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Slingo Gaming in the News

Coastal Amusements set to debut coin-op version of hit internet game
09.05.2003
GET READY FOR SLINGO!

Slingo, have you heard of it? Well, if you haven't, you are certainly in the minority because the game phenomenon, which has been going on for the past half decade, has logged close to two billion games played online, making it one of the most popular Internet games around.

Take heart, though, if you find yourself woefully out of the loop, facing the daily challenges of running a game route while desperately searching for hot new coin-op product. Slingo is coming to coin-op, thanks to the veteran gamesmiths at New Jersey based Coastal Amusements. Slingo will be launched at this month's AMOA International Expo in Las Vegas through an exclusive license between Coastal and game creator and online promoter Slingo.com. The game will become the signature attraction for Coastal's line of touchscreen games, the Slingo GT 2004.

"Many of the touchscreen games currently on the market are variations of titles that other developers are also offering. We felt that we needed to be able to offer something that can only be played on our touchscreen game system, the Slingo GT 2004," says Coastal EVP and sales topper Sal Mirando. "We wanted to make a complete departure from the norm and license a truly unique game, yet also one that is very well known to players."

Slingo, an exciting combination of the best features of American favorites Bingo and Slots, was first developed on a traditional five-reel slot machine in 1995. One year later, it had blossomed into a multiplayer online game. The title successfully debuted on America Online in October 1996. Today, over six years later, Slingo holds the distinction of being one of the most popular games ever with almost two billion games played online.

A Sweet Deal

Coastal has licensed five games in total from Slingo.com. They include Slingo Classic, Five card Slingo, Bumpers, Kenoka, and Match-Em. These games, each a variation on classic card game play, will be highlighted under a Slingo category icon, while the GT cabinetry will essentially be rebranded as a Slingo game in hopes of attracting whole new category of on-location players. According to numbers supplied by Slingo.com, the game's player base is 65% female, between the ages of 22 and 48, and with an average household income of $42,000. This represents a slight shift upward in contrast to many coin-op attractions while also capturing a largely untapped female player base in coin-op locations.

The license deal with coastal was more than a year in the works with Slingo, which is also based in New Jersey, approaching the popular novelty and touchscreen game maker through a third party about creating a coin-op amusement version of their familiar license. After striking the deal, ultimately facilitated by Slingo.com topper Sal Falciglia Sr. (he is the president and CEO), Coastal engineers set to work crafting a coin-op version from the Internet game source code.

"It required a great deal of work because the original games are Internet games with unlimited play time," explained Mirando. "Coin-op games are all ab0out the interplay of time and money. So we have developed a game that is essentially identical to the original, but has all of the standard coin-op game features such as the ability to buy in for continued play as well as high score rankings."

In its online incarnation Slingo offers prizes, although that is not possible in most jurisdictions with the coin-op version. That said, while Mirando wouldn't elaborate on future plans, there is some hinting from the factory that Internet capability for the games will be forthcoming sometime in the future. Games will originally be available in the new GT 2004 dedicated cabinetry, but will be followed at a reasonable interval by software upgrade kits as well. Coastal will also continue to upgrade units with new software titles from Slingo.com.

Having already established an online beachhead with America Online, Slingo is a household name with home-based gamers. Having started with the original hit game, the developer now offers online flagship products like Classic Slingo, X-Press Slingo and 5-Card Slingo online, not to mention addition exposure through licensed IGT slot machines in America's gaming capitals as well as instant lottery tickets in a number of states.

Slingo, Inc. works aggressively to bring games to new markets, shrewdly targeting desirable demographics. The recently expanded Sllingo.com website creates a forum for new and exciting Slingo games as well as a series of unique opportunities to integrate advertising into Slingo products. By the way, the new Coastal coin-op games will also be promoted on the Slingo.com website.

Just to prove its reach as a game property, Slingo.com has been ranked in the top 50 of all U.S. website properties by MediaMetrix as well as Nielsen Webratings. They reportedly have the second "stickiest" website on the Internet, meaning that users stay around a lot longer that the average site, 218 minutes on the average to be exact.

Slingo.com has over 1.5 million registered players since its start in 2002. There are an average 1.2 million games per day played on Slingo.com and over 1.9 million page views per month. The site currently features over 35 games, including heir newest Multi Player Bingo, with a new game added each month.

"It is known fact in this industry that not enough coin-op games appeal to women, but 65% of the players of Slingo are women," noted Mirando. By introducing Slingo to this industry, we really intend to draw a whole new group of players to our games. The units will for all practical purposes become Slingo-branded coin-op games, with the logo and graphics very prominent on the hardware cabinetry.

Coastal entered the touchscreen business five years ago when it acquired a product line that had been initially developed by Micro Manufacturing. Since that time, Coastal has spent a lot of time and resources in upgrading the system from the standpoint of hardware and content. Now, Mirando said, is the time to take the next step by adding high profile content to the mix.

"In order to seriously compete with the market leaders, we have to offer more than we have in the past. So we have made a concerted effort and a serious investment to do just that through our partnership with Slingo.com," he elaborated. "Slingo is looking to widen their brand across many sectors and we, in the amusement industry, will benefit greatly from that effort. I want to also add that the entire staff at Slingo.com bas been a pleasure to work with. They have been very helpful in the development of the coin-op game and have done everything we needed. I also want to say a special thanks to CEO Sal Falciglia Sr., and not just because we share the same first name. He really helped cement our relationship."

A riverboat Ride

Slingo is not the only new product that Coastal is coming to market with at this month's AMOA show. They will also introduce an exciting new ticket redemption game called Riverboat. The piece is based on a poker theme, and Coastal president Lenny Dean says he thinks this game has as much potential's the factory's most popular title ever, Pop A Ball.

"It's going to be a super game. It looks great," he said. "It's a coin game that is played with five tokens and has a recirculating hopper system. Players get five tokens and attempt to build the best poker hand they can."

The object of the game is to stop the moving arrow and dispense a token over the marked lane to build the best possible poker hand. Tickets are paid for one pair, two pair, three of a kind, full house, four of a kind and royal flush. The progressive jackpot is paid for a five-of-a-kind winner. All winning values are operator adjustable. The one-player game offers an array of operator-selectable pay tables and will hold closely to those settings long after they have been put in place.

Even though the game offers a representation of poker, it operates under skill-driven play dynamic and is currently getting Gaming Laboratories Inc. (GLI) certification in New Jersey, the nation's most stringent state for amusement game regulation.

For more information on Slingo, Riverboat or any Coastal's or American Hi-Striker's many other staple products, or for a distributor referral, contact Coastal Amusements at 1935 Swarthmore Ave., Lakewood, NJ 08701: phone 732/905-6662; e-mail sales@coastalamusements.com; website www.coastalamusements.com.
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