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Wheel of Fortune

Thanks to a deal between Merv Griffin Entertainment and International Game Technology, players can enjoy the excitement of Wheel of Fortune–television’s top game show–in the form of a slot machine. This relationship started in 1996, and it’s proven successful for both parties. While the TV program has acquired a loyal fanbase over 30+ years on the air, its virtual-reeled counterpart has paid out over $3 billion in jackpots, created more than 1,000 millionaires, and become the most popular option for anyone looking to try their luck at slots.

In the process, IGT has managed to establish themselves as one of the leading gaming companies on the planet. Traded on the New York Stock Exchange and headquartered in the United Kingdom, IGT employees over 13,000 people in such diverse locations as Rome, Las Vegas, and Providence, Rhode Island.

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About Wheel of Fortune

Created by Merv Griffin, the Wheel of Fortune game show debuted on NBC in January 1975 and ran until 1989. It then moved to CBS, where it was featured in the daytime lineup until 1991. It moved back to NBC at that point, where it ran until being cancelled later in the year. During this 16-year period, the show was hosted at various times by Pat Sajak, Chuck Woolery, Bob Goen, and Rolf Benirschke.

In addition to the daytime version mentioned above, Wheel of Fortune also appeared as a nighttime syndicated program beginning in 1983. Sajak and Vanna White were the original hosts of this incarnation, a position which they still hold as of this writing.

Wheel of Fortune is one of the most popular game shows of all time.

This version has produced over 6,000 episodes, making it the longest-running syndicated game show in America. Over 40 versions have also been created for the international market, bringing the excitement of the Big Wheel to countries such as Malaysia, Russia, France, and Denmark.

Examples of Wheel of Fortune Slot Machines

IGT started making Wheel of Fortune slots in 1996, and they’ve created over 200 versions for land-based and virtual casinos, as well as mobile gaming platforms. While some of these slots are no longer available, at least a couple of new titles become available on an annual basis. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, here are a few examples.

Wheel of Fortune Big Money Multi-Level Progressives

One of the latest versions of the game, Big Money offers multiple ways to win progressive jackpots, as well as a higher-than-average bonus frequency. Similar in some regards to IGT’s DaVinci Diamonds, the game features tumbling reels that allow new symbols to drop into place when winning combinations begin to disappear.

Wheel of Fortune 100

The first game in the franchise to have 100 paylines, it also features a maximum wager of 400 credits. Base wins occur frequently thanks to stacked wild symbols, and the customary Wheel Spin bonus offers an additional way to obtain cash.

Wheel of Fortune Jackpot Paradise

A five-reel game with 30 paylines, this slot normally carries a maximum wager of 300 credits. Four bonus features are included, with Vanna White hosting each one. My favorite is the Wheel Spin Bonus, which allows the player to give the big wheel a whirl in order to win bonus credits or trigger one of two additional bonuses.

Wheel of Fortune 2X3X4X5X White Ice

A simple video slot with 3 reels, a single payline, and a variable maximum wager of two or three credits (although a 5-credit, 5-payline game is also available). Depending on the jurisdiction, this version may also be linked to a progressive network.

Wheel of Fortune Power Wedges

This is a 20-reel game with 40 paylines, a maximum wager of 500 credits, and 1,024 possible ways to win. Besides matching symbols, additional ways to win include the Wheel Spin Bonus, Jackpot Wedges Bonus, and Pointer Frenzy. In certain jurisdictions, the game may also be tied into a progressive network.

Wheel of Fortune Dazzling Gems

A 3-reel video slot machine with three paylines, this entry into the franchise allows players to bet up to three credits per spin. Those who wager less than the maximum amount can trigger a mini-wheel feature, while players risking the limit have a chance to win extra credits, free games, or one of fifteen progressive options.

Wheel of Fortune Double Diamond

This slot has three base games, and the Wheel Bonus shows up four times more often than with most entries in the franchise. Wager denominations for progressives go up to $5, making this ideal for slots players wanting to risk a mid to high level of credits.

Wheel of Fortune Triple Extreme Spin

This version of the game is aimed at high rollers, with symbols such as sports cars and yachts reflecting the overall emphasis on luxury. There are multiple bonus rounds that can be played, but the Triple Extreme Spin Bonus pays out the largest jackpot of 500,000 coins.

Wheel of Fortune Jackpot

A 5-reel, 20-payline game with an adjustable maximum wager ranging from 60 to 300 credits. The high bonus hit frequency is sure to keep customers coming back, and the Wheel Bonus is present like in all other versions of the game. While one of the more basic versions of this machine, Jackpot still carries the potential for respectable wins.

Buying a Wheel of Fortune Slot Machine

It’s reasonable to assume that slot machine collectors would want to add some of the world’s most popular games to their collection, but purchasing a used Wheel of Fortune machine is harder than you might imagine.

Some states don’t allow slot machines for private owners unless they’re considered antiques, and others don’t all ownership at all. In either case, slots can’t be shipped into states with such restrictions.

The other obstacle for those wanting to own a Wheel of Fortune slot is an agreement between IGT and Merv Griffin Entertainment. This deal allows slots to use the game show logo and appearance, but they don’t own the permanent rights. This makes it difficult to sell the games, and the chips are often destroyed after use to prevent such a possibility.

Despite these facts, the persistent collector might still be able to locate an older model from a private dealer website or eBay. Just keep in mind that the transaction may not be entirely legal, so exercise subtlety when making the purchase.