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It's a shame, but the United States have yet to fall in love with online casinos – or at least the American legislation makers haven't. Even though there are thousands of real-world slot machines all across the United States, when it comes to online, it's a different matter entirely. Perhaps US politicians are in the pockets of rich real-world casino owners … ? Who can tell?
Despite this anti-online-gambling stance, a few companies who make real-world slots in the US have an extensive portfolio of online slots, and Bally is one of the most successful.
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Learn here about Bally Slots
Bally go back a long way – way before the internet was even dreamed off. In 1932, a company called Lion Manufacturing decided to try out the pinball market. Led by Raymond Moloney, Lion decided to create an offshoot company, which they named after the first pinball machine they created, which was called Ballyhoo. The new company quickly dropped the 'hoo' and became known as the Bally Manufacturing Company.
This new, Chicago-based company swiftly became a success, and soon became the number one manufacturer of pinball machines in the US. Like all successful companies, they decided to branch out, and began to make vending machines and even automatic coffee machines. Bally did their part during WWII as they switched to making munitions and parts for aircraft, and even had their own record label, Bally Records, which only lasted two years and produced one sole Billboard Hot 100 top ten hit.
Crucially, after WWII wrapped up, Bally re-established their gaming business, and began to make mechanical slot machines.
Bally – number one in America for three decades
Throughout the swinging sixties, Bally completely dominated the slot machine industry. By the mid-sixties, it was estimated that nine out of every ten slot machines in the entire world was made by Bally. In 1964, Bally became the first slots company to add electronics to their machines, with the launch of 'Money Honey'.
Bally continued to dominate throughout the 1970s, and made moves into the video game markets, acquiring the US licences to the Japanese games 'Supēsu Inbēdā' and 'Pakkuman', or 'Space Invaders' and 'Pac-Man' as they were re-christened.
In the 1990s, Bally was given a new full name – Bally Entertainment Corporation – and began to focus on health clubs, games arcades, fitness equipment and hospitality.
The US kings of real-world slots
Bally's real-world slots will be familiar to casino players across the USA, and primarily in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Modern Bally games have huge screens with complex video displays that feature exciting animations and blood-pumping sounds. Some of Bally's favourite games include Betty Boop's 5th Avenue, Nascar, Dragon Spin, It's Electric and The Blob. Bally have made a number of slots with media tie-ins, such as Evel Knievel, KISS, Playboy, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Attack From Mars.
Unfortunately, online slots players do not get to enjoy online versions of Bally's real-world games. This is because of the intense schism that exists between real-world casinos and online casinos, and in particular in the US. Real-world casinos seem ever-fearful of their punters abandoning their bricks-and-mortar premises in favour of them flipping open their laptops instead.
As a result, Bally keep their real-world and online slots separate.
Bally drop the ball
A company called Advanced Patent Technology, established in 1968, bought the slots and gaming side of Bally Entertainment in 1996. APT (then known as Alliance Gaming) changed its name to Bally Technologies in 2006.
This company maintained Bally's tradition of creating top-notch slots, but a few unsuccessful ventures saw Bally find themselves nearly two billion dollars in debt. In November 2014, Bally was acquired by Scientific Games, a leading manufacturer of sports betting and lottery terminals.
A handful of Bally's top slots
Bally have not yet reached the heights online as they have in the real world, maybe because of the continual distrust of online casinos inherent in the USA. They have made some very worthwhile games though, and here are three of what we considered to be their best efforts:
Fat cats usually means bankers with seven (or eight) figure salaries, but in this game the fat cat in question is a nappy-clad feline sumo wrestler. This giant of an online slot has an incredible 1,024 possible pay lines, thanks to its five reels, four rows and 'all possible ways win' mentality. The game also has the original 'Hot Zone' feature where random shapes fall onto the reels and turn ordinary symbols into wilds. Bally's Sumo Kitty is one pussy where you'd think twice before bopping him on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.
Naturally, what happens in Big Vegas, stays in Big Vegas … or does it? If you do win big on this Bally slot, you'd better hope that your winnings transfer out of the machine and into your casino account. All the symbols in this slot are themed around Las Vegas casinos, and while it's hardly a match for a Las Vegas casino slot, it does a great job of coming close to it. The game also features a 'directional wilds' feature, which can turn reels or rows completely wild!
The 'Cash Wizard' character in this slot looks as if he was designed by a nine-year-old, but the same cannot be said of this online slot. This is one of Bally's more complicated efforts with a couple of great bonus features. If you bet on the 'Wizard Bonus Bet' you'll get the chance to spin the 'Mystery Wheel' or attain the 'Wizard Wild' where your friendly wizard chum turns random symbols into wilds. There's also a magic potion bonus game where you have to choose carefully else you'll end up feeling a little sick!
Bally – where do they go from here?
Despite years of success, Bally are now under the control of Scientific Games, so it's interesting to see where their intentions now lie. They are not exactly flooding the market with online games, but they are still pushing their real-world machines. Perhaps as hostility towards online gambling in the US (hopefully) thaws, we will see more of Bally's very decent online slots.