Thanks to what’s being billed as “photo booth” technology, you can become a “star” of the TV show TMZ right on the casino floor. TMZ — the “Thirty Mile Zone” around Hollywood — is now a slot machine.

Become part of the action when a camera, built into the machine, captures your image, and inserts it into some of the graphics and bonus events that are part of the game. (If you’re camera-shy, don’t worry, the feature is optional.)

TMZ is a standard five-reel, 30 pay-line penny machine with expanding wilds, a multiplier on one of the scatter symbols, and bonuses based on segments from the TV show.

TMZ creator and host Harvey Levin and his team have recorded original audio and video for the game, and fans will recognize the music from the show’s various theme tunes.

The reel symbols are show props, locations, and cast members or celebrity guests.

In addition, the T, M and Z from the logo form a trigger for the news room bonus feature.

Landing on the M alone awards players a multiplier in addition to the one they automatically receive when they increase their bet size. That enables a random choice of three bonus rounds: Celebrity Safari, Celebrity Spin Cycle and Celebrity Mug Shot Free games. All of the rounds incorporate celebrity voice-overs, animations and cut scenes.

Newsreel wilds expand vertically and change to a radio tower image when appearing on three or more reels at the same time to combine wins in what is called the Breaking News feature.

TMZ is available at all Atlantic City casinos except Tropicana.

Photo bomb

Perhaps “personalized” reels are the future of video slot machine gaming.

Taking TMZ’s photo booth technology one step further, Scrappy Elegant Gaming has developed a system that embeds symbols and images supplied by any person playing a Real Reels-enabled slot machine.

Using a smartphone app, players will connect wirelessly to the machine through the phone’s Bluetooth function.

Once connected, they can select images from that phone — pictures of a spouse or friend, a pet or a favorite vacation spot — and those photos will appear on the machine’s video reels in place of other symbols.

Players also can download a favorite song to customize the experience even more.

None of these Real Reels machines has been produced for commercial distribution, but look for them in the near future.

Recreational gambler Darryl D. McEwen, a former professional journalist, is president of his own consulting firm that manages several small national and international trade associations, and provides public relations and fundraising services for a number of charitable organizations. Have a comment on this or a question specifically related to an Atlantic City casino, players club or other promotion? Email Darryl at and he’ll try to respond to you personally. Your question — without your name — may appear in a future column.

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