‘Wheel’ slot has enjoyed good fortune

Slot machines are kind of like restaurants: Patrons are attracted to the newest thing, and if something sticks around a few years, it’s special. And rarely does a brand endure for decades.

In the case of slots, that product is the Wheel of Fortune slot machine. Since debuting in 1996, Wheel of Fortune has endured – and prospered – on slot floors around the world. The latest version of the game, Wheel of Fortune Double Diamonds 3D, debuted this summer at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood and at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek. The graphics include coins sometimes appearing to fly off the screen and into the player’s lap.

Manufacturer International Game Technology has created more than 230 variations of Wheel of Fortune, some featuring the wheel spinning and others even giving players a chance to solve a word puzzle. But all carry the intro shouted by audiences at the start of the TV show: “WHEEL. OF. FORTUNE!”

There are more than 7,500 machines of some Wheel of Fortune ilk scattered across the United States, notes Phil O’Shaughnessy, IGT senior director of global communications.  He also notes that the machines have yielded record jackpots, including $14.4 million won in Biloxi in 2009. The Seminole Hard Rock machines are part of a group of “progressive” machines, meaning a little piece of each spin goes into a larger jackpot. Over the weekend, that jackpot was near $400,000.

Twitter: @NickSortal