Bally slots have been a part of the gambling industry for more than 85 years. Regardless of ownership or non-gaming commitments, the company has always been interested in new gambling opportunities created by the latest technological advancements.
Bally’s online games have always been well-regarded among players and operators alike due to the company’s long-standing commitment to technological excellence, the games’ production values, and the ease of integrating them into existing casino platforms.
The best Bally slot games
|Anchorman||96.3%||25||5||Movie tie-in, ‘70s|
|Michael Jackson King of Pop||96.04%||25||5||80s, Big-name license|
|Hot Shot Progressive||96.04%||40||5||Classic|
|Cirque Du Soleil Kooza||96%||40||5||Circus, Pop culture license|
|Acorn Pixie||96%||30||5||Fantasy, Fairies|
|Fu Dao Le||96%||243-way system||5||Chinese|
|Triple Cash Wheel||95.3%||60||5||Retro, Classic|
|Quick Hit Platinum||94.06%||30||5||Classic, Retro|
|Shadow Diamond||94%||40||5||Jewels, Luxury/Glamour|
|Duck Dynasty||94%||15||5||Big-name license, Reality show|
|Lady Robin Hood||94%||40||5||Fantasy, Medieval|
|Cash Wizard||94%||30||5||Fantasy, Magic|
|NASCAR||-||-||5||Motor racing, NASCAR|
|Heavenly Riches||-||40||5||Chinese, Eastern|
Bally was the first company to popularize slots with video displays instead of mechanical reels, and many of the cabinets it designed were packed with powerful hardware.
In 1999, the company surprised everyone with the quality of its EVO slots, and it did it again in 2005 with the powerful ALPHA systems. Thankfully, this didn’t change when Scientific Games (SG) acquired Bally Technologies. Bally slots are still a joy to look at and play.
Bally slots: game spotlights
Bally has released countless high-quality slots that won the hearts and minds of casino enthusiasts from all over the world, such as Money Honey, Betty Boop, and the Hot Shot series. Below is an overview of three contemporary Bally games that have been trending in internet casinos in 2019.
- Lucky Tree – five reels, 30 paylines, free spins, and a pick ’em bonus round. This slot has a lucky Asian theme, but it’s clearly superior to Shuffle Master’s 88 Fortunes in terms of production values. It also has four wild symbols that tend to trigger plenty of line wins, which lowers the variance to a very low level. Combined with cute designs, this makes Lucky Tree an excellent choice for players who like to relax and enjoy the casino experience over prolonged periods of time.
- Michael Jackson King of Pop – five reels, 25 paylines, and five bonus features rounds. The land-based version of this musical slot runs on ALPHA Pro Series V22/32 hardware and is equipped with an integrated surround-sound chair. While the online version can’t really replicate this experience, there’s no better way to play an online slot while listening to Smooth Criminal.
- Quick Hit Platinum – five reels, 30 paylines, and an internal progressive jackpot. It’d be easy to dismiss this game as yet another entry in the immensely successful Quick Hit series, but the visual improvements resulting from the switch to ALPHA 2 Pro hardware and the low house edge make it definitely worthwhile. The symbols are based on traditional designs, such as bars, cherries, bells, and sevens in red, white, and black.
Special slots features
Many of the features introduced by Bally slots were groundbreaking at the time of their release but are now considered standard in the industry.
Bally rolled out the first video slot machine, which was called Money Honey, and pioneered wide-area progressive jackpots with the Thrillions system. Nowadays, Bally slots don’t come with any distinctive features aside from the buy-a-bonus function, which allows players to spend a predetermined amount of coins to trigger the bonus round.
The bonuses are priced in a way that doesn’t affect the return-to-player (RTP), but they give users an option to enjoy the slot in a new, adrenaline-pumping way.
Online slots and land-based machines
Land-based Bally slots are designed to be as visually appealing as possible, so every spin activates numerous animations and special effects. The online versions of these slots utilize the same resources, such as slot symbols, sounds, music tracks, and background graphics, but they generally come with less eye candy.
For example, the land-based version of Acorn Pixie features animated golden leaves that fall from the screen, pixie dust, and gorgeous animated pixies that burst out from their symbols on successful spins. In the browser-based version, players get the same pixies with fewer animations and fewer special effects.
This isn’t done out of laziness on Bally’s part; the internet games have to be small enough to be downloaded, even with a slow mobile connection. In fact, Bally boasts an outstanding size-to-eye-candy ratio as their online slots come with standard casino visuals in a more static form and load within five or ten seconds on standard broadband.
Even so, players won’t be able to get the perfect Bally casino experience online.
Select games and payback percentages
As demonstrated by the examples below, the RTP for Bally’s video slots tends to fall within the 94% to 96% range, which is average for modern slot machines. Some examples:
- Cash Wizard – 93.99% RTP
- Fu Dao Le – 96% RTP
- Lady Robin Hood – 94% RTP
- Acorn Pixie – 95.91% RTP
- Hot Shot Progressive – 96.03% RTP
- Anchorman – 96.03% RTP
- Michael Jackson King of Pop – 96.01% RTP
- Lucky Tree – 96% RTP
- Cirque du Soleil Kooza – 96% RTP
Bally slots history
|Top slot||Michael Jackson|
|Special slot feature||Buy a Bonus|
|Parent company||Scientific Games|
The Bally Manufacturing Corporation was founded in 1932 by Raymond Moloney to make pinball games for its parent corporation, Lion Manufacturing. Its name was derived from its first game, Ballyhoo.
In the years leading up to World War II, the company began designing cutting-edge mechanical slot machines for the developing U.S. gambling industry.
The outbreak of hostilities forced Bally to switch to the production of munition and airplane parts, but after the war, the corporation returned to manufacturing gambling hardware. In the ‘50s, it launched its own line of vending machines and a short-lived record label, Bally Records.
Moloney died in 1958, and with Lion Manufacturing going out of business, his heirs decided to sell Bally Manufacturing to a group of investors.
Despite these succession-related difficulties, the company managed to corner the global slots market, accounting for 90% of all machine sales at the height of its popularity. In 1964, Bally released the first-ever video slot game, which was called Money Honey.
By the end of the decade, Bally Manufacturing made several important acquisitions, which included Midway Manufacturing and Guenter Wulff-Apparatebau, and became a publicly traded company.
In the late 1970s, Bally expanded its operations, making forays into the land-based casino business in New Jersey and into the fledgling video game industry.
The company launched its own gaming console, called the Bally Astrocade, and acquired licenses for two of the most popular video games of all time – Pac-Man and Space Invaders. Despite these successes, Bally’s president, William O’Donnell, was forced to resign due to his alleged ties to organized crime.
In the early 1980s, Bally went on an investment spree, expanding its fitness division and purchasing the Six Flags amusement park chain and the Health and Tennis Corporation of America.
They also acquired several large casinos, including the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino (renamed Bally’s Las Vegas), the MGM Grand Reno, and the Golden Nugget Atlantic City (renamed Bally’s Grand, and then The Grand – A Bally’s Casino Resort).
The returns on those investments were lower than expected, and Bally had to sell several divisions, including Midway, to avoid a financial crash.
The 1990s and Alliance Gaming
After the rather disastrous 1980s, Bally underwent a management change and was renamed Bally Entertainment Corporation. The new leadership focused on fitness products as Bally Gaming was dethroned by IGT in the casino-equipment industry.
Their plan was to sell this division to WMS Industries, but this plan was thwarted by a hostile takeover attempt initiated by Alliance Gaming Corporation, which was backed by Kirkland-Fort Worth Investment Partners.
In the end, Bally’s board of directors capitulated, canceled the deal with WMS, and approved the merger with Alliance. The transaction was completed in June of 1996.
The 2000s were a period of growth for Bally and Alliance Gaming.
The EVO and EVO 3 platforms that were rolled out in 1999 and were replaced by even more advanced ALPHA slots in 2005. As a result, Alliance Gaming changed its name to Bally Technologies Inc. in 2006 to present a unified identity to the customers.
As Alliance/Bally became laser-focused on gambling, several other companies that weren’t related to this corporate structure released non-gambling products under the Bally brand. These products included Bally/Williams pinball machines and Bally Total Fitness products developed by Bally France.
In November 2014, Bally Technologies was acquired by Scientific Games for $3.3 billion plus $1.8 billion in assumed debt. Much like WMS, which was purchased by SG in 2013, Bally was fully integrated into the new corporate structure. Nevertheless, Scientific Games continues releasing slots under the Bally brand, allowing Bally to retain its unique identity.
The Bally brand is owned by the Scientific Games Corporation, which is a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market (NASDAQ: SGMS).
As of January 2019, the largest shareholders in Scientific Games include Fine Capital Partners LP (9.75% ownership), Sylebra HK Co. Ltd. (9.40%), BlackRock Fund Advisors (6.04%), The Vanguard Group Inc. (5.36%), Whale Rock Capital Management LLC (3.73%), EastBay Asset Management LLC (3.50%), and Stone House Capital Management LLC (2.44%).
Fine Capital Partners LP increased its ownership in SGMS by 30.24% in December 2018 by buying 2.1 million additional shares.
Bally management and corporate structure
Bally Technologies has been completely integrated into the Scientific Games corporate structure. The former chief executive officer (CEO) of Bally Technologies, Richard Haddrill, was employed as executive vice chairman at Scientific Games in December 2014.
He became a vice chairman of the Scientific Games Board of Directors in February 2018 and has been serving in this capacity ever since. The current president and CEO of Scientific Games is Barry Cottle.
Scientific Games Board of Directors
- Ronald O. Perelman (Chairman)
- Barry Cottle (President, CEO, and Director)
- Richard Haddrill (Vice Chairman)
- Peter A. Cohen (Vice Chairman)
- David L. Kennedy (Director)
- Gerald J. Ford (Director)
- Paul M. Meister (Director)
- Michael J. Regan (Director)
- Barry F. Schwartz (Director)
- Frances F. Townsend (Director)
- Gabrielle K. McDonald (Director)
- Kneeland C. Youngblood (Director)