Si Redd Inventor of Video Poker Machines

Redd was the son of a preacher and sharecropper, born in Mississippi in 1911. As a young boy, he was fascinated with pinball machines. He bought a pinball machine at the age of 18 and installed it in local hamburger shop. He made a profit in his first week. He attended the University of Mississippi as a pre-law student and even at that stage, he had a thriving coin-operated machine business.

In the late 1930s Redd moved on to buying outdated jukebox machines. In 1967, he began marketing the "Big Bertha" reel slot machines in Reno, for Bally's, a company that placed slot machines in casinos. He formed Bally Distributing Co., in order to sell Bally's products. Redd attributes his success to the fact that he developed and marketed products that allowed for more jackpots than past machines had allowed for. In other words, they were more loose slot machines.

Redd created the concept of the "99 percent payout," this concept made people feel like they could win and would play as a result.

Redd left Bally's in order to found his own company, which he called Sircoma and later renamed International Game Technology (IGT). With other engineers at IGT, Redd created the Megabucks statewide network of gaming machines. They pay multimillion dollar jackpots and video games for keno, blackjack and poker. IGT manufactures 75 percent of all the slot machines in the United States. Redd claimed that he had no idea that his invention would become so popular. He later proposed that some of the profits generated by the game, be used to help those who had become addicted to video poker.

He retired from IGT in the 1990s and became involved in many other business ventures, among them, owning a luxury off-shore gaming boat named "The Pride of Mississppi."

In 2001, Redd sold his interest in Oasis, which he had transformed into a resort complete with spa and large hotel. Redd was inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame in 1996.

Redd died in October 2003 at the age of 91. He had been living in California. He was known as a generous philanthropist. .

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