Video Game Technologies Slots
VGT is the short version of Video Gaming Technologies, Inc. VGT is a major player in the North American Class II casino games market. VGT is responsible for the development, manufacture, marketing, and distribution of casino games for Native American casinos restricted to Class II games.
Founded in 1991, VGT now operates more than 20,000 machines in 140 different casinos and game rooms. Most of their contracts are with Oklahoma tribal gaming facilities, though they're expanding into other markets, particularly the Gulf Coast. American gamblers who visit a lot of Native American properties probably recognize the company's signature Red Screen free spins feature, a highly-visible effect common to all their latest titles.
VGT started producing Class II games as soon as the Native American market opened up in the early 90s. They're a trusted name in the industry, an American end-to-end game producer with specialists working in fields from game design and R&D to customer support and corporate marketing.
Since the acquisition of VGT by Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. In October of 2014, the company's profile has increased considerably. Aristocrat is one of the biggest names in global gambling, a premium supplier of gaming tech and services to casinos and other gambling properties all over the world. Becoming part of Aristocrat means that VGT's games may soon start appearing in land-based and online casinos all over the world in the next few years.
According to promotional material on their website, they've doubled in size eight times since 2001. They're the number-one gaming machine provider in Oklahoma, a massive gambling market that relies heavily on Class II games. VGT is also the #1 overall provider of Class II machines in the United States, and the largest privately-owned gaming machine manufacturer in the country.
What Are Class II Games?
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that created a market for VGT's services also established a three-tiered class system to identify and regulate different types of gambling games. This Class system doesn't apply outside of Native American gaming laws.
Of the three original classes created by legislation in the 1990s, only Class II and Class III are relevant to today's world. That's because Class I only applies to wagers on inter-tribal contests. These contests are pretty much ignored by federal authorities today, and all emphasis is placed on Class II and III titles.
Class III gaming is what most tribes want to offer – this is traditional gambling like you'd find in the commercial casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Class III includes table games like blackjack and craps, as well as allowances for slot and video poker machines. But US law stipulates that all tribal groups have to negotiate private contracts with their state government in order to offer III gaming.
Without this expensive and difficult contract, tribal groups are limited to Class II gaming by default. So what's the difference? These days, the difference is mostly about semantics. Class II games have to produce outcomes based on a bingo-style drawing, rather than the random number generator used by Class III games.
Modern game designers have created loophole software that produces a random number generator-style result while still utilizing a bingo-style drawing system to satisfy their Class II restrictions. In fact, that's most of the genius behind the guys at VGT. They know how to produce games similar to the slots and video poker machines their customers want while still staying within the lines of the strict Tribal Class system.
You may have played a Class II game and not even realized it. By law, all Class II games have to be marked with a symbol that looks like a bingo card. But because these games now look and act like traditional gambling machines, unless you knew you were in a Class II facility ahead of time, you wouldn't notice any real difference as a player. VGT succeeds when they produce a slot machine that perfectly mimics a Class III slot game.
VGT ManagementJamie Odell
Jamie Odell is the head of VGT's parent company. That makes him also the ultimate executive in charge of the operations at Virtual Gaming Technology. Odell has been with Aristocrat since 2009, having cut his teeth as a managing director (and eventually COO) at Foster's. Odell is often credited with single-handedly righting the ship at Aristocrat – the company is enjoying a renaissance that began pretty soon after he stepped in the door. VGT's parent company's share price is up 105% since he began his tenure. The acquisition of interests like VGT (which some conglomerates may see as too much of a niche producer) is a direct result of Odell's leadership.Jon P. Yarbrough
There's a great story about Jon Yarbrough. Supposedly, his first business venture was splitting profits of a foosball table in a neighborhood bar. He's come a long way since then - Yarbrough sold VGT to Aristocrat for a reported $1.2 billion a few years ago. Though Yarbrough no longer does the dirty work of designing and manufacturing games, he has decades of experience in a difficult industry. At VGT, he serves as part-advisor, part-executive, part-mascot.Jay Sevigny
Mr. Sevigny was hand-picked by Aristocrat CEO Jamie Odell to take over the operation of VGT in 2015. Sevigny's gaming experience comes from decades working for big names like Boyd Gaming and Harrah's Entertainment. He'd been a member of VGT's management team in various senior roles since 2006.
VGT Slot Machines
Video Gaming Technologies currently produces 97 slot-style Class II games. The company also produces a set of eight bonus games that be added to all of their other games by their operators, for a grand total of 105 slot-style titles. They break these games up into five categories:
These games are designed to look and act like classic-style slot machines. Most of the company's slot machine-style Class II games fall under this category.
These games are slightly more complex than the company's 3-reel titles, with additional features designed to make the games even more slot-like.
Games in this category are VGT's attempt to replicate the look and feel of the latest Vegas-style video slot machines.
VGT produces a limited number of local and wide-area progressive titles.
These games are VGT's latest iteration of updated slot-style Class II games.
VGT Slot Game Reviews
Below you'll find short reviews of twenty-five of VGT's most popular Class II slot games. We've chosen to cover only their most-popular and most-available titles, because these are the games you're most likely to find when you walk into a tribal facility powered by VGT technology. For more information on all of VGT's titles, point your browser to their official website, where they have a short page and description of all their games, slots or otherwise.
Mr. Money Bags is VGT's best-known and most popular title. The "theme" of the game, if there is one, is that the character Mr. Money Bags is giving away his riches. You can stake your part of his treasure by lining up symbols on the reels. Mr. Money Bags accepts wagers of one, two, or three coins. The company makes the game available in a wide range of denominations: you'll find Mr. Money Bags as a $0.25, $0.50, $1.00, $2.00, $3.00, $5.00, $10.00, or even $25.00 game. With a top prize of 2,500 credits, it's about average in terms of VGT's returns. The game includes the company's Red Screen Free-Spin feature, in which the player can earn up to five free spins. This feature is triggered randomly with winning spins. According to VGT's website, it's triggered about once every five winning spins.Lucky Ducky
If Mr. Money Bags is VGT's top brand, Lucky Ducky is a close second. The game doesn't have much of a plot – the theme is the Lucky Ducky himself, a rubber ducky character that VGT makes good use of on several other Class II titles. The main reason for Lucky Ducky's appeal is its use of VGT's most valuable 3-reel pay table setup, one with a top prize of 10,000 credits. Since Lucky Ducky accepts wagers between $0.25 and $5 per credit, the range of the machine's top prize is from $2,500 to $50,000. This is among the best top prizes of any three reel slot setup we've ever seen, including Class III games in a Vegas-style casino.Crazy Billions
Every game on this short list of VGT's 3-reel mechanical Class II games has a gimmick. We did that by design. You'll find each of these game's gimmicks in use on other VGT titles. We chose Crazy Billions to represent VGT's titles that offer multipliers on every reel. This game also uses the company's Add-A-Reel feature, which is nothing more than a unique payout system. Lining up any three symbols on an active line, and their value could result in a payout. About those multipliers – they offer 2x, 4x, and 8x your wager on winning spins. Credits range from $0.25 to $25 each. The game's top prize is 3,200 credits, a little above average for this company.King of Coin
King of Coin is an example of VGT's simpler three reel titles. There's no plot, but the game includes VGT's top three-line pay table that rewards a jackpot of up to 10,000 credits. Those credits can be set to multiple values: $0.25, $0.50, $1, $2, $3, $5, $10, and $25 each. Players can wager between one and three credits per line. King of Coin includes the Red Screen Free Spins feature, but offers nothing in the way of multipliers or other features you may find on some of the company's newer releases.Loose Lizards
Loose Lizards features a pair of animated lizards along with some other special effects that separate this title from the herd of three-reel VGT slot games. This game's pay table is better than most VGT games, offering a top prize of 7,500 credits. Of course, the Red Screen Free Spin feature is available, and this title offers multipliers, though only on one reel. Players can choose their credit size, which ranges from $0.25 up to $10 per credit. Loose Lizards features a simple bonus game, called the Bug Money Bonus. When triggered, which is about once per eight winning spins, the player simply chooses a bug and a prize amount is revealed.Reel Fever
Reel Fever uses the same pay table and many of the same in-game features as Lucky Ducky. That means the big top prize of 10,000 credits is available on Reel Fever for a three-coin wager of between $0.75 and $15. Reel Fever is a fishing-themed slot game, though there's no themed bonus round or special video clips or anything. The Red Screen Free Spin feature is available on Reel Fever. This is one of VGT's older titles, but it's really popular, in part because their main audience really loves fishing. Don't laugh – this is part of VGT's genius. They know their audience so well, they can produce an average slot, slap a fish logo on the front, and offer a decent pay table and be successful. More power to them.
Free Spins of Fortune is a typical five-reel VGT slot. The game offers nine lines, and accepts bets of up to twenty credits per line, for a total max wager of 180 credits. Available denominations for wagers are $0.01, $0.02, or $0.05, which means the max bet is $9 per spin. The game offers a top prize of 392,000 credits, or $19,600 at the max bet and max credit size. That top prize comes from lining up five of the game's scatter symbols, which are the game logo. Spinning three or four such logos results in a win multiplier of 7x and 49x, respectively. The game is one of VGT's older five-reel titles, and it doesn't have much in the way of plot or effects.Gemstone Falls
We included this review of Gemstone Falls to show what we think is a pretty serious flaw on the part of Virtual Gaming Technologies. Their five-reel mechanical slots are all pretty much the same game. The same could be said of their three-reel designs, but many of them include a gimmick that sets them apart from one another. In the case of Gemstone Falls, Free Spins of Fortune, and a few of the other games in the company's five-reel library, the games lack distinguishing gimmicks. The result is a slew of boring five-reel games without much replay value. This is one tone deaf section in a library that (in many other ways) nails it in terms of variety and replay value. For notes on any aspect of Gemstone Falls, just read the Free Spins of Fortune review. All the details are the same – it's just the symbols and other accoutrements of the game that are different.Land of the Free Spins
Land of the Free Spins is (unfortunately) almost more of the same. It has a single distinguishing feature that makes it stand out from a crowd of really tone-dear five-reel Class II games produced by VGT. Basically, you take Free Spins of Fortune, slap a few patriotic symbols and stickers on the case and the screen, add a unique bonus round, and you have Land of the Free Spins. The bonus game that makes this game different enough from the other five-reel titles is pretty simple. Lining up three of the game's flag symbols triggers the game, in which you select one of five flags to raise, revealing a random prize amount in the form of credits. This symbol could be adapted into a scatter symbol, adding another element to this pretty standard title, but VGT didn't go that far. Everything else about this title is identical to the two described above, down to the top prize and wagering options.Mr. Money Bags Free Spinnin'
This is a slight variant on VGT's popular Mr. Money Bags title. The credit and wagering options are identical to the other five-reel titles described here. The only differences between this title and the original Mr. Money Bags are slightly-improved graphics and the addition of the company's standard Free Spins feature.Polar High Roller Free Spinnin'
Similarly, this title ports the company's popular Polar High Roller title, adds a Red Screen Free Spins feature, and then follows the company's standard outline for five-reel titles. Designed for fans of the original looking for a little more replay value, Polar High Roller Free Spinnin' was the original inspiration for the entire Red Screen Free Spins reboot series that VGT is still churning out.Pirate's Paradise
If you take all the games above, strip away their gimmicks, features, and other options, and then add a cool set of pirate-themed bonus games and a unique multiplier system, you'd have Pirate's Paradise. All the financial details are identical to the games described above – it's a typical five reel title from VGT in every way except the multipliers and the three unique bonus title. Each bonus game involved doing some dastardly deed – stealing treasure, raiding a port, and fighting in a duel – in exchange for rewards of coins or free spins. The multiplier system is based on two sets of scatter symbols, one in the image of a pirate, the other in the image of a parrot. The pirate scatter symbols reward a 7x multiplier, while the parrot symbol rewards a 49x multiplier. It's one of the better-reviewed five reel games put out by this company, and it's easy to see why. It's the game with the most replay value of all of them, and the one that has the most visual appeal. Players love bonuses. Maybe VGT should have included more games like this in their five-reel library?
The first of Virtual Gaming's popular progressive slot series, Easy Money Jackpot is one of the more entertaining progressive concepts we've come across, Class II status notwithstanding. It's actually eight games in one, all classic titles from their three-reel classic slot series:
While you play these titles, a tiny percentage of each of your wagers is paid into a large progressive network, the largest that Virtual Gaming runs. The progressive prize is totally random, triggered by any max three-coin wager. Since each game only accepts $1 per credit wagers, this tends to be a game for medium-to-high budget players. But thanks to the single pay line and simple rules of each game, overall winnings are more common than on the more complex five-reel titles available by the same company. This game's top progressive payout all-time is just over a million dollars – impressive for a jackpot that's only active in a single state.Mr. Money Bags Vault
This is a local-area progressive slot with a four-tiered top jackpot system. Because this is a local progressive, the top prizes tend to hover in the area of $250,000. This progressive features two classic Mr. Money Bags variants, which the player can choose at the beginning of a session, or end at any time and switch to the other game. This is VGT's only progressive title that accepts credits of varying sizes – players can choose coin sizes of either $0.25, $0.50, or $1 per credit. The top tier progressive resets to $6,000 and moves up from there. That's a pretty high reset value for a small-scale progressive game. Don't expect much variation in the game play – if you've played any of VGT's Mr. Money Bags titles, you've played both of the games in this cabinet, The only real innovation here is the multi-tier progressive prize.Hot Red Ruby Progressive
Hot Red Ruby is another local-area progressive, but this one has even fewer unique features than the recycled Mr. Money Bags Vault game reviewed above. The Hot Red Ruby game that's set up here to act as a progressive slot is identical to the Red Spin Gambler game described below. It literally looks like the same game with a progressive jackpot featured added on the top. That's not to say it isn't fun – it is. Between free spins, multipliers, bonus rounds, and the tempting multi-tiered progressive top prize that resets to a value of $6,000, it's an addictive little progressive slot-style Class II game that might convince slot fans they're on a Vegas casino floor. It's just a bit repetitive if you've already spent some time playing any of the Red Spin series, reviewed in the section below.Polar High Roller Progressive
Kudos to VGT for producing the Polar High Roller Progressive slot, which actually adds some new features to an older title besides the addition of a progressive top prize. This game accepts $1 wagers only, and acts much like the Mr. Money Bags Vault game described above, in that you can choose from two classic Polar High Roller titles. The cool thing is, each of these progressive games has a new bonus round and the new Red Screen Free Spin feature to add to its replay value.
This is a video slot version of Virtual Gaming's most popular slot-style title, Mr. Money Bags. You can probably tell from the name that this game includes Virtual Gaming's Red Spin Free Spins feature, which rewards a random number of free spins (between one and five) on about every fifth winning spin. This game's gimmick is wild symbols. The familiar Mr. Money Bags logo pays out 2X your winning wager, or 3x during Red Screen Free Spins features. The game's scatter-like system is based on the popular cherry symbols, two of which wilds pay 9X your winning combination. Three of those scatter symbols lead to the game's top prize. This is a five-line game that allows wagers of up to five credits per line, for a max bet of twenty-five credits. Those credits can be worth $0.25, $0.50, $1, $2, $5, or $10. The top prize is 25,000 credits, for a jackpot of between $6,250 and $250,000. That's a huge top prize for a Class II game.Polar High Roller Multipliers
The Polar High Roller in the game's title is a hip polar bear character who spends his time spinning records and dancing behind a turntable. Okay, so it's a weird theme for a five reel video slot, but at least it's unique. This is a special video bonus version of the company's classic Polar High Roller five-reel game. The game's top prize is 50,000 credits, higher than the average video slot from Virtual Gaming. Since credits go up to $10 apiece, that's a top prize of $500,000, one of the company's largest non-progressive prizes. During the bonus game, a multiplier is added to each of up to five free spins, starting at 1x and moving up to 5x. This bonus game also rewards more free spins, and all the game's features can be retriggered.Ruby's Red Spin Wilds
Ruby's Red Spin Wilds includes the Red Screen Free Spins game that VGT is adding to just about all their new titles – but that's not this game's gimmick. Ruby's Red is the company's first title to use both traditional stacked and special nudging stacked wild symbols. This allows multiple stacked wild symbols to form into a block of wild symbols, rewarding large prizes more often than traditional wild setups on VGT titles. Ruby's Red follows VGT's standard credit size and payout system, accepting wagers between $0.10 and $10, accepting bets on up to twenty lines for a maximum wager of 100 credits per spin. The theme of the game is pretty difficult to pin down – VGT doesn't always obsess about cool immersive themes. Instead, they hope the nudging wild system and more-frequent bonus wins and multipliers will keep players coming back.
Cats In Action is a popular video slot featuring the character Special Agent Felina. The game follows her attempts to capture a criminal known as Ratsy Rizzo. The game offers two special features – a free spins round, a bonus round called Wild Reels, and a random multiplier system that pops up on all five reels. The Free Spins game is basic – click an image and you win a set number of spins, between one and five. The bonus round sees Felina and Ratsy randomly swatting at the reels, turning symbols wild and forming additional winning combinations. All the features in the game can be retriggered. Cats in Action is an attractive game that wouldn't be out of place in a bank of video slots in a traditional Class III casino.Cameloot
Cameloot is based on the imagery and myth of Camelot. Cameloot's main gimmick is its three bonus rounds: Juggles the Jester, The Wizard's Wheel, and Newton the Nudger. Each game is unique – in one, you try to grab a ball from a juggler, which randomly rewards you a number of credits. In another, the magician Merlin appears to spin a magic wheel and reward a random multiplier and number of free spins. In the final bonus game, a weird-looking goblin creature will pop up and turn any losing spin into a decent-sized winner. The top prize is a majestic 25,000 credits, a little above average for this company's video slot games. Available credit sizes are one cent, five cents, and twenty-five cents, and players can wager up to five credits on nine lines. That gives you a total wager range of between one and forty-five coins, or $0.01 to $11.45 wagered per spin. That's a very affordable range for a game that rewards as much as $6,250.Charmed Destiny
One of VGT's newer slot offerings, Charmed Destiny tells the story of a young magician in training. It's a pretty clear nod to Harry Potter fandom, which may be another smart move on the part of VGT, with new material from the Harry Potter universe set to hit the big screen. There's a cool Wizarding bonus game that involves a slight skill element, testing your ability to hit a virtual target. This game rewards both free spins and a multiplier for the triggering win. Charmed Destiny is a bit of a letdown in terms of its pay structure – this nine line game allows up to forty-five credits per wager, but thanks to a limited wager range ($1 and up, all the way to $25), it's not really a fit for budget-minded gamblers. The top prize of 25,000 credits is a big part of its appeal, but the cost per spin might prohibit some VGT fans from giving it a spin.Frankenstein
At thirty lines and a max bet of ten credits per line, Frankenstein is not one of VGT's more affordable titles. In order to gain access to the game's 30,000 credit top prize, you have to wager 300 credits per spin. Even at one, two, or five cents per credit, you're looking at a bankroll-draining $3-per-spin, for a top prize not that much higher than other more affordable Virtual Gaming video slots. Why did they set the cost so high? Frankenstein is part of their new XSpin system, an updated bingo-style decision engine that is faster, allowing for improved graphics and higher replay value. In other words, this one's state of the art, and it has a lot of player appeal, with some of the best-looking graphics and spookiest audio effects we've heard outside a Vegas gambling floor. Frankenstein features expanding wilds, random wilds, a system similar to traditional slot scatter symbols, and a win multiplier that's randomly triggered and increases your pay out by up to 5x.Jewels and Gems
A first for Virtual Gaming that they're sure to repeat, Jewels and Gems is actually ten mini-games in a single case. This style of game is designed for smaller properties that want to cram a lot of variety in a smaller floor size. This Class II multi-game terminal is just starting to become popular at Virtual Gaming's major Oklahoma tribal spots. Included is everything from a single-line classic slot to a Keno-style contest, and traditional eight-liner simulation games. All games include the company's Red Screen Free-Spin feature, and most casinos have added Bonus Blast features, to give the games even more of a video game feel. Virtual Gaming is at their best when they're trying to hook players for replay value, and Jewels and Gems is the first in a long line of planned multi-game releases. Some commenters suggested that the Jewels and Gems system is what Aristocrat was going after when they made their billion dollar bid for VGT. We can't confirm that, but it makes for good copy.Lizards on the Loose
Based on the company's popular Loose Lizards single-line slot, Lizards on the Loose is like that simple game's cooler older brother. Like Frankenstein described above, Lizards on the Loose requires a lot of credits for a max bet, thanks to its forty lines and ten credits per line setup. A max bet of 400 coins is high, even when the game is only set up to accept one, two, or five-penny wagers. There's a payoff, though – a literal one. The game's top prize is worth 50,000 credits, the highest of all of Virtual Gaming's video slots.
VGT Slots: A Summary
Class II tribal gaming isn't the world's sexiest topic. Researching and discussing the merits of an electronic bingo game designer that mainly services a single state's gaming industry isn't exactly a cherry assignment. Then again, when that little Class II designer from Oklahoma attracts the interest of a major multinational company like Aristocrat, it makes you sit up and take notice.
What is VGT doing that makes it so attractive to an industry leader? Besides all the design, customer service, and innovation accolades they've racked up since entering the Oklahoma tribal market in 2001, they're doing one thing that will always make a company successful. They understand their audience.
Yes, game manufacturers have to work within existing federal and state regulations. Yes, small markets like Oklahoma or the other tribal gaming areas of the United States struggle to compete with Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and the Internet. VGT does both of those things, AND they produce games that their customers are interested in playing over and over again.
To us, it looks like Aristocrat saw a talented design firm following a similar trajectory that they followed, and were interested in adding that level of innovation and customer understanding to their own skill set. Clearly, there was no threat to Aristocrat's holdings, since VGT works mainly with Native American groups in the American Midwest and South. No, Aristocrat is looking to improve the replay value of their titles – and perhaps to enter new restricted markets in Australia and parts of Asia. Though VGT continues to operate as an independent entity, we expect Aristocrat to begin releasing titles influence by Virtual Gaming Technology over the next few years.