IGT stands for International Game Technology. You won't see that name very often, though. Most people refer to the company by its initials.
IGT is the world's largest end-to-end gaming company. That means they're the biggest company that designs, produces, delivers, and services gambling games, "end to end," if you will. The company is publicly-traded on the New York Stock Exchange, under trading symbol "IGT."
This company is the very image of multinational – their holding company is headquartered in the United Kingdom, but they also maintain operating headquarters in Rome, Las Vegas, and Providence, Rhode Island. Most of their executive staff is Italian, a testament to the company's founding, but the majority of their staff below the executive level are either American or British. IGT employs a little more than 13,000 people at one of dozens of headquarters and smaller facilities all over the world.
Though they're best-known as a producer of slot and video poker games, they've increased the variety of their offerings over the years mostly through acquisitions. IGT produces casino games, but they are also major players in the online gambling market. The company produces a variety of coin-operated and electronic games, including lottery titles, social games, and titles for mobile gamblers.
In its mission statement, IGT promises that the company "… provides customers with best-in-class solutions, and creates maximum value for shareholders, by adhering to the highest levels of service, integrity, responsibility, and innovation." Let's take a long look at IGT and the titles they produce to determine if they're really producing service and innovation at a high level.
IGT's website puts their management team in a prominent position on their website, posting names and photos of the executive staff of all their major conglomerates. From the site: "IGT has brought together a team of proven leaders to create a powerful gaming and lottery enterprise, providing expertise and value to all of our customers around the globe."Marco Sala
Aside from being the big boss-man at IGT (he's the CEO of the entire operation), Mr. Sala serves on the company's Board of Directors. Before taking over IGT Mr. Sala cut his teeth as CEO of Buffetti, Italy's largest chain of office supply stores. Marco Sala also worked in marketing for Kraft foods, supervising that company's operations in most of Europe. Sala has held this position with the company since April of 2015.Renato Ascoli
Mr. Ascoli's official title is CEO of North America Gaming/Interactive. In layman's terms, that means he is the man in charge of all aspects of game development. Mr. Ascoli is responsible for the manufacturing, marketing, and delivery of every game produced by IGT. Ascoli's team's latest innovation is the DoubleDown Casino, dedicated to the development of social media gaming products.Walter Bugno
Walter Bugno joined GTECH in 2010, becoming the CEO of IGT International after the 2015 merger. His job title may be a little confusing – as CEO of IGT International, Mr. Bugno manages and develops the company's goals in its International region, which is basically anything outside the US and Italy. Bugno leads the development and marketing of all of IGT's interactive products in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region, the Caribbean, and Africa.Fabio Cairoli
Fabio Cairoli manages all of IGT's activities in Italy as CEO of IGT Italy. Mr. Cairoli is the executive in charge of IGT's lottery operations, which makes him the head of the world's largest lottery company. As such, he also serves in an advisory role to various corporations and world governments. Cairoli's background reveals a knack for helping turning around operations in distress. He pulled coffee supplies manufacturer Bialetti Industrie out of a company-wide nosedive, rebranding and refocusing their product line. He's also responsible for re-launching an historical brand of Italian food products, Star Alimentare.Michael Chambrello
As CEO of IGT North America and President of IGT's Lottery Division, Michael Chambrello is the head of all development and delivery of IGT's lottery games and gaming solutions. He is also responsible for strategic development of the company's lottery game products and instant ticket games in the U.S. and Canada. Chambrello joined the IGT team through his connections at GTECH, a company he worked for on and off for two decades in various capacities.Alberto Fornaro
In his roles as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Alberto Fornaro manages and develops all of IGT's financial strategies. He's the head honcho in Finance, Accounting, and Control Organization. If an issue arises in the company's finances, be it a legal or procedural issue, Fornaro is the guy. We thought it was funny that Fornaro is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the state of Illinois, considering his credentials as an executive.Donald Sweitzer
Donald Sweitzer plays a hybrid role, acting as brand ambassador with customers and potential markets around the world when he acts as Senior Public Affairs Advisor, and also serving as the Chairman of IGT North America. In all the places where IGT's business interests and world governments converge, Donald Sweitzer is the man in charge. Sweitzer's bio says he's worked at every level of government, and has worked for years in an advisory role to members of the US Congress.Robert Vincent
Robert Vincent is the most recent addition to IGT's management team. After decades' experience in marketing and public relations, Vincent was brought on after the GTECH acquisition to act as Senior VP of Human Resources and Public Affairs. He's the "global organizational management" guy, which means he's basically IGT's HR czar. Vincent learned his political maneuvering all over the grounds of the Rhode Island state house, advising everyone from freshman state reps to the state's governor.
IGT Player Restrictions
Anyone can walk into a casino somewhere in the world and play an IGT machine, provided they're of legal age and have a buck in their pocket. The same isn't true for IGT's online slot titles. IGT does not permit players from the USA (or a few other countries) to play their games.
Players living in these countries can't even play in "fun" mode, without placing real cash bets. IGT has implemented a block at the level of their physical servers, so there's no question about being able to find a loophole and play anyway.
Here's the complete list of countries restricted by IGT. If you live in one of these countries, you won't be able to play any online IGT titles, even if you're playing for free.
IGT Slot Machines
IGT is a top manufacturer of slot machine games for both land-based and online casinos. Because IGT is such a dominant force in the industry, they produce a wide variety of games in a number of niche markets.
Because of the sheer number of titles they produce, we thought it would be helpful to write a brief guide to IGT's best-known slot games. The ten slots described below should give you a good idea of the company's overall offerings.Cleopatra
Cleopatra is a five-reel online slot featuring twenty pay lines and a free game bonus round. The game is stuffed with references to the historical Cleopatra, including symbols and animations that reference classical Egyptian art and architecture. One of the reasons for this title's popularity (and the popularity of IGT's online slots in general) is the wide range of available wagers. Cleopatra's minimum bet is $0.20 per spin, or a penny per pay line, while the max bet is $50 per pay line, or $1,000 per spin. Cleopatra's top prize (earned for lining up five Cleopatra symbols) is worth 10,000 credits, or a total of between $100 and $500,000.
This simplistic looking title packs a ton of features. The Sphinx is a scatter symbol that triggers the free spin bonus round. Players can earn up to 180 free spins during this round. All winning combos during these free spins rewards triple the player's winnings. The scatter symbol also doubles the player's wager during regular game play, provided two of the symbols appear on active pay lines.D&D Crystal Caverns
One of IGT's many popular licensed titles, D&D Crystal Caverns is based on the art and gameplay of the classic Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying game. IGT's version of the game is a five reel slot with twenty pay lines. Fans of the art of D&D will appreciate the quality of the title's graphics – the interface often looks like an image torn from the Dungeonmaster's Handbook. This IGT title includes the use of a wild symbol, which substitutes for any other symbol to form a winning combo. Three scatter symbols exist, each of which has a different impact on your bottom line when it appears on an active line.
IGT doesn't produce a lot of "tumbling reels" games, so D&D Crystal Caverns is a nice treat for IGT fans looking for something new. Tumbling reels slots use tumbling symbols rather than spinning wheels. Once the symbols tumble their way into a winning line, winning symbols disappear and new symbols cascade down into their place. Sometimes called "cascading games," titles that use this feature are becoming more and more popular for mobile and social media gamblers. Playing a tumbling reels title is like playing with free spins every round.
Players can wager anywhere from $0.01 up to $10 per line, and up to five credits per line as well. That leaves a total betting range of between one and 100 credits per line wagered, for a wide better range of between $0.20 and $1,000.Ghostbusters
IGT's Ghostbusters video slot is a popular online progressive slot game featuring the familiar characters of the original two Ghosbusters films. You'll see the whole team - Raymond Stantz, Egon Spengler, Peter Venkman, Louis Tully, and Winston Zeddmore. The game is full of cool audio and video effects, from screams to mischief from Slimer, and from proton packs to the film's legendary hearse. It's a well-designed licensed title that fans of the move will enjoy for its authenticity.
But, we want to warn you, this is probably a high roller slot by anyone's definition. Ghostbusters has thirty total pay lines, and requires a wager on each line plus twenty additional credits per spin. That means you don't pick the number of lines to bet on. Instead, you select the size of your per-credit wager. Credits can be worth $1, $2, $3, $5, or $20 each, for a total possible wager range of between $50 and $1,000 per spin.
The reason Ghosbusters is so expensive? The title includes three bonus games and five progressive jackpots. Each of the bonus rounds rewards a different number of multipliers and free spins. The real attraction here are those progressive jackpots, which can get pretty high on certain larger IGT-powered networks.Wheel of Fortune Jackpot 7s
IGT is probably best-known for its Wheel of Fortune series of online and land-based slot games. The company now produces hundreds of Wheel of Fortune titles, for everything from video poker to traditional video slots to coin-operated amusement-with-prize games. This mini-review covers Wheel of Fortune Jackpot 7's, one of the many variants of the game they've produced over the years.
Jackpot 7's is a traditional IGT title, with five reels and twenty pay lines. The most attractive feature of this game is pretty typical for IGT's Wheel series games – the bonus round activates a spinning wheel – the prize the wheel lands on is yours. Multipliers and other scatter-triggered bonuses are a common feature of IGT's Wheel series, and this game has them in spades.The Hangover
Based on one of the most successful movies of all time, IGT's The Hangover slot first appeared in 2009, at about the same time as the original movie. This five reel, forty pay line title is produced under a license with Warner Bros.
IGT's licensed titles are most successful when they borrow the real actors to do voice work, or include actual clips from the licensed product. The Hangover does both, which results in a game that feels very much like the original movie. The game's four bonuses are tied directly to the events of the film, and are based on things that happened in the movie. Basically, if you like The Hangover, you're going to love this title.
IGT's Hangover slot is available in a variety of wagers. Players can bet as little as $0.01 per line on up to forty lines. Wagers of up to $10 per line are available. That means the total wagering range is $0.20 to $400 per spin, making it friendly for low- and high-rollers alike.Star Trek Against All Odds
Against All Odds is a sequel to IGT's massively-popular Star Trek online slot. These games are based on the reboot of Star Trek, not the original series or any of the classic 80s and 90s remakes. It seems like IGT produces a new Star Trek slot game with every new chapter of the reboot, so we're looking forward to their next release in this popular series.
Against All Odds is a five reel game with a multi-ways winning system that's not all that common in IGT's library. The "720 ways" system requires wagers of sixty credits per spin. Rather than choosing the number of credits you wager, you choose your credit size. With credit ranging from $0.01 to $5 each, you have a total betting range of $0.60 and $300 per spin. IGT has once again produced a popular slot that is available at price points that most bankrolls can tolerate.
The theme of the game is simple, as are the themes of most of IGT's licensed slots. Your goal is to assist the starship Enterprise in preventing a bad guy from blowing up the Earth. You'll hear plenty of lines spoken by actors from the original series, along with excellent video clips and other effects to immerse the player in the world of the show.Star Wars Original Trilogy
IGT makes licensed games – it's just part of what they do. But even an experienced designer of slots based on movies, TV shows, and other media must have worried about creating a game that honors the original material so beloved by fans of the Star Wars films. One of IGT's newer licensed video slots, this nod to Episodes Four, Five, and Six of Star Wars is one of the company's more complex licensed titles. We think of this game as actually being three titles in one, where each part of the game is based on the plot of one of the original three films in the series.
This is another IGT title in which your wager is established ahead of time by the game – you have to wager at least thirty credits on each of three parts, for a total minimum wager of ninety credits. But small-bankroll players aren't left out, since credit sizes start at a penny. The total wager range for this game is between $0.90 and $375 per spin.
Each of the three parts of the game (tied to one of the original films) offers a unique bonus round. In the first part, you get to pilot an X-wing fighter and attempt to destroy the Death Star. Your skill at the game actually converts to better prizes, making this part something of a skill game. In the second part, you take part in a battle of AT-AT walkers on the planet Hoth. The final part of the game displays the epic final duel between Luke Skywalker and the film's villain.
This title is all about attention to detail. From graphics and effects to simplified gameplay and plentiful bonus features and symbols, IGT's designers stared down a nearly impossible task and succeeded in a major way.MegaBucks Wild Sapphires
The Megabucks series if IGT's top-performing game of all time. Sure, they're known for Wheel of Fortune titles, but their MegaBucks progressive titles have probably had a bigger impact on the industry as a whole. Wild Sapphires is one of the latest iterations of the game, a wide-area progressive slot with a top prize that starts at an industry-leading $10 million. Because the MegaBucks network is so big, all the games in the series have large progressive prizes – Wild Sapphires even more so, because it's one of the newest iterations.
MegaBucks games are all one-dollar credit slots that allow wagers of between one and three coins per line. Rather than asking players to select their credit size, you select the number of lines and the total number of credits per-line. Naturally, you'll only be eligible for the game's top progressive prize if you place a wager of the maximum bet size. This title has nine available pay lines, for a total wager range of between one and twenty-seven credits, or a per-spin wager size of between $1 and $27.
One of the main reasons Megabucks is so popular is the size and regularity of its larger jackpots. For example, as we were researching this game, we noticed that a million-dollar jackpot had literally just paid out the day before at the Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa, Florida. How big does the jackpot get? According to IGT's website, the most-recent in in November of 2014 at the Rampart in Las Vegas was worth $14.3 million. Based on the reported jackpot payouts on their site, the top prize only pays out a couple of times each year.PowerBucks Jurassic Park
The Powerbucks series is a new wide-area progressive concept in place in IGT's New Jersey and South Dakota casinos, Blackhawk and Atlantic City's answer to Las Vegas' MegaBucks. Powerbucks is a wide-area progressive slot with three increasingly-larger and less-likely progressive prizes. The Jurassic Park iteration of this series is the most successful so far, to hear slot fans tell it.
This IGT licensed slot game is based on the classic original film, and doesn't take the less-popular remakes under any consideration. The PowerBucks system is almost identical to the MegaBucks format – a dollar per credit, three credits possible per line, and nine available lines. The only real difference is the size of the progressive jackpots (PowerBucks starts smaller, with most games' top prize re-generating at $5 million rather than MegaBucks' $10 million) and the theme of the game. PowerBucks are designed to cooperate with existing and planned IGT licensed titles, incorporating a wide-area progressive system into IGT's already-popular licensed title format.WoF: Double Diamond
Of course we're covering a Wheel of Fortune game. To keep things interesting, we decided to cover the least-known such game from IGT's Wheel series – Double Diamond. This game is unique - a classic-style slot featuring a license similar to other popular IGT games. How well does the Wheel of Fortune theme hold up to the limitations of classic slot design?
Not very well. Gone are most of the modern features we're used to from IGT's licensed titles. In fact, the only connection to Wheel of Fortune that this title has is in the name of the game and the application of a couple of themed game symbols. It's not a very entertaining game, either. Players can wager one, two, or three coins, in variable denominations depending on the operator's preferences. The top prize is 2,500 credits, won for spinning three Double Diamond symbols.
The experience of playing this game only stands to highlight what we enjoy about IGT's other licensed and game show based games. Mainly, we miss the clips, the animations, and the themed bonus rounds. It wouldn't hurt to have a multiplier or scatter symbol of some kind available, to step up the replay value. However, if you're a fan of classic slots, you might enjoy this title.
IGT Video Poker
IGT produces a total of 85 video poker machines for the land-based casino market. The company categorizes their video poker titles in a few ways; the one we like the most is by denomination. All video poker games in the company's library fall under one of these seven categories:
These are pretty self-explanatory. The category's name refers to the cost of a single credit wager. As for "multi-denomination," these are games that allow bets of varying credit sizes. The phrase "operator-selectable" refers to video poker titles that can be customized by the casino or game room hosting it. A little more than half of IGT's video poker titles fall under this "multi-denomination" category.
The rules of video poker don't leave much room for variety. Players are looking for their favorite familiar titles, like Jacks or Better or Aces and Eights. Of course, IGT offers those classic games, and if you've ever played video poker in a casino before, you probably played on an IGT machine.
Where this company really succeeds in video poker game design is in finding the little ways to alter the game's rules to create interesting variants with high replay value. The five brief descriptions of games below should give you a good idea of the types of video poker games produced by IGT. They're all based on classic video poker titles, with a few changes to give the game a unique flavor.2nd Chance Royal Poker
One of IGT's newer video poker titles is 2nd Chance Royal Poker, based on the rules of Joker Poker with a special player option of taking a second draw under a certain circumstance. Under these rules, if you place a max bet of five coins and you hold four cards toward a royal flush after the draw, you automatically earn a second draw. Players who are lucky enough to hold a royal flush thanks to that second draw earn 2,000 times the wager instead of the normal 800. There's no charge for this feature. However, we think it's likely that the designer changed the pay table a bit in order to account for the 1.5% increased edge this re-draw feature gives players.Quick Quads Poker
First launched in casinos in 2008, Quick Quads Poker is the classic Jacks or Better setup with an optional side bet. Here's how it works: you can wager up to five credits (the max) and play a standard game of video poker, or for an optional sixth coin, you can add card totals in order to form a four of a kind. We'll explain – let's say you hold 9-9-9-3-6. If you placed the optional sixth coin, you can add that 3 and 6 together to form a four of a kind of 9s. All full houses will also pay as four of a kind, if you place the optional sixth coin wager. When you place the sixth coin side wager, you'll earn a four of a kind win about 3 times more than without it. It's a fun distraction, but we guarantee you the design team has probably altered the game a little to account for the increased number of four of a kind prizes.Barnyard Poker
The latest IGT video poker release (and one of its best) is Barnyard Poker. Based on the rules of traditional Triple Play Poker, Barnyard Poker is way more cartoon-like, more animated and colorful, and more fun than the old-school video poker games you're used to playing. This thing is more like a video game than a video poker title, though it's definitely that, too. The gimmick is simple- you can bank multipliers for each pair or better you earn at the deal. All these multipliers in your bank are released randomly, with the goal being to encourage the player to clear all their bonuses by playing more. It's a great gimmick and a fun game with all sorts of hilarious sight gags and audio effects. It's also the most fun we've had testing out a video poker game in a while.Build-a-Wheel Poker
The successor to IGT's popular Wheel Poker game, Build-a-Wheel isn't as easy to find as Wheel once was, and it seems like the game has yet to catch on in either its online or land-based format. Build-a-Wheel uses the basic rules of Bonus Poker. We like the game, though, and we though it fitting to include at least one flop title in our descriptions. Like in the game Wheel Poker, you occasionally get to spin a prize if you make a side bet and win with at least three of a kind. With the Build-a-Wheel system, you put together your own unique prize wheel as you play, and then spin whenever the wheel is full. We're pretty sure that the main reason the game flopped is that most people don't care about building their own prize wheel. Also, since you have to build the wheel before you can spin it, you spin way less often on this title than on Wheel.Flexchange Poker
Released in 2014, Flexchange Poker is a rare thing, a video poker variant that actually makes the game more fun and more interesting. The basic rules of the game follow the rules of Jacks or Better. But in this game, you can use the cards from two different hands to form a winning combination. The ability to swap between two hands means you win more often, but there are some bumps in the road. You have to place a max wager on both hands in order to be eligible to swap cards. That makes this game twice as expensive. For strategy wonks, Flexchange Poker offers a new and complete challenge, and is a breath of fresh air for those of us bored by standard video poker titles.
More on IGT
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the skeleton in IGT's closet – the 2014 layoffs. That year, IGT stripped its global workforce by seven percent. The most was mainly about money; IGT saved hundreds of millions of dollars in a couple of years of austerity. This has allowed them to make acquisitions to improve their market share. Basically, it was a business decision, and it doesn't seem to have implied any kind of dip in quality or service on the part of IGT.
If anything, IGT is stronger than ever. The merger with GTECH brought the company much-needed leadership in the form of new CEO Marco Sala. That merger was only possible after a couple of years of self-imposed austerity measures. IGT games are as popular as ever, and the launch of new IGT-produced social games is a sign of good things to come. Mobile and social gambling are the big emerging markets. IGT's stockholders have to like that the company is expanding in those niche markets.
As the largest producers of online and land-based slot and video poker, the brains at IGT represent the best of what the gambling industry has to offer. IGT is a brand, a household name among gamblers. When you walk into a game room, a casino, a card room, or a race track in America, the presence of an IGT title is a virtual certainty. They're producing a large number of popular, high-quality titles, keeping (notoriously-antsy) slot gamblers coming back. As long as that is true, you'll continue to see this company dominating the global gaming marketplace.