Think of it like an auto show for slot machines. Instead of Ford, Chevrolet and Hyundai, the manufacturers you see are IGT, Konami and Orion.

That’s the best way to describe the 18th annual Global Gaming Expo, the largest gathering of gaming professionals in the world.

The nearly 2 million square foot trade show just ended in Las Vegas and provides a glimpse of what you’ll find in Atlantic City’s and other casinos over the next year.

And, with the legalization of sports betting in six states — and more to come — there was an entire special section devoted to all the equipment a casino needs to open a sports book, from betting terminals to high-resolution LED video screens.

In addition, there were fashion shows with models wearing the latest uniforms for cocktail servers, front desk clerks, housekeepers and other employees, and even demonstrations of the latest food trends.

But the big attractions are still the slot machines — which are getting taller and curvier, many with several displays stacked on top of each other.

Look for themed slots featuring everything from your favorite entertainers and television shows to board and video games, movies, and even cartoon characters like Felix the Cat.

Particularly popular was an unusually shaped wide-screen Madonna slot that displays the lyrics to her songs so, presumably, you can sing along while you play.

With Cher, Mariah Carey and Britney Spears already a presence on the casino floor, look next year for Willie Nelson, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine.

Several movie-themed machines — Casablanca, Singin’ in the Rain and Jurassic Park — have been updated, as have those based on such popular television shows as The Brady Bunch and Wonder Woman. One new entry in the TV show category is MacGyver, based on the original 1980s series.

There also are several new additions to the James Bond collection, including one where up to four people can play on a flat table-top surface.

Manufacturers also are introducing more 4D machines. With 4D, players calibrate with the screen and — without touching — use their hands and eyes to manipulate features and bonuses.

Among the newest entries in this category are The Price Is Right (introduced by none other than the popular television game show’s host Drew Carey), Wheel of Fortune, Ghostbusters, Sex and the City, and American Gods, based on the Starz network fantasy drama.

And, while they were still a presence at the show, there were fewer skill-based games. Once thought to be the “savior” of the business, for many reasons they’re just not catching on with consumers. But that’s the topic of a whole other column.

Have a comment on this or a question specifically related to an Atlantic City casino, players club or other promotion? Email Darryl McEwan at and he’ll try to respond to you personally. Your question — without your name — may appear in a future column. Follow him on Twitter @MrACCasino.

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