Soboba Casino has been in its current facility in San Jacinto, California, for 20 years, and the casino’s managers took the momentous occasion as an opportunity to take its gaming options to new heights. On Sunday, the world’s first space-bound slot machine took flight, climbing to a peak altitude of more than 18 miles above the earth’s surface before parachuting back to the ground. A crew of about 25 people – including filmmakers and engineers from JP Aerospace, an independent space program – launched the historical slot machine, nicknamed Icarus, just before 10:00 a.m. near Lovelock, Nevada.
“Nobody else has ever done it,” Scott Sirois, general manager of Soboba Casino, stated in a related press conference. “[It was] very exhilarating.”
Michael Broderick, director of marketing for Soboba Casino, is credited with the idea to launch the slot machine into orbit. He recounted seeing video clips of other items being sent into space when looking for ways to note the casino’s anniversary, and the rest is history.
“It was really about celebrating a monumental occasion with a monumental event,” stated Broderick.
If you’re thinking that a slot machine would be a bit too heavy to launch into space, you’d be correct. However, Icarus is no ordinary slot. Standing at less than 12 inches tall and weighing just 2.5 pounds, the historic machine is a miniaturized version of a three-reel, one-armed bandit, matching one of the casino’s actual slot designs. Despite its size, Icarus is a fully operational machine, complete with reels, gears, springs and a coin-operated mechanic. Unlike modern slots, however, it doesn’t have any electronic or computer elements.
On Monday, the launch team plans to retrieve the unique slot machine before displaying it at Soboba Casino. Also, to reward customers and VIPs, management placed commemorative cards aboard the skyward craft to be given away in future contests. As if going to space wasn’t impressive enough, Icarus doubles as a unique time capsule. The machine contains hand written messages that will remain inside until the 40th anniversary of the casino in 2035.
On June 27, Soboba Casino will celebrate its intergalactic slot machine at a special “Out of this World” party. In addition to a chance to win a commemorative card, visitors will also be treated to the debut of the trailer for “Soboba’s Mission to Space”, a film about the project being produced by Inman Productions.
While Icarus never climbed to outer space, this launch is a solid first step towards the future industry of space gambling. Hop on a rocket, and head for the moon. The Lunar Luxor is prepared for its grand opening, and everybody’s invited! If that’s not your style, the Martian Mirage is just a short 35 million mile journey away. While extraterrestrial casinos remain a distant fantasy, the successful launch of the world’s first slot machine in space is sure to inspire plenty of airborne gambling options moving forward. Keep an eye out for the future film, and experience the unbelievable sight of a slot machine disappearing into the clouds for yourself!