With the astronomical success of last year’s STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, there’s been an unstoppable Force of merchandising tie-ins with characters slapped on everything from t-shirts and action figures to lunchboxes and even tangerines. One area that the new crew from a Galaxy Far, Far Away was notably not included on was on the ever-growing assortment of gambling games and slot machines.
The plethora of themed gambling machines–with increasingly high-tech animations, videos, soundbites and even music–seemingly fit right in along with Disney licensing empire and its endless library of familiar characters. And yet, there’s a continually shrinking presence of such Disney-branded gambling machines as part of an on-going initiative over the past several years.
In a single visit to most Vegas casinos you can span the pop culture universe from The Wizard of Oz and The Munsters to Batman and Wheel of Fortune. The idea of playing slot machines with characters aimed at children has not gone unnoticed by the Mouse and for the past several years they’ve moved to put an end to licensing out their stables of recognizable characters for gambling games. This extends into barring association with any sorts of gambling related product, tie-ins, and games.
And so we find not a single Kylo Ren slot machine or BB8 spinning bonus in sight. In fact, both Star Wars and Marvel themed slots which have already been out in the market are being eliminated from casinos in the US. Themed online slot games; such as those with Marvel’s Iron Man 3 and zuma slots were still allowed in Florida for some but the slow phase out continues.
Industry experts believe that the corporation is more concerned with possible competition than they are with gambling. This may be because they want to enter their own products into the market or simply want to downgrade what’s on offer elsewhere in Florida. This is a more cynical way to look at the change and the Disney corporation will be hoping that players will see their intentions are pure.
This isn’t the only time that brands have felt that their image was being demeaned by gambling however. The Tolkien family famously sued Warner Brothers for their use of the Lord of the Rings story within slot and online gaming machines. They cited that the gambling role had damaged the reputation of the story and the writer in an irreparable way.
So while the merchandise machine moves forward full steam with the Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel properties, it’s doing so without the luring evils of gambling based themes.
Presented by Bingo Sweets.