Are Red Screens Just an Oklahoma Thing?

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The Hunt for Neptune's Gold VGT red screen

The topic of bingo (Class II) machines comes up periodically. Here’s a set of questions we received from one reader on the topic:

Are there any tricks you can share about the bingo machines? Why do we have red screens and no one else does? Why doesn’t Vegas have the VGT machines that we have in Oklahoma?

Katherine A.

Just to be transparent, Katherine asked us a few other questions, but we addressed how these machines work, questions about odds and so on in previous dives on the topic.

But there’s a few new/novel questions here, and remind us a bit of when we were asked about Triple Fortune Dragon and Washington State.

Have you ever played a VGT red screen machine?

Still, many players have never encountered them – more than 80 percent of players polled on Brian Christopher’s YouTube page had either never heard of it or never played one.

So, why doesn’t Vegas have these machines? Well, Bingo machines are a tribal casino thing, and Vegas doesn’t really have casinos on tribal land – nearly all are commercial casinos. And since Nevada has legalized commercial casinos, that means workarounds when these are allowed aren’t employed.

Historically, Bingo Machines were a way to offer a slot-like experience for areas where slots weren’t legally available. Bingo Machines were allowed without much difficulty under federal law whereas actual slots required a tribe and the state to forge a compact that allowed them. Some states were more willing to go down this path than others.

Nowadays, Bingo Machines and slots are increasingly interchangeable, and in some markets that allow both like California, often are interchangeable. Oklahoma has both as well.

VGT’s popularity and availability being largely in Oklahoma goes to how machines are built and certified. Each jurisdiction has the ability to approve who can provide machines, and certify their machines meet their standards. A lot of smaller makers would focus on markets they could own, and that was a great example with Oklahoma and VGT. 

But VGT’s machines have certainly popped up outside of Oklahoma. And in recent years, VGT has been under the ownership of Aristocrat, which has a much larger footprint, and has taken VGT games into new markets, as well as brought Aristocrat brands like Buffalo into the Bingo Machine space under VGT’s oversight.

That said, most of the newer markets have bought into VGT’s video slots as opposed to the reels with red screens, which has largely remained in Oklahoma. But some games with red screens, like The Hunt for Neptune’s Gold, have made their way out there. We had a red screen Bingo Machine at one of our local Agua Caliente Casinos last year, but it got replaced pretty quickly – clearly it doesn’t work everywhere.

And finally, are there any tricks? No more so than slots – although the way the outcome is determined is the same, it’s still ultimately all about timing.

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