Nolan Thomas, creates a distress signal by holding an American flag upside down. Thursday’s raids were the latest development in a running controversy over the casino-style gambling on the state’s reservations. (Published May 13, 1992)

The first thing Carmen Jones noticed was the FBI sniper on the roof of the Fort McDowell Casino following her as she walked around the building with her 10-month-old son in her arms. Nearby, more FBI agents in heavy flak jackets, some toting assault rifles, stood guard, sweltering in the 90-degree heat.

Jones, a tribal member of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, which owned and operated the casino, had rushed to the casino from her home after getting a call from Yavapai tribal elder Ella Doka. The older woman had driven a friend to work around 6 a.m. on May 12, 1992, when she saw the tribes’ slot machines being loaded into moving vans.

Soon, Jones and her child were joined by other women from the tribe and her uncle, Gilbert Jones, a tribal council member. They parked their cars in front of the moving vans and kept watch while others went to call for more help.

The 28,000-square-foot bingo hall on the Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Indian Community is crowded with about 1,000 people on a recent evening. The reservation’s freedom from state limits on prizes keeps the hall busy seven nights a week. (Published August 11, 1986)

An area where video poker machines once stood. Agents loaded about 300 gambling machines into rented moving vans, but workers and other tribal members blocked the parking lot’s only exit with cars and trucks on Tuesday. (Published May 13, 1992)

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More Yavapai people rushed to the scene, surrounding the parking lot and the perimeter of the casino, blocking the trucks from coming or going in what was rapidly becoming a stand for tribal rights. Within two hours, the Fort McDowell tribal sand and gravel company sent its huge earthmovers across the Verde River to join the blockade. People yelled at the agents to put the machines back and leave them alone to run their business.

Over the next few hours, even more Native people and their allies joined the blockade. They stood guard over vans adorned with the Mayflower moving company logo. They blocked the government’s vehicles, preventing the moving vans and the FBI from leaving with more than 300 gaming machines.

At noon, Arizona Gov. Fife Symington learned of the showdown and flew from Phoenix to the small reservation to meet with Fort McDowell President Clinton Pattea to defuse the situation. After negotiating a cooling-off period, the tribe continued to protest with powwows and prayer rallies, as neighbors supplied food and water to those involved. Eventually, the small tribe won a compact with the state to engage in gaming.

Story continues

For many Native people, the raid and subsequent 10-day standoff represented a call to defend their land and government from being overrun by the state. The showdown between the tiny Arizona tribe and the U.S. government was a turning point in the history of Indian Country and tribal sovereignty, paving the way for the growth of Indian gaming as an economic driver and pulling many tribes out of poverty.

“(The standoff) is such an incredible event and a touchstone for tribal sovereignty,” said Victor Rocha, a member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians and a nationally known tribal gaming expert. “Even to this day, I go back and I watch the videos.”

Tiny tribe says no to state, fed intervention

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, known in 1992 as the Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Tribe, is located about 30 miles east of Phoenix.

The small tribe was mired in poverty. The roads through the 40-square-mile reservation were unpaved until the 1970s. The highway to Phoenix was a narrow two-lane road. Tribal kids rode the bus more than 10 miles to the nearest school until the mid-1980s when schools opened in the newly established Fountain Hills, now the tribe’s next-door neighbor.

Bernadine Burnette, 66, like others of her generation, grew up in homes with dirt floors and without running water or electricity. Burnette, the current tribal president, said the tribe had a small clubhouse where kids could watch a black-and-white television and buy candy for a nickel, which they thought was a big treat.

Jobs were scarce so far from Phoenix, and many tribal members were forced to ride the bus to work in Phoenix or other cities in the region. When the tribe leased some of its water to Phoenix, some tribal members were able to get jobs working at the water treatment plant at the southern end of the reservation.

Tribal leaders were determined to provide a better life for the 400 community members than what government programs had supported after many decades of federal underfunding. In addition to leasing some of its water allotment, the tribe grew alfalfa and other crops and ran a sand-and-gravel operation to generate revenue.

And in 1984, Fort McDowell opened a bingo hall.

Customers line up at the entrance to a bingo hall at the Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Indian Community. (Published February 18, 1990)

Howard Murray, general manager of the bingo operation, says the top prize he’s ever paid is $15,000, but such high payouts are rare. (Published August 11, 1986)

Many tribes found themselves on reservations that lacked sufficient arable land, water or other resources. Others, including Fort McDowell, were far from urban areas, which limited their ability to pursue significant economic development.

Many Native American leaders began turning to high-stakes bingo in the 1970s as a way to bolster their economies and provide needed services for their citizens. Other tribes added slot machines.

Two key Supreme Court decisions paved the way for tribal gaming. In 1976, the court ruled that states could not assess personal taxes on property owned by Native people on tribal land. And in the 1987 case California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, the high court ruled that gambling in tribal lands could not be regulated by states.

The passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 gave the small tribe and many others in the United States the means to bolster resources needed for infrastructure, social services and jobs.

The law, which was drafted by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, stipulated that tribal gaming would be allowed only in states that already sanctioned some sort of gambling, such as a state lottery, card rooms, horse racing or casinos.

Adding slot machines and video poker to the bingo operations in 1992 greatly increased Fort McDowell’s bottom line.

At the time of the raid, the tribe was earning $3.4 million a month from the machines, which provided revenues for new homes, health care, jobs, elder services and other community needs that had long been lacking.

Symington, fearful that the state would become a gambling mecca, refused to create compacts with tribes as required by the gaming act. Four tribes sued the state, while the others, including Fort McDowell, insisted that it was their sovereign right to offer gaming on their tribal lands. Since the state already regulated dog and horse betting, the tribes felt that it would have to abide by the federal law and create gaming compacts with them.

Symington asked U.S. Attorney Linda Akers to resolve the situation. Akers in turn warned the tribes that they risked seizure of the machines if they didn’t remove them.

But the federal and state governments failed to reckon with the indomitable spirit of the Yavapai people who had already fought – and won – several battles dating from the late 19th century. The tribe fought for its reservation, for the right of Native Americans to vote, for the right to lease part of its water settlement and to prevent its lands from being drowned beneath a reservoir.

‘Governor, we have a problem’

Around noon on May 12, Mark Flatten, a reporter for the East Valley Tribune, phoned Doug Cole, Symington’s deputy chief of staff.

“I called to get a comment on what was happening out at Fort McDowell,” Flatten said.

That morning, Flatten heard about a commotion out at the Yavapai reservation. “I figured I’d drive out there and see what was going on,” he said.

Flatten saw what he described as a “spontaneous uprising” of Native people with personal vehicles and earthmoving equipment who were blocking the Mayflower moving vans and the FBI’s vehicles from leaving.

Cole was used to getting calls from reporters, but this one set off alarms. He popped into Symington’s office and said, “Governor, we have a problem.”

People set up barriers to barricade trucks holding gaming machines at the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. The blocks were set up Thursday to guard against a raid by federal authorities. (Published May 29, 1992)

That’s the first Symington said he knew of the situation.

“We knew nothing about the raid or the activity,” Symington told The Arizona Republic.

Cole told the governor that Fort McDowell Indian Reservation citizens had banded together, barricaded the FBI inside the perimeter of the casino parking lot and wouldn’t let them leave.

“I decided that it was important that I go out there even though I had no real authority because it was on federal land,” Symington said.

The federal government holds land in trust for tribes, who govern the lands as sovereign tribal nations.

“It sounded like they were close to violence and I didn’t want that kind of thing on my watch,” Symington said.

Symington took a Department of Public Safety helicopter to Fort McDowell and on landing, saw the Mayflower vans holding the gaming machines.

“How ironic that was,” he said. “Early ships landing on North America, invading native lands.”

Symington said he thought that use of the trucks with the logo of the Pilgrims’ ship could have been an “in your face” move on the part of the U.S. government.

The governor and Fort McDowell President Clinton Pattea met in private and agreed on a 10-day cooling off period to allow for negotiations.

Pattea was a seasoned veteran of skirmishes with federal and state officials. He was a tribal council member during the tiny tribe’s struggle in the 1970s to prevent a dam from drowning their reservation and effectively breaking up the community.

Tribal president Clinton Pattea (left) and Vice President Gilbert Jones work together to protect the interests of the Fort McDowell Indian Community. (Published June 8, 1992)

State and federal officials wanted to build the dam at the confluence of the Verde and Salt rivers, but Fort McDowell residents opposed the idea and forced Arizona and the federal government to withdraw the proposal and redraw parts of the plan that established the Central Arizona Project. Fort McDowell now celebrates that decision each November with Orme Dam Victory Days.

Pattea, who held a bachelor’s degree in business and worked in banking, was first elected to the tribal council in 1959 and served as the executive secretary of the Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs from the mid-1970s through the late 1980s. He had retired from state service to serve on the tribal council full time.

Flatten said Symington’s swift move to meet with Pattea and negotiate the cooling-off period defused what could have been a tragic outcome.

“There were a lot of big issues playing out there on that small patch of ground,” Flatten said. “There were federal issues, state issues and tribal issues that came together on that tribal land.”

The standoff that changed Indian gaming

On the day armed FBI agents stormed the casino building along State Route 87, known to locals as the Beeline Highway, the Fort McDowell Gaming Center was about 50,000 square feet, and offered bingo, slot machines and video poker machines to patrons eager to try their luck without taking the long drive to Las Vegas.

The feds sought out those machines because they said the small tribe had no legal right to operate them.

“There were like 150 FBI agents and officers with their blue jackets with ‘FBI’ on the backs,” said Roddy Pilcher, the casino’s cash operations manager at the time, who was working inside.

Pilcher swiftly directed employees to empty out slot machines and hide the cash.

“Don’t count it, don’t write anything down, just get the money out and hide it,” he told the workers.

Within minutes, FBI agents served him and other managers with warrants to search the casino’s files for ownership papers. The agents started to load the tribe’s 349 gaming machines into Mayflower moving vans parked outside.

Pilcher and other tribal members set up phone trees to notify the tribe about the raid. Soon, people began arriving at the scene.

Pilcher said what was most hurtful about the experience were the guns pointed at him and other casino workers, both Native and non-Native.

Benjamin Anton (foreground) and his mother, Denise Alley, listen as a powwow circle near the gaming center at the Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Indian Community is blessed at the start of a 10-day powwow last week. (Published May 17, 1992) (AP Photo/Scott Troyanos)

Wendy Thomas and her 11-month-old son, Spear, join protestors on a march from the Fort McDowell Indian Community gambling hall. The march, which began Tuesday and ends today at the state Capitol, is being made to protest the seizure of gambling machines. (Published May 20, 1992)

Gerald Doka, now a member of the Fort McDowell Tribal Council, was at his job at the tribal nursery when his boss drove up and told him that trucks were backed up to the casino with FBI agents guarding them. Doka and four other tribal members drove down to see what was happening.

“We saw about six people standing there, five of which were women,” said Doka. “My mom, Ella Doka, was one of those ladies.”

Doka said someone came up with the idea to call people or drive to their homes, since cellphones were several years away.

Within two hours, the crowd grew to several hundred tribal members as the FBI continued to load up machines.

“People were arguing with the FBI telling them to get off our land, this is our land,” Gerald Doka said. “This is the first time I had ever heard the word sovereignty come up.”

Gerald Doka, a council member of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, speaks during an interview at the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort in Fort McDowell, Arizona, on April 13, 2022.

The tribal attorney explained to the crowd what the term meant. By that time, the media had arrived, with news helicopters, cameras and reporters.

Burnette, the future tribal president, was also on the phone. Although she worked at a federal agency at the time and could not take direct action, she could make phone calls.

“My daughter asked, ‘Mom, what do I do?’ I said, ‘You’ll get instructions.’ We all started conversing with each other.”

Burnette emphasized that even though she couldn’t be at the standoff, her heart, thoughts and prayers went to the community.

Tom Jones, the councilmember’s brother and a Vietnam War veteran who served in the Marines, was on duty as an equipment operator at the city water treatment plant just off the southern border of the Fort McDowell Reservation, about 30 minutes northeast of Phoenix. At the time of the raid, Jones, Carmen Jones’ dad, had completed terms as a council member and was now on the tribal economic development board.

“The tribal members here wanted to hang on to the machines and they wouldn’t let the machines out of the reservation,” said Tom Jones.

He said he got involved in the conflict because as a tribal member, he wanted to protect his tribal rights and sovereignty to have gaming machines if they wanted them. “If a state had gaming, then the tribe was entitled to gaming,” he said.

He rushed to the casino after his shift was over.

“We had a gathering in the evening, and the next night we had a powwow during the 10 days to cool off, and we had 10 days of powwows after that,” said Jones. “A lot of tribal members from different tribes in New York, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, and plus the 21 tribes here in Arizona, came. There were a lot of people there that came to help us show our resistance.”

Clissene Lewis (right) greets Ophelia Kill during a powwow in the Fort McDowell Indian Community. The Mayflower trucks in the background hold gaming equipment seized by the FBI. (Published May 14, 1992)

Among them, a group of Mohawks on motorcycles arrived from New York to support the small tribe’s stance.

People and nearby businesses brought food and water; one Fountain Hills restaurant sent sandwiches. Inside, the bingo hall continued operations.

Outside of the casino, a group of Yavapai men organized watchers at the southern end of Fort McDowell to warn of any new incursions. Others prepared for battle.

Tom Jones said some of his nephews made Molotov cocktails for use in case the FBI decided to move the machines out before the 10-day period was up. In the end, cooler heads prevailed and the standoff remained peaceful.

“I went to our BIA office and they were handing out bullets and helmets to the officers, who were also Native,” Jones said. “I said, ‘We’re all tribal members, one tribe or another. We need to help each other.'”

Jones said he reminded them that they all had been subject to genocide and suppression, and that he felt their job was to protect Native people.

After the cooling-off period, Fort McDowell members held a march to the Arizona Capitol to raise awareness of their fight for tribal rights. A story in The Republic in June 1992 said then-Attorney General Grant Woods proposed allowing slot machines on tribal lands after the march.

Red Sand Singers perform outside Phoenix Civic Plaza to protest interference with gambling on Indian Reservations. (Published May 29, 1992)

Chris Rhodes of Phoenix, clad in traditional northern Plains Indian regalia, joins a protest march to the state Capitol. (Published May 21, 1992)

Symington countered with his own proposal, and on May 22, he agreed to negotiate a gaming compact. Since then, other compacts have been enacted, the latest in 2021. The newest compact added sports betting, including phone apps, for both Native and non-Native venues.

The state still had no protocols to regulate any gambling other than dog and horse racing, so Tom Jones, who served on the first tribal gaming commission, helped develop bylaws and guidelines based on other states’ ordinances.

The gaming machines were taken to a Department of Public Safety warehouse in Phoenix on June 6, 1992, and were never seen again. To this day, some tribal members consider that a betrayal of their good faith negotiations, since the cooling-off agreement stipulated the machines would be sent to a neutral storage facility.

Workers unload a gambling machine at a Department of Public Safety warehouse. (Published June 6, 1992)

Tribal nations now have more than 520 casinos

Over the three decades that followed, tribes across the United States and Arizona have reaped the benefits of gaming.

In 2020, there were at least 527 casinos operated by 247 tribes in 29 states, with an estimated $33 billion in revenue, according to media and technology law firm Gamma Law. Some tribes have also expanded their gaming operations to other states and to the glittering Las Vegas Strip.

Fort McDowell has added more than 200 new homes and a tribal health clinic, a state-of-the-art justice complex and water infrastructure using casino revenues.

The tribe, now 870 members strong, has also added to its tourism attractions, with two championship golf courses, a luxury hotel, an RV resort and a Western entertainment venue. Fort McDowell also owns and operates a resort in Sedona. An early education complex and a justice center were recently added to the community.

Calvin “Roddy” Pilcher, a tribal member of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, walks through the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort in Fort McDowell, Arizona, on April 12, 2022. Pilcher served as cash operations manager for the tribe’s high stakes bingo during the standoff between the tribe and FBI agents who raided the former Fort McDowell Gaming Center in an attempt to seize the tribe’s slot machines in 1992. The standoff would pave the way for tribal gaming in the state and across the nation.

A few years after the raid and standoff, Ella Doka, who died in 2016, organized a small walk to commemorate the event. The tribe has held the walk ever since, and May 12 is now a tribal holiday known as Sovereignty Day.

Symington was reelected as governor in 1994, only to resign in 1997 after being convicted for bank fraud in federal court. The conviction was later overturned and President Bill Clinton pardoned Symington in 2001. Symington retired from public life and obtained a degree in culinary arts. He also co-founded the Arizona Culinary Institute.

Pattea, who received an honorary doctorate from Northern Arizona University, continued to serve as Fort McDowell president for 17 of the next 21 years. He died in 2003 at age 81 and was succeeded by Burnette, who was most recently reelected in 2020. She spearheaded the construction of the new 167,000-square-foot casino and the renaming of Fort McDowell’s entertainment enterprises under the WeKoPa brand.

Burnette said her tribe’s stand against the federal and state governments’ attempt to take their business away is discussed widely today throughout Indian Country.

“It really opened the doors for Indian casinos, not only in Arizona but across the United States,” she said.

Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn wrote in 2008 that “Indian gaming is simply the most successful economic venture ever to occur consistently across a wide range of American Indian reservations.” For many tribes, Washburn wrote, governmental services such as education, health care, elder services and other services are strengthened by the increase in available resources.

Rocha said the course of Indian gaming would likely have been much different had Fort McDowell not made its stand.

“Wherever I go, I always bring up the story because it’s such an important story,” said Rocha, the gaming expert and the publisher of Indian gaming news site Pechanga.net.

He added that the standoff gave Indian Country hope for a prosperous future.

“The lesson that Fort McDowell taught Indian Country is that you fight and you don’t accept it,” said Rocha. “Its fight for its sovereign rights is a lesson that resonates. Even when they come to your home and they kick in the door and take your stuff out, the fight’s just started. It was just an incredible event and a touchstone for tribal sovereignty.”

Debra Krol reports on Indigenous communities at the confluence of climate, culture and commerce in Arizona and the Intermountain West. Reach Krol at debra.krol@azcentral.com. Follow her on Twitter at @debkrol.

Coverage of Indigenous issues at the intersection of climate, culture and commerce is supported by the Catena Foundation.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: How Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation fought government over gambling and won

UPDATED with approval: The Nevada Gaming Commission has approved a limited license for MGM Resorts International shareholder Barry Diller to work in the state’s casino industry after probing the billionaire IAC chairman and former media mogul about a federal investigation into his purchases of shares of Activision Blizzard.

IAC has a 14% stake in MGM Resorts. Diller and IAC’s CEO Joey Levin are on the board. Diller, his stepson Alexander von Furstenberg and David Geffen reportedly acquired stock in the videogame giant right before it was acquired by Microsoft early this year, boosting the stock. Diller has said he had no knowledge of the upcoming deal.

More from Deadline

According to the WSJ, the commission voted 4-1 to approve Diller for a two-year license while the investigation is pending, rather than granting him a full license.

PREVIOUSLY: The Nevada Gaming Commission today sent IAC Chairperson Barry Diller and CEO Joey Levin’s gambling license applications back to the Nevada Gaming Control Board for “further fact finding and investigation”.

The decision by the Nevada gambling regulator comes in the wake of federal prosecutors and the SEC investigating Diller, Alexander von Furstenberg and David Geffen who reportedly made an unrealized $60 million profit on an Activision Blizzard options trade days before the videogame label w Microsoft on Jan. 18.

An IAC rep in an email response to Deadline said, “Mr. Diller’s license application was not rejected; the matter was simply delayed. We expect no issues with respect to Mr. Diller’s application nor IAC’s.”

The decision to delay Diller’s license application was made by Nevada Gaming Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Togliatti in a public meeting which also aired live on YouTube. Applications will be put off until an April board meeting.

Story continues

Prominent casino shareholders and executives must be licensed to operate in Nevada’s gambling industry. The Nevada Gaming Control Board investigates the backgrounds of such folks. The entire process is meant to prevent corruption and criminal activity in the state’s gambling circle. IAC’s involvement with MGM Resorts is to help propel the casino in the online gambling sector.

Diller, Geffen and von Furstenberg bought options to acquire shares in Activision at $40 apiece, when the video game developer and publisher’s stock was trading at about $63. Their profit was reaped when Activation share prices were around $80 according to the Wall Street Journal‘s report.

At the time of the report on March 8, Diller confirmed that he is under investigation by DOJ, and told WSJ that none of the three men had private information about the looming merger. “It was simply a lucky bet,” he told WSJ. “We acted on no information of any kind from anyone. It is one of those coincidences.”

Jill Goldsmith contributed to this report

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witch star Felix ‘xQc’ Lengyel has claimed that the real reason that his fellow streamer Ludwig ‘Ludwig’ Ahgren won’t include sponsored gambling in his content is that YouTube is strict about any such ads on the platform.

xQc sent sparks across the streaming community after he announced he would be using sponsored gambling ads once again during his streams. The news came a year after he quit the practice for good and apologized for “hardcore exposing” gambling to his viewers.

The move sparked a fiery dispute online as various streamers have shared their take on the change and the potential damage it could have on influential fans.

YouTuber Ludwig added his voice to the debate claiming that he wouldn’t be including any gambling in his content due to his previous addiction. However, xQc believes there could be another reason.

On May 19, xQc claimed that the reason Ludwig wouldn’t be including gambling ads in his content would be because he “sold out” to YouTube, which has a strict rule on the type of ads that can be circulated on the platform.

It comes after Ludwig stated that he wouldn’t be ‘selling out’ to online gambling sponsors for ‘morality’ reasons as well as his fear of the backlash he might receive from his fans and fellow streamers.

“Guys, I did some mental investigation about this, okay,” xQc claimed. “Ludwig says he doesn’t have a price. Then it hit me. It’s because Ludwig is on YouTube and YouTube doesn’t allow any [gambling], and Ludwig signed and sold out to YouTube.”

Back in June 2021, YouTube implemented a set of new policies with regards to its masthead ad content. The updated rules prohibited any ads promoting gambling, alcohol, political content, or prescription drugs from featuring on the website’s home page.

Responding to Ludwig’s comments during his stream, xQc added: “[Ludwig] literally contractually cannot in any way shape or form do it. Now, I got it. Now, it just kind of clicked.”

Ludwig hasn’t openly responded to xQc’s comments, as of writing. However, with the long list of streamers speaking out against the use of sponsored gambling ads continues to grow, this dispute isn’t going away any time soon.

There’s a music-themed slot game for everyone.

Do you have a passion for music? Or maybe you just want to find a good slot where you don’t have to mute the soundtrack? Either way, you’re in the right place. When it comes to online entertainment, nothing can beat the combination of slots and music.

Image credit: UnsplashImage credit: Unsplash

With that in mind, we’ve brought together a list of the top five music-themed slots. They’re all available online, and what’s even better is that they’re safe to play at Casumo. Read on to find out which titles made the chart, and then start spinning the reels on your number one choice.

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Top Music-Themed Slots

Music-themed slots work because they bring together excellent songs with slot symbols that we like and care about. It doesn’t matter what your taste in music is; you’ll find something to suit you. While the music plays a role in our ratings, we’ve also considered how much fun it’s to play these games, including looking at the RTP (Return to Player) rate and bonus features.

Guns N’ Roses

An iconic rock band is a no brainer when it comes to music slot themes. NetEnt has done an excellent job in transforming the style and spirit of Guns N’ Roses into a slot. There’s a setlist of five of the band’s biggest hits, and you can choose which one to listen to as you spin the reels.

The RTP is 96.98%. The theme is applied well, as you’ll see the band members available as the high-value symbols. Features of the slot include expanding Wilds, Encore free spins, Legend spins and the Crowd Pleaser bonus.

Kiss

American rock band Kiss has an instantly recognisable look, which translates well to a slot theme. The slot’s RTP is 95.94%, which is on the lower side and is the reason this game misses out on the number one spot. However, it still delivers exactly what Kiss fans will be wanting to see and hear.

The soundtrack includes big hits, such as Rock and Roll All Nite and Detroit Rock City. You can also see live footage from previous concerts, which boosts the atmosphere. Game symbols include the band members, an electric guitar and the Kiss logo, which acts as the scatter symbol to trigger free spins.

Phantom of the Opera

If you’re looking for a different style, then a game inspired by one of the top musicals could suit you. The Phantom of the Opera slot from Microgaming takes its inspiration from the film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit show. It includes music from the original soundtrack, which will get you in the mood alongside the moody graphics and animations.

The symbols and bonus rounds embrace the theme. There’s a chandelier bonus, Music of the Night free spins, and Christine, Raoul and the Phantom appear as symbols. The game has 243 ways to win and an RTP of 96.40%.

Motörhead

Rock bands dominate this music-themed slot list. Perhaps their fans are more likely to be casino players, or the images and songs fit more with the game format. At number four is Motörhead, with a song that’s perfect for the casino. You’ll hear Ace of Spades playing in the background. However, when you activate rock mode, you’ll hear other tracks, like Overkill and Iron Fist.

The slot has an RTP of 96.98%. It’s another classic from NetEnt with features and symbols that fit well with the British band. Look out for the mystery reel with symbols that can transform and the Bomber feature that can lead to big wins.

DJ Wild

Although the benefits of singing are undeniable, you might want an entirely different style of music, away from rock and stage shows. In that case, we recommend you check out number five on our list, DJ Wild. Imagine a stadium filled with people ready to dance the night away as you line up the tracks.

In DJ Wild, you set the tone. It’s a fun twist on the music theme without relying on a specific band. ELK Studios has delivered a slot with an RTP of 96.30% and features that include expanding Wilds, a respin bonus game and an enticing jackpo

Cashless payment option coming to Detroit casino

Hollywood Casino at Greektown has already gone through some big changes this year. And now they’re about to have another: a new way to gamble without physical cash.

DETROIT (FOX 2) – Hollywood Casino at Greektown has gone through a number of new changes this year: New renovations, new health guidelines, and even a new name.

But the gambling center’s latest unveiling will have a direct impact on the patron’s experience: cashless payment.

Using Bluetooth technology that connects mobile phones to the games at the casino, it makes playing any number of slot machines easy.

“This is industry leading technology. We’re the only casino in Detroit to offer it. It’s great to be able to have,” said John Drake, the General Manager of Hollywood Casino at Greektown.

Drake called the cardless, cashless feature something that guests should come expecting when they visit the casino.

“The casino industry, as much as it tries to be innovative, it’s not always the most innovative so we’re excited to say that we’ve been able to get here.. and offer something the customer should expect.”

Born out of the pandemic, paying without an transfer of physical cash is the latest example of how the country’s system of transactions has continued to evolve.

The tech is available on the “My Choice App” loyalty program.

RELATED: Michigan to begin allowing people to claim state income tax deduction for gambling losses

The specific technology has been growing in casinos across the country. However, the ease at which money can exit one’s bank account is worrying to some groups that advocate for individuals with a gambling addiction.

“We see the potential for some of those players in that category to get into a greater risk because they’re in a semi-trance,” said Michael Mooney, a certified Gambling Counselor. “They’re in front of that machine for several hours so it’s like they have to get out of that chair and walk 20 feet to the ATM and clear their head for a moment.”

MICHIGAN CITY — If a person at the casino offers to give you part of his or her slot machine jackpot if you’ll do the paperwork required to claim it, it’s not only a bad idea to say yes, it’s also a crime.

Billy Butler, of Mishawaka, is poised to learn that lesson the hard way.

Butler is accused in LaPorte County of allegedly engaging in “jackpot switching” as a way to avoid having his casino winnings seized to cover unpaid child support obligations, according to court records.

If convicted of gaming crimes, a level 6 felony, Butler could spend six to 30 months behind bars and be fined up to $10,000.

According to court records, Butler was playing a slot machine at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City on the evening of April 20 when he allegedly won a jackpot prize of $1,340.

Under federal law, a slot prize of $1,200 or more must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Indiana law also requires jackpot winners be checked against the state’s unpaid child support database and any winnings seized to pay pending obligations.

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Court records suggest Butler was well aware of those legal requirements because earlier that day at Blue Chip he won a $5,000+ table game payout that was intercepted by the casino as required by law and applied to his child support arrears, reducing his unpaid obligations to $42,338.32 — but getting him nothing.

So later, when Butler hit the big slot machine prize, he allegedly started looking around the Blue Chip slots area to see if anyone else in the casino might be willing to step over and claim it on his behalf, according to court records.

Records show Butler made no headway with either of the first two men he approached. A Portage woman, however, allegedly agreed to claim Butler’s jackpot by posing as the real winner in exchange for Butler giving her $200.

But the scheme quickly fell apart as the casino’s review of its surveillance footage showed Butler was the actual jackpot winner, not the woman, according to court records.

Records show the woman told police she’d never met Butler until he allegedly offered her $200 to stand in his place and collect the jackpot. She also said she did not know what she was doing was a crime.

When he was confronted by police, Butler allegedly admitted he asked the woman to participate in a jackpot switch to prevent his winnings from again being intercepted for unpaid child support, according to court records.

Records show Butler ultimately was evicted from the casino, his slot machine winnings seized by police in connection with the jackpot switch investigation, and a warrant issued for his arrest. The woman has not been charged with any crimes.

Separately, Butler was arrested by Mishawaka Police May 10 for unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and possession of cocaine, according to court records.

His initial court hearing on those charges is scheduled for May 31.

Gallery: Preview of Blue Chip Casino’s new health and safety protocols Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Boyd Gaming is implementing its ‘Boyd Clean’ plan across all properties, including at Blue Chip Casino, to ensure cleaning and social distancing for patrons. Here a placard is set up at a table on the gaming floor.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Security at the entrance to the gaming floor at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City will use thermal imaging to read body temperatures of patrons to help screen for COVID-19 symptoms.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Seats are distanced from each other at Blue Chip Casino ahead of reopening in Michigan City.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Various slot machines on the gaming floor at Blue Chip Casino are closed to patrons to ensure spacing and social distancing between them in the rows.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Seats at slot machines are spaced apart at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City ahead of reopening. Machines in between the seats will not be operable to help with social distancing.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance to Blue Chip Casino’s sportsbook.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Robyn Smith, custodian at Blue Chip Casino, sanitizes slot machines on Friday in Michigan City.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Kiosks have plexiglass dividers between them near the entrance to the gaming floor at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Seats at slot machines are spaced apart at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City ahead of reopening. Machines in between the seats will not be operable to help with social distancing.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

A plexiglass divider helps with maintaining a barrier between booth seating at William B’s Steakhouse at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Round mats mark spots in lines where patrons will wait for various services, such as security, kiosks, etc.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Kiosks at Blue Chip Casino’s sportsbook have plexiglass dividers for users when the facility reopens for patrons. One machine in between the other two is closed to help maintain social distancing for patrons.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Hand sanitizer is available at the hostess’ counter upon entry to William B’s Steakhouse, one of several restaurants at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Brenda Temple, vice president and general manager at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, updates the press on the casino’s plans to follow social distancing guidelines as they reopen June 15 under rules by the Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Brenda Skabinski, custodian at Blue Chip Casino, wipes down surfaces inside the sportsbook on Friday in Michigan City.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Adam Iler, custodian at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, wipes down the glass doors outside the entrance on Friday.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

Maria Villanueva, custodian at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, wipes down seats at cards tables on Friday.

Kale Wilk, The Times Blue Chip Casino previews new social distancing measures

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