It’s hard to believe, but September 2023 marks the first time the enormously popular Buffalo slot machine will make its way to online casinos. Anaxi, the new online division of Aristocrat Leisure, will launch the online version of its original Buffalo game in New Jersey this week. The company says that launches in other states and countries will come over the next few months.
Imitators like Playtech’s Buffalo Blitz, Entain’s Bison Fury, and High 5’s Thundering Buffalo have proliferated in the absence of an authentic online Buffalo slot. However, the original Buffalo was, until now, only found on the gaming floors of brick-and-mortar casinos. That’s because Aristocrat took its time to get involved with online gambling, having only created Anaxi last year.
In announcing the game’s pending release, Anaxi COO Cath Burns said:
Bringing a title like Buffalo, one of the most iconic slot machine titles to iGaming is so exciting, our customers and their players can’t wait to play it online. We’re on a mission to create gaming’s new frontier and the stampede continuing online is a sign that we’re charging forward with confidence.
Anaxi began releasing games earlier this year, starting with BetMGM, its first US partner. Its early releases are all likewise adaptations of popular retail slots from Aristocrat, including the likes of:
- Sun & Moon
- Miss Kitty
- Wild Wild Samurai
Where Will Buffalo Online Be Available?
The launch of Buffalo at New Jersey online casinos is happening gradually this week. As of 1:30 p.m. on Sep 5, it had just appeared at BetMGM Casino, and should come to other sites soon.
BetMGM’s iGaming Communications Manager Katie Kohler confirmed to Bonus that BetMGM is the first to roll out the game:
I am reaching out today with huge online casino news! Today, BetMGM announced Buffalo, a land-based casino favorite, is now available at its online casino. BetMGM is the world’s first online casino to offer the Buffalo slot.
Since releasing its first games, Anaxi has announced content deals with four of the top New Jersey online casino operators:
- BetMGM Casino
- Caesars Casino
- FanDuel Casino
- Penn National (formerly Barstool Casino, currently in the process of rebranding to Hollywood Casino)
Due to the extreme popularity of Buffalo, Bonus expects that all these online casinos will launch the game as soon as possible. Some of the companies own multiple brands, so those alternate sites may feature Buffalo as well.
The Secret to Buffalo’s Success
Buffalo’s original release was in 2008. Although video slots had been around since the 1970s, it was only around the turn of the century that they were really displacing old-school mechanical reel slots.
Computer graphics and sound effects had made huge bounds through the late 90s and early 2000s, as had LCD screen hardware. Buffalo was among the first slots to fully capitalize on that technology’s potential for an audio-visual “wow” factor. In particular, the game’s cry of “BUFFALLOOOOO!“ stood out from the standard jackpot bells and sirens of the time and drew curious players over.
Now, 15 years later, the original game looks and sounds a little dated. But does that mean it won’t interest online casino players?
Rather than novelty, Anaxi will rely on nostalgia and familiarity to attract players. Buffalo is especially likely to appeal to retail casino players making their jump to online play for the first time.
However, that’s not all the game has going for it. Technology alone didn’t make Buffalo the lasting hit it has been. It also has simplicity and consistency going for it.
Buffalo was among the first “all ways pay” slots. Aristocrat did away with paylines for Buffalo, requiring only that identical symbols appear on adjacent reels, regardless of their position. That made the game less confusing and frustrating than other slots of the time, and the resulting “1024 ways to win” became a central selling point.
It also lowered the volatility, extending playtime and making it a reliable source of small wins for casual players. Ironically, later slots to use the all-ways feature (including official Buffalo sequels and knockoffs alike) leveraged it to increase volatility.