November 14, 2022 Casino

Spreading the slot gospel

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Brian Christopher, President & CEO of BC Ventures, is one of the foremost social influencers of slots games. He sits down with Gaming America to discuss his story and what’s new in the world of slots.

What is a day in the life of an influencer like?

I love what I do but it is a grind. The job is seven days a week, involves tons of travel and takes a long time to set everything up. It's a fully-fledged business with ten employees who are doing great work for us, which is non-stop. Currently, we’re based out of Palm Springs, though most of my time is spent on the road.  

How did you get into this realm of slot influencer?

It was a job that had never existed before, so I never intended for that to happen. I just put out some videos for fun that resonated with people and they kind of took off immediately. And because of that, I uploaded more videos, and they took off. I got a lot of subscribers and a lot of views because I couldn’t believe how quickly things were progressing with it. This was over six years ago now and it’s just not slowing down at all.

There may be some preconceptions about slot game users being older. Do you think operators have a hard time marketing slots to younger people?

I think a lot of them do have that problem and that’s what I’m doing a better job of. If you take a look at our Facebook page, it skews more toward millennial males. However, I think things are changing, with the audience getting younger and more diverse. 

Before there was a stigma about slot machines; people were embarrassed if they went to a casino and lost money playing slots. What I’ve done has made it seem far more fun... and to be fair, slot machines have got a lot more fun. It used to be like, put in three quarters, get one spin, see if you get a cherry. It wasn’t very exciting. Now there’s a ton of bonuses and a lot more excitement on the floor, so that’s catching on. People are realizing: ‘Hey that’s a cool thing to do, playing slots.’

Can you talk about the evolution of slots? How has the technology changed since you’ve been doing this?

When I started at 19 we were using tokens and it was a lot of fun. It was very slow paced though: putting in a token, then a token, then another token. Then if you won, say, $1,000, you’d be waiting literally ten minutes for them to spew out all these tokens. Now, the pace has sped up dramatically, if you press ‘cash out,’ you get your ticket in five seconds. The denominations and the bet numbers have also definitely increased over the years. 

It used to be a single-line game, or maybe a three or five-line game, but now you’re seeing 50 or even 100-line games. You can win in 7,000 different ways. To a non-gambler it’s confusing, you could see lights flashing and fireworks going off and think, ‘Oh! I just won a jackpot!’ but in reality, you just won 37 cents. It’s hard for a new gambler to understand how much they’ve won and what they should be looking out for, that’s really my job. I’ll do that in every video: explain everything. Like, what we’re looking for, how we just won and how it helps people.

What’s the most you’ve ever won?

The most I’ve personally won on a physical slot machine was about $24,000. It was during a live stream on Dollar Storm at the Plaza. We do group pull slots, as well, so we had tons of people and everyone was putting in $100 dollar spins and we won about $45,000. On the online slots, I play on Play Chumba, and I was spinning $180 a spin and won $280,000. 

Do you feel that slot design is done more with land-based or online in mind?

Generally, they are designed separately. At G2E, I had that conversation with a company that has thousands of games. I said, “Do you ever think about moving this into a physical casino, and they said, ‘No we don’t.’" But we are seeing that come out a lot more, especially from the actual slot machine side. Light & Wonder, for instance, their slot machines have their own apps, so they can cross it over very easily. And I think very soon we’ll see my game – Brian Christopher’s Pop'N Pays More slot, which was produced with Gaming Arts – put onto an app.

What do you think about hybrid slots, with apps and physical slots? This could help slot machines get smaller and, on the casino floor, isn’t space money?

They don’t seem to be getting any smaller, they seem to be getting bigger. Bigger is better at the moment and the screens are getting wider or taller. Some are 20 feet tall now, it’s ridiculous. Personally, for me, I like to play a game at the casino that I already know how to play. On Play Chumba I’ve had to learn how to play a whole bunch of games that I didn’t know how to play before and I’ve come to love them, I wish those were on a machine at a casino. As well, there are thousands of games to choose from, so if there’s one game I know and love, I’d probably play that at a casino as well. 

What about the levered slots?

I feel like only 10% still have the levers. You don’t need the levers, you can just press the buttons. We’re just lazier people nowadays and pressing the button is easier than reaching over and hauling the lever. As I’m filming, it doesn’t look good to always be reaching over and pulling. 

One person I spoke to at G2E said the old-fashioned slots have higher payouts. Is that true?

There is certainly that conception. Definitely the higher the denomination the higher the payout percentage, and that’s where a lot of the old ones are located. Casinos definitely keep that under wraps, so when we get the stats back from, say Nevada, they tell us the stats by area, like from Downtown and so on, not from each individual casino. They’re very tight-lipped about some things, but we certainly know the higher the denomination, the higher the payout slip. 

What is the best slot floor you’ve seen either in Vegas or anywhere in the world?

I’ve talked about the Plaza and there is a curated area of my favorite slot machines there, so to me, that’s my favorite area. They’re also building an expansion now that will be the first smoke free area in Downtown Las Vegas. There will be a completely separate entrance, so you don’t even have to go through all the smoking areas, that has all my favorite games. 

There are a lot of casinos that are known for getting the newest and greatest slot machines before other ones. The Yaamava’ out here in California is one of those. It’s a behemoth. I believe it has over 5,500 games on two different floors, and every time I go there I’m blown away by it. 

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