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Si Redd's creation was called the "crack cocaine of gambling," but he did not become addicted to his video poker machines. He did however attempt to help those who did become addicted to the game by advising them where they could to turn for help or urging them to leave Las Vegas.

William Silas Redd, otherwise know as Si Redd, or more simply "the king of slot machines" was the founder of International Game Technology of Reno. He was also the former long-time owner of Si Redd's Oasis Hotel in Mesquite.

Redd was the son of a preacher, born in Mississippi in 1911. As a youngster, 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 trade.

In the late 1930s Redd moved on to buying outdated jukebox machines.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 liberal slot machines.

Redd developed the concept of the "99 percent payout," which attracted many players who had avoided the machines in the past.

In 1978, 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 formed International Technical Systems in the 1980s. Through this company, he introduced the video poker machine to Nevada and later, he introduced the bar video poker games.

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, after a lengthy illness. He had been living in California. He was known as a generous philanthropist who contributed to many worthwhile causes.



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