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
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.”
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.
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 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 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
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.
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 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 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
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 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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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