Lion Manufacturing established the Bally Manufacturing Corporation on January 10th 1932 with Raymond Moloney at the helm. Originally, the company had been founded to make pinball games and the company took it’s name from it’s very first highly successful game called Ballyhoo. Based in Chicago, the company soon became a leading manufacturer of these popular games.
In the late 1930’s a decision was took by Raymond Moloney to begin making gambling ware and he found great success in developing and improving the modern mechanical slot machines that formed the backbone of the gaming industry.
After World War II, during which Bally Manufacturing had helped to knock out munitions and airplane parts, the company continued to produce innovative pinball and slot machines throughout the late 1950’s and also designed and began to manufacture vending machines. This resulted in the establishment of a coffee vending service.
However, the company floundered shortly in 1958 when Ray Moloney died. During the financial meltdown of parent company Lions Manufacturing, Bally was bought out by a group of investors in 1963. Despite this, Bally continued to dominate the slot machine industry and had cornered over 90% of the worldwide slot machine market by the end of that decade.
Around this time, Bally became a publicly-traded company and began to buy several companies. These included a German game company and Midway Manufacturing, an amusement game company from Illinois who were in the business of making coin-operated electromechanical devices, such as puck bowling games. Throughout the 1970’s and the early 1980’s, Midway would become a primary source of income for Bally. This is because it so happened that Midway became an early arcade video game maker and it obtained the licenses for two of the most popular video games of all time, Space Invaders and Pac-Man.
In the late 1970’s, New Jersey legalized gambling in Atlantic City and Bally made an attempt to enter the casino business but this effort was thwarted when the company was unable to gain a permanent license for the completed casino there.
By the mid 1980’s, the management at Bally desired to refine the manufacturing business as a leisure industry giant and the company once again began to buy other businesses. These included the Six Flags amusement park chain, the Health and Tennis club exercise chain and a maker of exercise equipment.
Also around this time, the company was finally successful in it’s bid to enter the casino business, purchasing several companies including the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (which was renamed as Bally’s Las Vegas) and the Golden Nugget Atlantic City. Unfortunately for Bally, these purchases eventually took it’s toll on it’s finances and the company had to sell off several divisions, including Six Flags and Bally-Midway. Along with Midway, the pinball division, was acquired by Williams Electronics in 1988. The Aladdin’s Castle, a chain of arcade games, was sold to Namco in 1993 and was renamed Namco Cybertainment, Inc.
Financier Arthur Goldberg took over at Bally in 1990 and a name change to Bally Entertainment Corporation took effect. The company began to focus on the health club business and adapted the manufacturing-related parts of the business into a separate division.
By 1992, this manufacturing division, Bally Gaming International had merged with Alliance Gaming and becoming a subsidiary of Alliance, had completely divested from the parent company (licensing back the Bally name). There were now three divisions to Bally Gaming International – Bally Gaming (slot manufacturing), Bally Systems (slot accounting and management) and Bally Wulff (wall machines).
Bally Health and Tennis, the health club divisions of the company was eventually renamed Bally Total Fitness. Many casinos worldwide took on the Bally name down to ownership and licensing agreements and Midway continued to use the Bally name for it’s pinball games, until WMS Industries ( the parent company of Williams ) stopped pinball production in 1999.
In 1995, Bally Entertainment Corporation was purchased by the Hilton Hotels Corporation and later the casino resorts division of Hilton Hotels became Park Place Entertainment. A deal was struck between WMS Industries and an Australian company, The Pinball Factory on March 31st 2005 to give WMS Industries a license for the intellectual properties and the rights to re-manufacture former Bally/Williams games in the field of mechanical pinball. Additionally, The Pinball Factory also bought the right to manufacture new games using his company’s new hardware system under the Bally brand.
After the company announced on March 6th 2006 that it’s shareholder’s had approved a name change to Bally Technologies Inc. Company, shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BYI as early as March 13th 2006.
Popular Slot Machines
As well as the ‘Texas Cash’ range and the ‘In The Money’ series of slot machines released by Bally Gaming, the following ranges of machines are of particular popular interest.
Saturday Night Live
This series comes in a nine to fifteen line format with the coin sizes (requirement for play) starting at a penny per line. Each one of the different games has varying bonus features and top pays. The Church Lady version has a Canned Ham and Church Chat bonus round whilst Wayne’s World has a Guitar Feature which pays up to 15 times the bet played and an Offer Feature which can pay a staggering 1000 times your line bet creating some potential giant jackpots!
On each of the individual game machines, the top jackpots do vary but they can be found connected to linked game progressives with the jackpot’s starting at $10000 and continuing up from there.
Playboy Video Slots
All versions of the Playboy video slots come in five reel, nine line and five reel, twenty line formats with coin sizes varying from casino to casino but most common are the nickel versions although there are some penny versions to be found.
All of the bonus games are themed in that they have something to do with the Playboy magazine. Features include the Cover bonus and the Centerfold bonus. These bonus games are highly interactive, for example, in the Cover bonus you get to choose from twelve of Playboys’ classic covers. Each pick gives you bonus credits and an up-close look at the magazine cover. However, if you wish to play the Playboy slots you will have to be in the United States as these games are currently not available in other countries.
On this range of machines, there are several different ‘7’ symbols on the reels and a gambler can win with any mixed sevens or of course the highest pay to be won with identical blazing ‘7’ symbols.
Of particular interest, the top jackpot on the video slot is remarkably low but this has it’s advantages as the jackpot of $1000 for nickel play hits very often.
The game was released in various five reel formats and these range from three lines to twenty lines and as all versions have a maximum bet of three credits per line, this means the highest maximum bet is sixty.
What makes the Blazing 7’s video slot a great game to play is it’s high hit rate and low top jackpot. Blazing 7’s can also be played with pennies.