IGT plays on hype of ‘Hangover’ with game

Maybe this way, it’ll be easier to find Doug.

The sequel to the popular “Hangover” movie is set to open nationwide next week, and gambling equipment giant International Game Technology is about to take advantage of the hype by unveiling its slot machine themed after the original hit film.

Caesars Entertainment Corp. — Caesars Palace and Las Vegas were key locations in the first movie — has an exclusive agreement with IGT to premiere the games for several months at 37 of the company’s casinos.

A special screening of “The Hangover Part II” takes place to day at Planet Hollywood Resort. Several stars from the movie, along with Hollywood and Strip celebrities and professional athletes, will walk a red carpet and pose with “The Hangover” slot machine for the paparazzi.

Actor Justin Bartha, who played Doug Billings in the movie, is expected to appear.

There’s been much industry speculation about the game since IGT previewed the slot machine in November at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

“Normally, we expect to roll out the games we premiere at G2E over the following two quarters,” IGT Chief Operating Officer Eric Tom said. “We made one exception for ‘The Hangover’ because of Ken Jeong’s involvement at the show with the ribbon-cutting.”

Tom and other IGT officials are hopeful the reaction to “The Hangover” game will mirror the industry’s acceptance of similar slot machines themed after the television series “Sex and the City.” Since its rollout a year ago, IGT has placed more than 2,400 “Sex and the City” games worldwide. The game has been one of the company’s top-selling products.

The initial placement of “The Hangover” with Caesars will be 150 games. IGT expects rollouts with other casino companies through the summer.

Credit Suisse gaming analyst Joel Simkins, in a recent research report on the Midwest gaming market, said Harrah’s Kansas City officials pointed to “The Hangover” launch as a marketing opportunity.

Even after a year in the field, “Sex and the City” machines have not shown signs of losing their appeal, Simkins said.

Tom said “The Hangover” follows the company’s push for games with popular themes, such as “American Idol,” “Batman: The Dark Knight” and “Dirty Dancing.”

Tom said the game has “huge entertainment value” to players because of comedic elements from the movie blended into the slot machine. Movie characters Alan, Phil, Stu and Doug star in four themed progressive pick bonuses, including zapping Alan with a stun gun, visiting a wedding chapel, trying to collect Mr. Chow’s poker chips and selecting the correct Doug. Actor Ken Jeong, who portrays Mr. Chow in both the original and the sequel, pops in during game play with some of his memorable sayings.

Tom said Caesars is planning several promotions surrounding the slot machine. Employees will wear T-shirts during the rollout with the phrase, “Ask me where to get a great hangover.” Customers enrolled in the company’s Total Rewards program will have an opportunity to win a satchel filled with $80,000 in poker chips, similar to a satchel discovered in the movie.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.

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