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Exercise bike/slot machine allows you to pedal while you gamble: May 29, 2001

A new machine called the Pedal 'n Play combines a stationary exercise bicycle with a 25-cent slot machine, and you can give it a spin at at least one New Jersey casino.

"You're always a winner. There's no way you can lose when you're on this machine," says inventor Kathy Harris of Fairfax, Va.

She came up with the idea a few years ago while working out in a gym at an Atlantic City casino.

"I was bored, and I was thinking how terrible it was not to have the ambience of all the bells and whistles of the casino and the casino atmosphere. I thought how nice it would be to be entertained with a slot machine there," Harris says.

She told her husband about her idea, and he encouraged her to pursue it. She found an engineer to help her design the Pedal 'n Play, and the first 10 were installed several months ago at the Tropicana Casino Resort in Atlantic City.

The Pedal 'n Play combines a Life Cycle 9100 (a stationary bicycle) with a slot machine. Handlebar buttons control the bet amount and spin the slot machine. There's also a cup holder to store quarters.

And in case you think this may be a way to get a free workout, you can only spin the pedals if you're using the attached slot machine.

The Pedal 'n Play isn't for everybody, Harris says. Elderly casino patrons may not be interested, but it will appeal to fitness-minded people who enjoy gambling.

"It's probably been one of the most popular things we've done," in terms of attracting interest, says George Mancuso, vice president of slot operations at the Tropicana Casino Resort.

The 10 Pedal 'n Plays are installed in an area that has upbeat, exercise-type music. There's a sign that says, "Put your heart into gaming."

"People say it's fun and they feel good that they did a little something for themselves," Mancuso says.

Harris has another creation called the "Money Mill," which combines an exercise treadmill with a slot machine.

Typical approach: downplay a bad habit (gambling) by lacing it with a positive one (exercise). MALAKAS!
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