Placement on the Vegas strip, apparently: I Dream of Royalties [pdf]
A CLUTCH of suited dignitaries, standing beneath a makeshift thatched roof of dried palm fronds, don floppy white sailor caps on cue as a band blares the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song. One of them, Kenny C. Guinn, the governor of Nevada, is struggling to retain his dignity as he shares a spotlight with Gilligan, the Professor and Mary Ann — the actors Bob Denver, Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells — during the opening ceremony of the gambling industry’s big annual trade show, held here earlier this month.
The three castaways were among a cavalcade of celebrities — some faded or forgotten — who turned out at the cavernous Las Vegas Convention Center to help sell slot machines created in their images.
[…] Slot machines account for more than 70 percent of casino revenue in the United States, according to William Eadington, an economist at the University of Nevada at Reno. And the most profitable machines, slot makers have discovered in recent years, are those that tap into the recognizable and nostalgic. The manufacturers are spilling tens of millions of dollars licensing such brands, hoping that they will help their machines stand out in the crowd of games clamoring for gamblers’ attention.
[…] “Before the `Wheel of Fortune,’ the theming of slot machines was generic — cherries, lemons, pots of gold, four-leaf clovers,” Mr. Christiansen said. “Stuff in the public domain that didn’t cost any money to use. But that changed as soon as `Wheel of Fortune’ hit. Consumers suddenly were demanding something more than cherries and lemons.”
That meant greater development costs for slot makers, but also greater profits. A slot machine typically sells for around $10,000, adding maybe $4,000 in profit to the company’s bottom line, I.G.T. executives said. By contrast, a successful revenue-sharing machine can provide a steady stream of cash, adding as much as $16,000 a year to the bottom line.
A highly entertaining article — with much more than I have posted here.