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Barb’s Best Bets: Best Movie-Themed NJ Online Slot Games On The Planet

March 5, 2018
movie nj online slot games gambling websites

Did you watch the Oscars last night? If so, I bet you saw actors, actresses, and directors give speeches, cry, hug their award, and walk off the stage as winners.

But don’t think that you can’t also be a winner. You can turn the week into a winning week for you, too. I have already done all the hard work — hunting the NJ gambling websites and looking at hundreds of online slot games. The goal was to find the top two movie-themed slots on the planet that you can play from the comfort of your own home.

The exhaustive search was a success. I found two movie-themed NJ online slot games that are really worth your time: Planet of the Apes and Emoji Planet.

I guarantee that during the entire time you play either of these games, you won’t ever be bored — which is something even Jimmy Kimmel couldn’t guarantee at the Academy Awards. More importantly, both of these slot games have a return to player (RTP) exceeding 96 percent. That translates into frequent payouts, little likelihood of tapping out even if you play a long time, and a good likelihood of winding up a winner.

You can play either game online at Golden Nugget, Betfair, 888 Casino, or Borgata NJ online casino.

Planet of the Apes

Have you seen the film “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and/or “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes?”

If so, when you start playing this action-packed slot, you might not find yourself in alien territory at all. That’s because not only do the game’s symbols include characters from both movies; you are shown actual clips from the movies to recreate the “outta this word” cinematic experience.

But if you never saw the films, don’t worry. Once you start playing and become immersed in the action, the exciting cast of characters will have you riveted to the screen.

Dual sets of reels

Planet of the Apes is a product of NetEnt in association with 20th Century Fox. It is a split screen video slot comprised of a left side and a right side, each of which contains five reels, three rows, and 20 fixed paylines.

Of course, many other slot games also have five reels, three rows, and 20 paylines. But what is unique about this particular slot is that instead of there being just one set of reels, there are two. The dual sets of reels are designed to represent two different phases in the life of Caesar, a chimpanzee who, as a result of being given an experimental drug, has acquired human intelligence and emotions.

Phase 1, depicted in the left set of reels, is called “Rise.” It represents Caesar’s early life, subsequent captivity and placement in an animal sanctuary, and ultimate escape with the help of an army of apes to whom he administered the same drug given to him.

Phase 2, depicted in the right set of reels, is called “Dawn.” It covers what happens to Caesar after his escape from captivity as his community of super-intelligent apes is threatened by the survivors of a deadly pandemic that has wiped out most of humanity.

Fittingly, each set of reels has its own symbols, outcomes, and bonus features. So in that sense, playing Planet of the Apes is like playing two games in one. The varying color scheme — warm natural colors for the Rise side and dark, foreboding colors for the Dawn side — set the tone for the action about to unfold.

Planet of the Apes symbols

The symbols on the Rise side include Caesar, three characters from “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” and the playing cards 10 through Ace. The symbols on the Dawn side include Caesar again, three characters from “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” and the playing cards 10 through Ace.

Each side also has a wild symbol and a scatter symbol. The wild symbol is Caesar’s attic window. However, in the Rise area, it is gold, while in the Dawn area, it is red. The wild symbol replaces all other symbols except scatter and bonus symbols to help form additional winning combinations.

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Planet of the Apes special features

Stacked Wilds

If any of the reels in the Rise section is fully stacked with wild symbols, the corresponding reel on the Dawn side will also become completely wild!

Rise Bonus

When the Rise bonus symbol appears in Reel 1 on the Rise side, each human and ape symbol (other than the scatter symbol) that is displayed on the screen will pay a cash prize.

Dawn Bonus

When the Dawn bonus symbol appears in Reel 5 on the Dawn side, each human and ape symbol (other than the scatter symbol) that appears in the Dawn area is transformed into the same matching symbol.

Rise Free Spins

This feature is triggered when three scatter symbols land anywhere on the Rise side. The player then receives 10 free spins.  Each wild symbol that appears on the reels will increase the win meter by one unit. However, on the final spin, all wild symbols that appeared on any of the preceding free spins will reappear simultaneously in random places. Afterward, the player’s total win will be determined.

Dawn Free Spins

This feature is triggered when three scatter symbols land anywhere on the Dawn side. The player receives 15 free spins, on each of which there are three different “collect” symbols. Each one, when it lands, activates a different win meter: multiplier, extra free spins, or extra wild. Each time a meter is filled to capacity with three collect symbols (which can happen multiple times), the player gets the corresponding reward.

Multiple Free Spins

If three or more scatter symbols land in both the Rise and Dawn play areas on the same spin, both free spins features will be triggered, starting with the Rise Free Spins.

Dual Feature

This feature can occur before any spin. One symbol will be randomly picked from the Rise area (but not the bonus or scatter symbol), and another symbol (but not the bonus or scatter symbol) will be randomly picked from the Dawn area.

If the designated symbol lands on the same side, it will be frozen. Or if it lands on the other (wrong) side, it will move over to the same position on the intended side. Then the reels keep respinning until no new matching symbols land. At that point, the player is paid.

Planet of the Apes bet range and pay rate

The combination of low-medium volatility and an exceptionally high RTP of 96.8 percent makes this game a slot player’s dream. You won’t be chasing any elusive life-changing jackpots, but instead, you can look forward to lots of bonuses and frequent payouts of varying size that will keep you from going broke. It may even culminate in a big payday.

The minimum bet is just 20 cents and the maximum is $200, making it a suitable choice for virtually any player. The game can be played on mobile devices as well as your desktop.

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Emoji Planet

Whether you have seen “The Emoji Movie” or not, it’s hard to imagine any slot game that is more in tune with the way people on this planet are communicating today than Emoji Planet.

With more than 1,000 different emoji currently in existence, they are popping up everywhere in online communication. Whether you’re catching up on your latest messages on social media or simply texting your friends, you would probably feel at a loss for words without them.

Now, thanks to the ingenuity and creativity of NetEnt, your love of Emoji images can pay off big time because you can actually play an Emoji-based slot game. Released in 2017, Emoji Planet is a cluster paying slot with five reels and six rows and many ways to win.

Emoji Planet symbols

The colorful cartoon-like symbols include eight emoji varieties.

  • Bombs
  • Pizza slices
  • Kiss marks
  • Rockets
  • Two Hearts
  • Poo
  • Aliens
  • Smiley faces

The highest value symbol is the Smiley face. It can pay up to 500x your stake.

Another important symbol is the Star, which is the game’s wild symbol. It substitutes for all other symbols. Some wild symbols are stacked, while others are sticky.

Emoji Planet Special Features

Each of the first five Emojis listed above comes with its own special Emoji meter. Each time you destroy one of these symbols, the corresponding meter will be filled by one space. You can check the sticker on each Emoji meter to see how many times it has been filled.

A meter is completely filled when all 12 spaces are filled, which will activate the corresponding Emoji feature. However, all Emoji meters are reset to zero at the end of each game round.

If more than one Emoji meter is filled at the same time, the corresponding features will each be activated in turn, in the order indicated below.

Bomb Feature

Eight random symbols (not including sticky wilds) are destroyed, each generating a random coin win of 5 to 100x the bet level. The eight destroyed symbols will not fill any of the Emoji meters.

Pizza Feature

 A 3×3 overlay of a random symbol (other than a wild symbol) will randomly appear on the reels.

Kiss Mark Feature

Three sticky wild symbols will randomly appear on the reels and stay there. Each of these symbols, which can substitute for any other symbol, has three lives, corresponding to three chances to be part of one or more simultaneous winning combinations. When all three lives are lost, the sticky wild symbol disappears.

Rocket Feature

A stack of 10 wild symbols appears on and above one reel to create a winning combination, which is a cluster of five symbols or more. The bigger the cluster, the bigger your win.  In addition the winning cluster sets off an “Avalanche” where the winning symbols explode and in their place, new wild symbols from the stack land on the reels. The Avalanche (and winning) will continue until no more wild symbols remain in the stack. Each Avalanche has the potential to produce wins up to 5,000x your bet!

Two Hearts Feature

This feature is activated only when there are no other winning combinations and Emoji features. The total win is multiplied by the number of times the Two Hearts meter is filled plus 1.

Emoji Planet bet range and pay rate

Emoji Planet is a medium volatility game with a very favorable RTP of 96.4 percent. With a minimum bet of 20 cents and a maximum bet of $200, the game is appropriate for everyone from small stakes players to high rollers. Like Planet of the Apes, Emoji Planet can be played either on your desktop or mobile device.

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The best bet to make on NJ gambling websites

The best NJ gambling websites offer a wide choice of movie-themed slots, but if you are going to play, your best bet is one that is not only highly entertaining but likely to give you a high rate of return.

Just as your Oscar picks may not have matched Sunday’s big winners, we also can’t guarantee that you will win playing Planet of the Apes or Emoji Planet. But this much is certain: You will have a ton of fun and your chance of winning will be as good as or better than you will have in any other slot game.

Federal Appeals Court Denies Ivey’s $10 Million Borgata Casino Case Appeal … For Now

July 6, 2017
Borgata NJ casino Phil Ivey

It’s really difficult to take $10 million — legit or not — from a casino.

Phil Ivey is finding out just how difficult this year. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa paid the poker star $10 million in 2012, when he played four sessions of mini-baccarat. His success drew him one last card: a lawsuit from Borgata.

Earlier this month, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals said Ivey would have to wait until another Borgata lawsuit concludes before he can get a final decision on Borgata’s suit against him. While not a loss, it does mean Ivey has to sit tight before he receives a final verdict.

Here are the exact words of the decision, per USA Today:

“THEREFORE, IT IS on this 6th day of June, 2017

ORDERED that the MOTION for Entry of Judgment under Rule 54(b) by PHILLIP D. IVEY, JR. [120] be, and the same hereby is, DENIED; and it is further ORDERED that Plaintiff shall resume prosecution of its claims against Gemaco, Inc., by renewing its motion for summary judgment, or by seeking other relief, that would resolve the claims between Plaintiff and Gemaco, Inc. so that final judgment may be entered on Plaintiff’s claims against Ivey and Sun.”

“Sun” refers to Cheng Yin Sun, Ivey’s playing partner who was able to spot the card inconsistencies that resulted in the 2012 winnings.

When the final judgment is given, Ivey can start the appeals process against a district court judge’s earlier ruling that Ivey should repay the money he won.

Ivey took advantage of printing inconsistencies

At face value, a casino demanding a gambling savant return his winnings may seem like a petty response from a sore loser. However, as reports of the dispute show, there is serious doubt to Ivey’s claim he legitimately won his $10 million.

The case revolves around the possibility that Ivey gained an advantage by noticing a printing defect on the top and bottom edges of purple Gemaco cards. This is known as “edge sorting.”

Arguments for and against Ivey

Ivey’s argument is that using the discrepancy wasn’t fraud and that his competitive advantage was no different than casinos using beautiful women and strong drinks to distract card players.

However, Borgata pointed out that the use of a particular type of Gemaco card during Ivey’s mini-baccarat session wasn’t an accident.

In order to host the $50,000-per-hand game, Borgata had to meet a list of demands from Ivey, NorthJersey.com reported:

  • Purple Gemaco cards
  • An automatic shuffler
  • A dealer speaking Mandarin

Ivey supposedly asked for these conditions because Sun, his partner, spoke Mandarin and also had keen enough vision to spot card inconsistencies.

Ivey and Sun allegedly asked for telling card positioning

Several news outlets reported that, in addition to making what would turn out to be supremely advantageous requests, Ivey and his partner made multiple requests of the dealer to position certain cards certain ways.

While Ivey waits for his chance in the Third Circuit court, he will also be embroiled in a lawsuit with a UK casino at which he also won millions in mini-baccarat using purple Gemaco cards.

The cardmaker most likely won’t make it out of these situations unscathed, as Borgata’s lawsuit against the company will take center stage now that the Third Circuit has halted the Ivey suit.

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Image by World Poker Tour / CC BY-NC 2.0

Borgata Wants Ivey To Cough Up $10 Million Payment Before Appeal

February 3, 2017
10 million ivey borgata

Phil Ivey’s legal team recently requested that a federal court make a final judgment in his ongoing case with Borgata Hotel and Casino.

The Atlantic City resort has responded that it is fine with a final judgment. But now Borgata wants him to post bond on the $10.1 million a judge ruled he owed the casino after two extremely profitable sessions of baccarat using a technique called “edge-sorting“.

Why does Ivey want a final judgment?

In Ivey’s argument for a final stay, his lawyers proposed a stay on paying funds. Borgata has a pending case with Gemaco, the makers of the cards involved in Ivey’s game manipulation. Ivey and his companion, Cheng Yin Sun, used imperfections on the card backs in the deck to give themselves an edge.

Until courts rule on Gemaco’s culpability, Ivey wants to refrain from paying the sum ordered by the courts.

Why then does Ivey want to rush the court to a final judgment? So he can appeal the case to the Third Circuit.

Borgata agrees with the motion to make a final judgment. They argue that if it is final though, then it is time for Ivey to pay up.

The US District Court in New Jersey came to a sum of $10.1 million, which comprises $9.5 million in baccarat winnings and another $500,000 Ivey won at the craps tables using profits from his baccarat session. Borgata’s legal team attempted to get more money in the form of compensation for comps, but the court denied them.

Borgata agrees to judgment, but wants Ivey to pay up

In a recent court filing Borgata suggests the Gemaco case is completely extricable from the Ivey case. With that in mind, there is no reason in Borgata’s mind why the final judgment and posting of bond for the sum of the judgment needs to wait.

Borgata’s lawyers also contend the payment does not meet the considerations of causing irreparable harm to Ivey. Given his wealth and career, the casino believes he can easily continue his career as a professional poker player and gambler with $10 million less in his bank account.

Part of Borgata’s argument cites the internet lore surrounding Ivey and his speculated net worth. It also references Ivey’s personal web site, which suggests he should just assume he is going to win the World Series of Poker Main Event in the future:

“First, a number of internet sources estimate Ivey’s net worth at $100 million… the entrance fee for the world’s richest poker tournament, the World Series of Poker Main Event, is only $10,000. Ivey’s own website captions him as “one of the greatest [poker] players alive and states ‘many feel that it is just a matter of time before [Ivey] takes down poker’s grandest prize.’ ”

What comes next for Ivey?

Technically Borgata is asking the court to rule against Ivey’s request for a stay on payment without bond. In other words, the money would not go to Borgata just yet. It would be held in trust by the court and an appeal would only be granted after the bond is posted.

Borgata’s argument pretty effectively picks apart the reasons a stay of bond are typically granted. If the casino’s request is granted, it is up to Ivey to front the money or give up appealing the ongoing case.

New Jersey Online Gambling Market Grows Despite Overall Casino Losses

December 27, 2016
NJ gambling online revenue steady

Despite New Jersey’s casino win coming in last month at $180.1 million, a 5.8 percent decrease compared to last year’s November win, NJ online gambling revenue has continued to grow at a rapid rate.

In fact, the state’s regulated online gambling market fell just short of its all-time high.

Revenue gains for NJ online gambling sites      

According to the November press release by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, not only has online gambling in the state continued to grow, it is growing by leaps and bounds.

In the month of November, the state pulled in $17.2 million for its online casino win, up 29.9 percent from last November’s $13.2 million.

Breaking the numbers down further, online casino revenue shot up 34 percent year-on-year to $15.1 million, while online poker revenue gained a respectable 6.4 percent to $2.1 million. The year-to-date overall online revenue is now $178.3 million, up an encouraging 32.3 percent from last year.

How this affects overall NJ gambling numbers

NJ gambling online revenue steadyAs the revenue figures continue to climb, they have begun to offset the losses Atlantic City casinos are posting on the land-based side.

With the online market taken into account, the total November win for the state came in at $197.3 million. This number represents a year-over-year loss of 3.5 percent. Without online casino revenues, however, the state would have lost 5.8 percent.

Although the offset may appear insignificant to some, as New Jersey’s online gambling market continues to grow, we can expect revenue from the online sector to take on a larger and larger role in Atlantic City casinos’ overall success.

Best individual performers

The Borgata has been at the top of the state’s revenue ranks since it opened, with the exception of the Golden Nugget usurping the title this September and October.

The leader in revenue this November was again the Borgata, retaking the top spot from the Golden Nugget. That said, it was only by a minuscule margin.

The Borgata-linked sites brought in a total of $3.809 million ($3.2 million in casino win and $632 thousand from poker) and the Golden Nugget brought in just $7,000 less with its casino-only site.

Other online casinos also continue to do quite well. Caesars was not far behind the Borgata and the Golden Nugget, with $3.36 million in revenue for the month. Resorts was just belowRes Caesars, bringing in $3.2 million, almost a million of which was from its online poker brand, PokerStars.

In the last place were the Tropicana casino-only sites, which brought in just under a $3 million win.

The future of online gambling in New Jersey

New Jersey racetracks are looking to capitalize on the growing online market by opening “Internet Cafes” at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford and Monmouth Park in Oceanport.

If Assembly Bill 4255, introduced in October by Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (R-District 12), goes through, we can expect online gaming numbers to skyrocket.

The bill would allow for “horse racetracks to be available for placing wagers at casinos in Atlantic City using the internet.” New Jersey racetracks could “enter into an agreement with a casino located in Atlantic City or such a casino’s Internet gaming affiliate.”

Critics of the state’s plan to expand online gaming to the racetracks have pointed out that just last month voters rejected North Jersey casino expansion by a huge margin. They argue that by offering online gaming at the tracks, New Jersey politicians would be circumventing the democratic process.

Proponents of the bill, on the other hand, argue that their new plan would not require amending the state constitution, as there is nothing inherently illegal about racetracks partnering with existing Atlantic City properties.

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