Walk into any casino in the country today and you'll find a gaming floor that's dominated by slots that bear little resemblance to the machines that were there two decades ago.
Handles have long since been rendered window dressing by push-button play, drop-in coin slots were covered up once ticket-in/ticket-out technology was introduced, and the enticing jingle-jangle of tokens cascading into trays has been replaced with electronically generated noise.
Three-reel spinning games such as International Game Technology's Double Diamond, Triple Diamond, and Red, White & Blue 7's, and Bally's Blazing 7's, among others, once upon a time were the essence of what playing slots was all about.
They're still around, but today the old stalwarts are overshadowed by a sea of video slots in a wide variety of entertaining themes available in penny, two-cent, three-cent and nickel formats in which multi-line/multi-coin capabilities make it possible to bet upwards of five dollars on every spin.
Making an ever-increasing presence as well are multiple-reel spinning slots available in low-denomination play.
The hand writing is on casino walls. Little energy is devoted to developing new 3-reel product lines. The accent is on four and five-reel spinners with bonus features, multiple pay lines and tiered progressives. How soon will it be before your favorite two-coin dollar Double Diamond machine becomes extinct?
Casino floors are evolving into a virtual world.
The demand for reel-spinning slots continues, but the new games that are being introduced reflect a trend away from the 3-reel spinners, which ultimately means once the games in those formats have run their course they'll not be replaced with like version.
Even though the majority of slots are equipped with multi-denomination capabilities, some manufacturers offer games only in one denomination.
Casino operators know players in ever-increasing numbers are wagering dollars per spin on penny games that have a higher "hold" (casino win) than dedicated quarter, half-dollar and dollar games. Gamblers identified as "dollar players" are beginning to earn that reputation playing penny and nickel games.
Gaming industry dynamics as they apply to slot machine play have changed dramatically, not necessarily to the benefit of players but certainly to increased profitability for casino owners.