Justin Allen is a roulette dealer at a coast casino. "Basically what I like about being a dealer," Allen said, "is you can ask the players what they like about certain games. What they don't like. Find out what they want to play. What's not out there."
Because of Allen's research at the tables, the Pass Christian man developed King's Ransom Roulette. It's a game that uses cards and a die rather than a roulette wheel. Allen said creating the concept was "three years of blood, sweat, tears and money."
The Southern Gaming Summit's expo hall gave Allen and his family their big chance to make some of that money back. The Allens set up a booth and tried to convince gaming executives that King's Ransom Roulette should be in their casinos. According to Allen's mother Dorothy Moore, "It's been several years that we've worked on it. But here it is."
Justin Allen is one of a growing number of local entrepreneurs trying to compete against the new technological advances created by the gaming industry's big boys. Companies like Allen's Apollo Gaming, and Mao Gaming out of Ocean Springs have small staffs, but big dreams.
Stacey Perry represents Mao Gaming and its new creation Streak. She said the blackjack sidebet game "offers 28 potential bets per round."
Five years ago, Perry and a staff of 10 brought Mao Gaming to an office in Ocean Springs. "The reason we located the corporation in Mississippi in particular," Perry said, "is because it's the second largest gaming jurisdiction in the United States. I personally find Ocean Springs a great place to work."
Perry is a lot like every other Southern Gaming Summit vendor. She's betting the casino game she dreamed up on the coast will hit the jackpot in casinos all over the country.
The Southern Gaming Summit expo opens again Thursday from noon until four. An estimated 5,000 people are at this year's gaming conference.