July 6, 2022 - 8:11 pm
Updated July 7, 2022 - 2:00 pm
In true YouTuber fashion, Brian Christopher’s slot machine was played for the first time with one hand on the button and another holding a phone, livestreaming it all to thousands of viewers.
The social media influencer unveiled Pop’N Pays More, a slot machine featuring his likeness and created by Las Vegas-based manufacturer Gaming Arts, at the Plaza on Wednesday night.
Stars like Madonna and characters like Homer Simpson have been the subject of slot machine licensing deals for years. But a licensing deal with an internet celebrity, and one already familiar with slots and gaming, is something new.
“As a slot manufacturer, we keep our ear to the ground and see what’s going on out there,” CEO Mike Dreitzer said. “We were very impressed by the remarkable popularity of Brian and his legion of fans, and he’s a triumph.”
The YouTube personality already reaches about 1.1 million followers over multiple social media platforms — and has made an impression on Las Vegas. Three of the new machines sit in the Brian Christopher Slots section of the Plaza as he and the casino have partnered on projects for years.
The area, the first smoke-free area in downtown Las Vegas, will be renovated to be “social media friendly” later this year by welcoming cameras, giving more control over music volume and adding interactive elements designed to make people want to take photos.
“I think it’s important to adapt with the time and social media, YouTubers are very important features in today’s society,” Plaza CEO Jonathan Jossel said. “Nobody isn’t taking pictures of everything that they see, so why deny that? Obviously, you have to follow game protection, you have to respect people’s privacy. But as long as you’re doing it within your own space, we want to encourage it and embrace it. That’s what we do.”
Christopher said he was proud of the game and his fans’ support. He said Wednesday’s livestream was his channel’s biggest audience of the year, with 19,000 live viewers. It gained hundreds of thousands more in less than a day.
“My fans absolutely love the constant action of the game with the numerous features and use of my catchphrases,” he said Thursday.
On Wednesday, fans and gawkers gathered around Christopher, his husband and his parents each playing on the machines during the livestream.
California resident Juli Mangun said she and her husband came to town to watch the unveiling. They met him previously through meet-and-greets and group pull events.
“He uses that catchphrase, ‘Rude,’ but he’s not rude,” she said. “It’s like being with this little family. You watch every day or so, you get to know the others and other fans.”
Pop’N Pays More will operate in several casinos, including M Resort and Palms locally and tribal casinos in Arizona, Oklahoma and Minnesota.
“This market is very competitive,” Dreitzer said. “We’re obviously looking for ways to bring interesting value to buyers. They want good content and it’s always getting better and better. We thought that this was a great way, given where social media is.”
This story has been updated to add additional detail.
McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.