Slot machine crates surrounded booth 324. That's where AC Coin and Slot set up display machines for the two day Southern Gaming Summit.
One of the machines had Samantha Stephens and her friends from "Bewitched" on it. Sam twitched her nose, and suddenly, we were at AC Coin and Slot's new home, across the bay in D'Iberville. Ted Necaise is the vendor's customer service manager. He said D'Iberville "seems to be where everybody wants to be as far as vendors and distributors."
Necaise will run the brand new southern region office. Machines in Mississippi and Louisiana will be brought to it when casinos want slot machine themes, and computer hardware to change.
Replacing the equipment is George Carbo's responsibility. While he worked on a machine, he explained his job. "This conversion I'm doing right now would be changing this game from a Bewitched to a Power Slotto," he said.
Both Carbo and Necaise are 10 year casino veterans. They started at the old Jubilee Casino in Hancock County. Now, they're on the vendor's side of the industry. "I love it," Necaise said. "I see people now that never were able to buy a new car, they're buying new cars, homes. I think it's been a big plus."
That's one of the topics that will dominate the 10th Southern Gaming Summit -- how the arrival of casino companies, slot machines and vendors has changed Mississippi and the south.
Beverly Martin is director for the Mississippi Casino Operators' Association. Her organization runs the summit. "We're emphasizing looking at the past 10 years of gaming, our 10 year anniversary here," she said, "as well as the next 10 years, and what the future may hold, in particular for the Mississippi market."
In AC Coin and Slot's case, its future is in D'Iberville. And it includes a combination of innovative programs, hard work, and a little of Samantha's witchcraft.
The Southern Gaming Summit is Wednesday and Thursday. Nearly 6,000 people have registered for the two day casino industry showcase.