Stan Fulton, the man who first marketed a “wheel” slot machine, which eventually became the Wheel of Fortune game, the most successful slot game of all time, died last month at the age of 86.
After developing the “Wheel of Gold,” Fulton sold his company, Anchor Gaming, to IGT for $1.3 billion. He later donated $6.7 million to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to construct a building that now bears his name and houses the International Gaming Institute.
After selling Anchor, Fulton used the proceeds to buy the Sunland Park Racetrack in New Mexico.
Fulton arrived in Nevada in the 1970s developing a company called Fortune Coin, where he developed the industry’s first video slot. He expanded into a Nevada slot route, Anchor Coin. Anchor Gaming also ran Colorado casinos. Wheel of Gold was introduced in 1995, and quickly became popular as the first machine to offer a bonus.
IGI Executive Director Bo Bernhard explained what Fulton’s donation meant to UNLV.
“Over the years, the building has convened leaders from every major gaming company and global jurisdiction, and those discussions have led to breakthroughs in everything from sports wagering and the NFL to gaming innovation to slot operations to public policy to responsible gambling,” he says. “Without Stan, this never becomes the truly ‘international’ center its founders intended, and the thousands of students, government officials and leaders who have benefited from his generosity will be forever grateful.”
Patty Becker, a former member of the Nevada Gaming Control Board and gaming attorney, as well as a one-time leader of IGT, said Fulton was down to earth.
“When I headed the International Gaming Institute, Stan negotiated with Jim Rogers (two tough guys) to financially incent me to build IGI as a business unit so he would be proud of having his name on the building,” she said.