Mohegan Sun has retooled its slot machines in a bid to secure some advantage in the Northeast gaming market.
The casino announced Thursday that it will officially unveil PowerPlay Bonusing, its collaboration with Las Vegas-based Bally Technologies, on Memorial Day weekend. Some 6,000 machines have been equipped with the necessary software and hardware to provide customers with a "one-of-a-kind gaming environment," enabling them to earn prizes and rewards while participating in promotions and virtual games - all while playing slots.
Jeffrey Hartmann, Mohegan Sun's president and chief executive officer, called the installation - which he said involved an investment of "several million dollars" - the largest of its kind in the world. Some of the new features have been in place for weeks, and additional "modules" will be introduced over the next month, some in conjunction with horse racing's Kentucky Derby on May 5 and the Preakness Stakes on May 19.
"Our customers have seen some of the advancements and the feedback has been great," Hartmann said.
More than 80 casinos around the world are using the Bally technology, though none to the extent that Mohegan Sun eventually will be, Laura Olson-Reyes, a Bally spokeswoman, said.
In recent weeks, Mohegan Sun has been testing a Virtual Racing Circuit in which slots players can earn credits for additional play by picking the winner of a virtual eight-horse race. The system can also provide players with instant access to information about the casino, its entertainment, restaurants and retail offerings, as well as their Player's Club point balances.
"Down the road, you could book a reservation at one of our hotels (on a slot machine)," Hartmann said.
Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business magazine, said it will take time to assess whether Mohegan Sun's investment was a wise one.
"… It's more entertaining for the slots players," he wrote in an email. "But while no one may have it yet, it won't be long before the others get it, or something like it by another slot manufacturer. Very expensive, though, so it has to be justified by increased play."
Equipping Mohegan Sun's machines with the new technology took more than five months and more than 25,000 man-hours, the casino said in a press release. More than five miles of fiber-optic wire was installed.