On the Empire Arena, Everi is following up the recent success of Fu Lu Shou Land of Wealth with two new game families—Fruit Ninja Frenzy and Super Fiesta!
First introduced as one of the base games for the TournEvent tournament system, Fruit Ninja Frenzy has at its heart a “frenzy” of player interaction, as various pieces of fruit fly across the screen and the player physically swipes and slashes the touch-screen to obliterate as many pieces of fruit as possible within a short time, revealing bonus awards each time. Players have loved this feature, which always creates a lot of onlooker attention. There also is a lock-and-spin bonus featuring cash-on-reels symbols.
Super Fiesta! features the Forever-Wilds re-spin bonus that locks wilds in place for free spins, and the famous piñata bonus.
Flex Fusion first launched with Cashnado, and the company will show two new enhanced versions of that game, Storm Surge and Super Nova, at G2E this year.
Cashnado began rolling out early last year, after the Covid-abbreviated 2020. “This was the marque product we rolled out early last year,” Rosenberg says. “Cashnado continues to perform well as we deploy more units in the field.”
Storm Surge and Super Nova keep the popular Cash Grab bonus, in which players touch flying dollar bills to release bonus awards, and adds features such as progressive odds that scale as the player increases denominations. The other bonus is Key Pays, in which credits, bonus awards or progressives appearing on the reels hit when accompanied by a key on the first or fifth reel and double if a key lands on both reels.
Also on the Flex Fusion is Lift Off, which features the Rocket Respins hold-and-spin feature, in which cash-on-reels symbols and multipliers appear and lock for three spins.
“Flex Fusion is a great form factor for us to develop and grow these homegrown internal brands,” says Harte. “The two game families that have been released are Cashnado and Smokin’ Hot Stuff Wicked Wheel Fire & Ice. Both have seen great, promising numbers right off the bat.”
Everi also will showcase the depth of its product catalog for the core Empire Flex and Empire MPX portrait cabinets. The newest successes in core video are two games played without reels. Cha-Ching! displays a field of gift boxes that essentially is a pick bonus used as the primary game. Money Line features cash-on-reels symbols, multipliers and free-spin symbols on an otherwise blank game field.
Among the highlights of G2E debut games in core video are Fu Blossom Blessings and Fu Blossom Prosperity, featuring the elegant Asian art first seen on the premium Fortune Garden game with a modified “growing flower” persistent-style bonus in which three flowers grow toward large credit awards and progressives, and a separate Fortune Spins feature that grows the bonus multiplier as high as 5X. Everi also has made this title available for tournament play in the TournEvent Winners Circle package.
Other standouts include Genie’s Prize and Pixie’s Prize, 40-line games with random symbol upgrades and a bonus granting the player three “wishes” to unveil prize amounts.
The Full-Screen Jackpots series, with games Fortune Teller and Lucky Genie, features mystery wild reels, an accumulator, free spins, and a quick-pick game. The main bonus is the Fortune Wheel, which spins for credit prizes and/or multipliers. Lucky Genie has a Fortune Grab, in which players touch floating objects to earn credit prizes, extra picks, and/or jackpot spins.
The Banner Series has two diverse themes available—Aztec and Pegasus—and features a persistent element in which players collect banners to transform low symbols into the mystery symbol for future spins and a chance to connect for big wins.
Then, there’s the Potion Explosion Series—Bewitching Bucks and Wizardly Wins. Both themes feature expanding reels that can upgrade wilds to stacks of 2X multipliers and a match-three bonus to win jackpots.
Finally, Everi will display the variety of configurations and tournament products now available on TournEvent Everiway, the next iteration of the TournEvent slot tournament system. The system, which has been used for customized slot tournaments around the country, has expanded feature sets to meet the evolving needs of slot directors and marketers.
This year’s TournEvent story starts with TournEvent Classic, the traditional group-style play that was introduced 15 years ago and served as the basis of several annual “TournEvent of Champions” national contests.
The company then introduced the TournEvent Now feature, which allows operators to offer TournEvent on demand, so players can complete their tournament sessions at their leisure. TournEvent Winners Circle combines exclusive in-revenue content with premium merchandising designed for high-profile play.
TournEvent Cross Play ensures TournEvent options are available on any Everi dual-screen or portrait cabinet on the floor. TournEvent Concierge kiosks allow players to self-register for tournaments right at the promotional kiosk, as well as view leaderboards and learn about active and future tournaments.
“We have all these new, distinct features of TournEvent,” says Michael Conway, Everi Games vice president, communications and media-games—and familiar host of the TournEvent of Champions contests. Conway notes that TournEvent Now, in addition to making it easy for players to play their sessions, came at the right time during the Covid era. “How do you run a successful tournament when you don’t want lots of players in close quarters?” he says.
But it answers other questions as well. “How do you do build simplicity and flexibility into long-term tournaments? One of the biggest advantages of TournEvent Now is that operators can run long-term promotions through their loyalty programs, which minimizes the staff needed and the time needed for games to be out of revenue. Operators can move players through multi-round tournaments on their time, at their pace.”
TournEvent Winners Circle, he says, “is our premium presentation.” He recounted seeing it in action at Louisiana’s Coushatta Casino. “This new premium bank presentation looks top-notch both out-of-revenue and in-revenue, with synchronized attract content across the bank and an enhanced sign package.”
“Last year, we spent a lot of time creating, then refining, these five features—TournEvent is very much a part of us,” says Rosenberg. “TournEvent has always been about the players, but operators’ needs have changed over the last 15 years, so we were innately focused on addressing these needs.”
Everi’s G2E booth, of course, will also feature all of the company’s fintech solutions. But the slot display will demonstrate the remarkable variety in the company’s product roadmap.
“It’s important for us as a company to never lose focus on the markets we currently operate in,” Rosenberg says. “As we make strategic decisions to enter new markets, it’s critical that we continue to innovate and support our casino partners across North America as we firmly believe there is more growth to come with the investments we are making in Class II, Class III, and Washington lottery.
“And we have the talent and the products to get us there.”