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Ortiz Gaming: Doubling Down in the U.S.

An industry leader in electronic bingo, Ortiz Gaming expands its library and its U.S. markets

Ortiz Gaming: Doubling Down in the U.S.

When this month’s Global Gaming Expo rolls around, Ortiz Gaming expects to be well on the way to doubling the number of U.S. states offering its colorfully innovative games.

“We have seen leaps and bounds in the technological innovations in the world around us,” Ortiz President Maurilio Silva said in the run-up to the Las Vegas super-show. “So this year, Ortiz Gaming is answering these ever-changing industry needs with a multi-solution catalog for land-based and interactive channels.”

It’s a catalog that’s been significantly enhanced on a lot of levels, and to highlight it, Ortiz has booked twice the exhibit space it did in 2014, which means visitors see more of Ortiz’s unique vision for the future of the Class II slot floor than ever before.

“We will be unveiling new takes on games?from online to server-based to electronic bingo?and everything in between,” said Silva.

Of course, the world of machine gaming outside the U.S.—and it’s a big world—has long been reaping the value that Ortiz’s out-of-the-box thinking has generated for their operations, mainly via the company’s core strength in electronic bingo. From its origins 20 years ago in the Latin American EGM market, the company has extended its reach throughout Central and South America, into Europe and, more recently, into East Asia via a subsidiary based in the Philippines.

Currently, players in 14 countries know all about Ortiz, and their numbers will be growing with the ramp-up of a new division called Ortiz Interactive that is bringing hits like Ace Mania, Triple Bonus, Goal Mania, Hot Chilli, Fiesta Bingo and Bingolé to online, mobile, server-based and social gaming platforms in regulated jurisdictions spanning the globe.

G2E also will see the U.S. debut of the O-Future, the company’s latest advancement in cabinet design offering the same rich package of graphics, sound and comfort pioneered by the 42-inch curved-screen O-Circle, but with twin high-definition monitors and adaptable lighting for different types of games.

The company also continues to improve on its Ortiz Cash management and reporting solution, which packs a full kit of customizable casino-scale tools at a price point tailored for the comparatively smaller operations that dominate in the company’s core markets.

For Ortiz, though, it all begins and ends with the games.

Popular sellers such as Ace Mania, a Latin-style three-by-five bingo offering available in both Class II and Class III versions, is emblematic of Ortiz’s innovative approach. Thirty balls are drawn, plus 10 extra balls, for play on up to four cards simultaneously. Twelve prize combinations are possible, or 13 in all, counting a jackpot.

The chase is focused on the character of the “Joker.” When he appears, players get to choose the next number from the 10 extra balls. They can also take a shot at doubling their prize by betting on whether the number on the card to be drawn will be greater or less than seven. They can wager everything they’ve won up to that point or half of it.

Six Bingo is scoring big in tribal markets with this same high-volume playability in an American-style five-by-five configuration packed with the bonus action favored by U.S. players. Here, too, the “Extra Bonus” ball concept figures prominently. Forty-four balls are drawn along with up to seven bonus balls for additional chances to win on up to four cards simultaneously, each of which features the center “Free Space” familiar to players of the traditional American game.

Triple Bonus, a three-by-five offering, adds a wheel bonus to the Extra Ball action, triggered when a player makes a square pattern on any card, which allows them to spin wheels to earn more credits.

With Goal Mania, a  three-by-five game available also for Class III, the company really signaled its commitment to pushing the frontiers of bingo playability. In essence, it’s a variation on what Ace Mania achieves, but with a bonus round triggered when a “Double O” prize is won. In the bonus, the player selects soccer players on the screen, each footballer corresponding to a credit award.

The game ends when a referee appears flashing a red card. The player keeps the total of the credits chosen before the red card appears. Seventeen prize combinations are possible in all, including a jackpot.

Needless to say, this is not your grandmother’s bingo, and it takes some bold math models to pull off its intricacies. Operators are becoming increasingly enamored of the manner in which Ortiz is doing it without battering players’ wallets, and players are showing their gratitude with notably longer times on device.

Much has been written already about Ortiz’s contribution to an ongoing revolution in how slot managers are thinking about the theoreticals on bingo. The key has been the Extra Ball bonus, which juices initial coin-in by nine times on average, according to experts.

That’s a lot when you factor in a 20-credit max bet per card at average game speeds approaching the highs of the old three-reel steppers and well above the 25-line penny slots so common on today’s floors.

Ortiz, meanwhile, is busy extending these ideas to an array of new e-lottery and keno concepts, some of which will be shown at G2E for the first time. You can bet that attendees will be taking a close look at them too.

James Rutherford is a freelance writer covering the gaming industry. Recently returned from three years in Macau as a non-resident worker, he is currently based in southern New Jersey. He can be contacted at jhrford@gmail.com.

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