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Investing in ETFs

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a comment in response to a question about ETFs. This question comes up very often; usually two or three times a week. Maybe more than that. Several people suggested that it be "pinned." I obviously cannot do that, however if a mod wants to pin this, feel free to do so. I did make a few modifications and additions to that comment and for those who haven't gone back to see the changes, I thought I'd post it again here. Hopefully, this helps people who are interested in an investing approach that is either made up of ETFs or that includes ETFs as a part of their portfolio.
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QQQ - This one uses the NASDAQ 100 as its benchmark. Obviously it's an Indexed, non-managed ETF. XTF used to rate this one as a perfect 10.0 out of 10 rating, but recently dropped it to 9.9 out of 10. It has one of the highest rates of return over the past 10 years of any ETF. It does tend to be tech-heavy, especially with the FAANG +M stocks. (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google and Microsoft). Other top holdings include TSLA, NVDA and ADBE. (The rating dropped recently when the portfolio of the NASDAQ 100 was re-balanced).
VOO/SPY - VOO and SPY are non-managed funds indexed to the S&P 500 Index. These funds are very popular on this subreddit, for good reason. They are well diversified, broad market funds investing in mostly US stocks. XTF rates these funds at 9.6 out of 10 because their return on investment over the long term is somewhat tempered by some of the blue chip stocks in the funds. But those stocks also help reduce volatility relative to some other ETFs. These are solid investments, but keep in mind that in the top 10 holdings there will be a lot of crossover between these funds and other broad market funds that hold US stocks like QQQ, VTI, VGT, VOOG and SPYG. There are differences, of course, as well, but you always want to know where those duplications exist.
IWF - This is a Russell 1000 Growth fund. It is one of my favorites that doesn't get talked about much. It does have a lot of crossover with the other funds mentioned above, but the mix is slightly different. Other funds that use the Russell 1000 Growth Index include RWGV and VONG. I would describe this fund as more aggressive than VOO/SPY, less volatile than QQQ. VONE and IWB use the Russell 1000 Index as their benchmark. SPYG and VOOG use the S&P 500 Growth Index for their benchmark and would be similar (but not identical) to IWF, VONG and RWGV.
IWM - for someone looking to diversify a little bit, this is a great fund to look into. This fund is a non-managed, indexed fund that uses the Russell 2000 index as its benchmark. The big difference between the Russell 2000 index and many of the the other indexes is that the Russell 2000 index looks at small and mid-cap companies, rather than large-cap companies. Thus, there is zero crossover between this one and the funds mentioned above. While this fund will move up and down with the market, it is often less volatile than the market overall. If you look at the charts, this fund has under-performed some of the other funds over the past few months while the market has been very volatile in an upward direction, but in a crash, this fund would probably outperform the rest of the market. It has a 9.0/10 XTF rating.
VXUS - Vanguard Total International Index Fund ETF - top holdings include BABA, Tencent, Samsung, Taiwan Semiconductors, Novartis, Toyota. This is a broad market fund investing only in companies overseas. I'm not generally bullish on foreign markets, but this one is a very solid ETF with some companies that are likely to do extremely well for the foreseeable future. XTF rates this one a perfect 10.0 out of 10.
EEM - iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF - This one is going to have a lot of crossover with VXUS. It is an Emerging Markets ETF with a lot of focus on China. It includes Alibaba, Tencent, JD.com, along with companies like Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductors. This one should be a solid performer as long as our trade relations with China remain normal.
EFA - This is another international ETF, but here the focus is mainly on more established companies in Europe and Japan. This is a Large Cap ETF that includes companies like Nestle SA, Roche, Toyota, Novartis and AstraZeneca.
Sector fund ETFs:
ICLN/TAN/FAN - These funds are clean/renewable energy ETFs. ICLN is more broad while TAN focuses more specifically on solar energy and FAN specifically on wind generated energy. I think renewable energy companies are the future. There is no crossover in the top holdings of this fund with the top holdings of QQQ and most of the other broad market funds. Also, these are global, not just US based companies. QCLN and PBW are also renewable energy funds, but they also contain a lot of TSLA, NIO and W.K. H.S. in their top holdings making them "electric vehicle" funds, as well. No problem if you want to add that, but you'll find a lot of Tesla in some of the funds mentioned above.
ARK group of funds: ARKG, ARKF, ARKK ARKW, ARKQ, PRNT and IZRL. These are managed funds investing in companies that invest in disruptive companies in their respective industries. Most posters on this subreddit are bullish on these funds. They are aggressive growth ETFs, but should be considered somewhat risky and volatile.
XL series of funds. Similar to the ARK series, these tend to be more aggressive growth funds, however these are passively managed indexed funds with various benchmarks that usually are overloaded in the better companies within a sector:
CLOUD COMPUTING: WCLD, SKYY, CLOU, BUG and XIKT. Of these WCLD has the best 52 week performance. Top holdings in WCLD include ZM, PLAN, CRM, CRWD, ZEN, WDAY, TENB, PCTY, DDOG, BL. Many of these are likely to also appear in QQQ, however, they would be in very small percentages as the Cap on these companies is much smaller.
Aerospace and Defense: XAR, ITA, PPA
Real Estate: VNQ, FREL, SCHH, IYR, PSR, BBRE
Transportation: FTXR, XTN, IYT, RGI, JETS
Oil/Energy: IYE, FENY, VDE
Consumer Staples: FSTA, VDC, IECS
Media/Entertainment: IEME, PBS, PEJ, IYC
Robotics, AI, Innovative Technologies: THNQ, ROBO, XITK, SKYY, GDAT
Semiconductors: SOXX, QTEC, QTUM, SMH, FTXL
IT: FTEC, VGT, IWY, IGM, FDN
Cyber Security: HACK, CIBR, IHAK, BUG, FITE
Consumer Discretionary: FDIS, VCR, IEDI, JHMC, IYC
5G, Connectivity: FIVG, NXTG, WUGI
Self Driving EV: IDRV, DRIV, MOTO
Gaming/Esports: NERD, HERO, ESPO, GAMR, SOCL
Casinos/Gambling: BETZ, BJK
Online Retail: IBUY, EBIZ, ONLN, CLIX, GBUY, BUYZ
Utilities: IDU, VPU, FUTY, RYU
Health Care: FHLC, VHT, IYH
Medical Devices and Equipment: IHI, IEHS, XHE

Other Unique ETFs, non-sector based:
CHGX: US Large Cap Fossil Fuel Free ETF
VIRS: Biothreat Strategy ETF


A nice portfolio might look something like this:
20% - Broad market US fund such as QQQ, VOO or IWF
20% - VXUS - International
20% - IWM - Small/Mid-cap broad market fund
10% each in four sector funds of your choice
I'm not a financial expert or advisor and this is not financial advice, just an opinion from a random internet person. I do own shares in several, but not all of the funds listed above, including QQQ, IWF, some ARK funds, ICLN, VXUS, etc.
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Edit: In one of my previous edits, I accidentally erased a bunch of the sector funds. Please feel free to comment with your favorite sector funds and let me know if I forgot to add back some that I had before.
submitted by ixamnis to stocks [link] [comments]

Three Illegal/Underground Tavern Ideas for Your 5E Campaign.

The idea behind these taverns is that they are illegal and exist in the underground of large cities. They can be ran by thieves’ guilds, shady businessmen, corrupt officials, etc.
Patrons might be criminals, risk-takers, gamblers, thrill-seekers, adventurers, spies, bounty hunters, and so on.
Maybe your PCs have learned that their target/targets will be at one of these locales at a certain time, or maybe they have business of their own. Anyways, I hope you enjoy these three unique, illegal tavern ideas.
The Sunken Labyrinth: For an illegal, underground establishment, it is a classy place. The entrance is guarded by a pair of jet black Minotaurs (MM pg. 223) named Dolothrius and Vangrios. Entry is granted by a well-known patron’s valid invitation, or by the password of the day. The door is banded, riveted metal, and heavy. It has 18 AC and 40 HP if the PCs try to break it down. The Sunken Labyrinth is a tavern where secret meetings, negotiations, and deals can take place. Valuable information can be passed here due to a ward against scrying eyes permeating the tavern. Those who wish to enter with force will find it difficult as they will have to pass through a maze that is dark and littered with traps. Maybe your PCs have learned that their target/targets will be here at a certain time, or maybe they have business of their own here.
If the PCs have the password, or a valid invitation, they can present it to the Minotaur guards. One of the Minotaurs will walk behind a wall, obscured to the PCs, to operate a series of small levers in a specific pattern. Then, he will operate a larger main actuating lever. Once complete, a safe, straight path to the tavern proper is created.
Once the Minotaur guard finishes operating the levers (or if the PCs successfully operate the levers), the sound of sliding stone can be heard behind the door, and then the door swings open. A pathway straight into the tavern is available. The pathway goes straight through a series of walls that resemble a small labyrinth. Straying off that path could lead to danger.
If the PCs get through the metal door without operating the levers correctly, they will have to navigate the maze to reach the Sunken Labyrinth tavern. View the image of the maze and read the following numerical descriptions to see what happens at those locations. Feel free to adjust these how you see fit. Use the link to the image below to follow the descriptions.
https://imgur.com/S2sQALi
1.) A ten foot long hallway leads to the banded metal door. A DC 12 Wisdom perception check will reveal that a portcullis is embedded in the ceiling at the entrance of the hallway, and several small holes line the ceiling all the way to the door. As long as the PCs have the proper password, or a valid invitation, they can pass safely to the tavern. If the PCs attempt to operate the levers, it will require three successful skill checks. The first is a DC 17 Intelligence investigation check to study the levers and determine which levers to operate and in which order. The second skill check is a DC 17 Dexterity check to align the levers in the correct positions. The final check is a DC 15 strength check to operate the large main actuating lever.
If the PCs fail any of the skill checks, a portcullis drops down from the ceiling and traps anyone standing between the metal door and the portcullis. The portcullis can be lifted with a DC 18 Strength athletics check. Once the portcullis is dropped, poison gas (Essence of Ether pg. 258 DMG) discharges from the holes in the ceiling and fills the hallway. A DC 15 Constitution saving throw is required for any creature in the hallway. On a failure, the creature is poisoned for 8 hours and is unconscious.
2.) This area is a trapdoor pit. It requires a DC 14 Wisdom perception check, or Intelligence investigation check to notice. If activated, a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw is needed, or the creature falls 20 feet and takes 2d6 bludgeoning damage.
3.) A DC 13 Wisdom perception check or Intelligence investigation check is needed to recognize a pressure plate in the floor in this location and small holes in the eastern wall. If activated, darts shoot from the holes requiring a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw, taking 2d4 piercing damage and 1d6 poison damage on a failed save and half as much on a success.
4.) A DC 13 Wisdom perception check or Intelligence investigation check is needed to notice holes in the ceiling at this location and a pressure plate in the floor. Metallic points can be seen recessed in the holes if the light hits just right. If it goes unnoticed, a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw is needed to avoid the spikes that drop down. On a fail, a creature takes 2d6 piercing damage.
5.) At this location, a DC 13 Wisdom perception check or Intelligence investigation check will reveal a pressure plate and a narrow five foot slit/track in the floor and ceiling that runs east and west. If it goes unnoticed, when a creature activates the plate, the wall marked with arrows will slide to the west and connect to the other wall there. A creature must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw to avoid being shoved into a sealed room. On a fail, the creature is trapped inside. Acid pours from holes in the ceiling. A creature trapped inside will take 2d6 acid damage as there is no means to avoid it. The floor and walls are scarred from previous acid damage. A DC 15 Strength check is needed to push the wall back open. If a creature makes the save to avoid this trap, they may hear acid sizzling on the other side of the wall.
6.) At this location, a DC 15 Intelligence investigation check is needed to notice a Glyph of Warding (pg. 245 PHB) discretely inscribed on the stone floor. If triggered, a DC 15 Constitution saving throw is needed as the glyph releases a Shatter spell (pg. 275 PHB). On a fail, the creature takes 3d8 thunder damage, or half as much on a success. The Glyph of Warding spell ends once it is triggered.
7.) The walls and floors of these two marked locations are covered in mimic hide. The hide resembles the same stone used to make the walls, floors, and ceilings of the maze. It is indistinguishable. A creature that enters this area must make a DC 13 Strength saving throw or become restrained. Once restrained, a creature can continue making this saving throw at the end of each of their turns but it will be at disadvantage.
8.) Here, a DC 15 Intelligence investigation check is needed to identify a Glyph of Warding is discretely inscribed on the stone floor. If the glyph is triggered, a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw is needed to avoid the brunt of the damage of a Fireball spell (pg. 241 PHB) that is released. On a fail, a creature takes 8d6 fire damage, or half as much on a success.
9.) A DC 15 Intelligence investigation check is needed to locate a Glyph of Warding spell discretely inscribed on the stone floor. If the glyph is triggered, an Animate Dead spell is released at 5th level. At each location with a star, a corpse becomes a zombie (pg. 316 MM) and attacks the nearest living creature. On a successful Investigation check, the creature can skip over the glyph, and will discover the three rotten corpses. Nothing of value is on them.
10.) This location is concealed by an illusory wall that perfectly resembles its surroundings and appears as a dead end. A DC 15 Intelligence investigation check will reveal the illusion. Interacting with the illusory wall will also reveal it for what it is.
If the PCs reach the tavern, it is dimly lit and quiet. Tables are partitioned for privacy. Four Minotaurs work as tavern guards/bouncers here. The proprietor is a Minotaur Labyrinth Keeper (pg. 267 Creature Codex) named Lubanias the Pathfinder, who often visits his guests to make sure their needs are satisfied.
To exit, a main actuating lever within the tavern can be operated to allow safe passage once more.
Two human females (commoners) work as tavern maids. An older dwarven male (commoner) tends the bar professionally, and a half-orc male (commoner) prepares delicious meals.
This tavern can handle around 25 customers. Much more than that and privacy becomes an issue.

The Captive Crowd: The Captive Crowd is a highly-entertaining, albeit illegal, tavern to frequent. To enter this secretive locale, you must pay a fee of 15 GP per person to the Goliath veteran (pg. 350 MM + Stone’s Endurance), Haruul, at the door. Once the fee is paid, you are gifted thick plugs of cotton and are instructed to place them in your ears.
When the door is opened, a new patron can faintly make out singing. The tavern room is large and square. Tables line the outer edges of the tavern. The middle is open and a cage hangs from the ceiling 10 feet high off the ground. Inside, a trio of Harpies are prodded to sing. When one harpy has tired, the next one is forced to continue the song. A female half-elf swashbuckler (pg. 217 VGtE) named Jiolli prods them ruthlessly from a raised platform nearby. The harpies are not happy, and would love to shred the flesh of the bones of the people below, sometimes attempting to use their long, bird-like talons to snatch, but to no avail. Below the cage are those patrons who have removed their cotton earplugs to let the enrapturing, seductive, harpy song sweep them away, wandering like mindless zombies beneath the cage. They are lost to the world, and it would be easy to rob them blind if it weren’t for the ten vigilant enforcers (bandit captains pg. 344 MM) who keep a close eye on the charmed and uncharmed patrons.
Those who partake in the Harpy’s song do so for the pleasure they feel, and the total relaxation their bodies receive. Strangely, a side effect of being charmed by these monstrosities for a minimum of 30 minutes is like receiving 8 hours of rest.
When not ready to succumb to the song, or “take the walk” as it referred to here, the patrons maintain hearing protection. They use hand signals and written word to convey their orders from the menu, or to communicate their intentions.
One of the other things that make this tavern illegal is the menu. Imported, exotic animals can be consumed here. One might see a large constrictor snake curled up on a table - baked, sectionalized, and propped up in a pose with a non-native fruit in its mouth. A special glaze dribbled all over the fleshy serpent tenderloins, and colorful vegetables and fruits decorate the tray around it.
On another table might be a giant spider hanging from a fake web strand, flame broiled and crispy. Herbs and spices from some other land make this monster quite tasty. Don’t think you can eat spider? Let the harpy song change your mind. A few minutes in the song’s embrace can do wonders. A friend or companion will have to plug your ears when it’s time to eat to bring you back to reality, and the table.
As enrapturing as the Harpy song is, it can be much more so when certain drugs are inhaled before you “take the walk”, and of course, those drugs can be purchased here. For 15 GP more, your table can include a hookah bar. An illegally imported, mind-altering plant called Hexweed is the go-to drug to smoke here.
The owner of the Captive Crowd is the half-elf brother of Jiolli, named Simmon (master thief pg. 216 VGtE.) Jiolli and Simmon may also be members of your campaign’s thieves’ guild. Perhaps they have information your PCs need.
The rest of the employees are commoners: 5 busy tavern maids, two cooks. This tavern can hold 80 or so customers. 120 if packed.
Once you are finished here, keep your earplugs in case you want to return (and you will), or throw them away. Nobody wants to reuse those.

The Basilisk Den: Do your PCs like to gamble? The patrons of the Basilisk Den sure do. On the left side of the entrance to this illegal casino tavern, a statue of a frightened Halfling male holds a sign that says, “Well, that could have gone better.” A DC 12 Wisdom perception check will reveal that there are no chisel marks on this statue. Either it is from some kind of poured mold, or it was a real person. (It was a real person.)
A perceptive werewolf in human form (pg. 211 MM) named Victor stands on the other side of the entrance, taking weapons for storage. He’s good at sniffing out weapons that sneaky patrons might try to hide. Once approved, Victor can give the “knock” that signals entry is granted.
Upon entry, it is immediately noted that statues are a common theme throughout the tavern, even up on the 2nd and 3rd floors. They are all in strange, awkward poses. Some with expressions of fear, some surprise, and some with defiance. Some are falling backwards, others on the ground appearing to crawl away from something, some standing in a fighting stance, and strangely, one of them is simply smiling.
All sorts of gambling, and games of chance take place here. Cards, dominoes, bone dice, ten-finger pinfinger (game where you stab a knife between your ten fingers five times as fast as possible, switching the blade from hand to hand), you name it, it’s here. Musicians play upbeat music to liven the atmosphere. But, when the song changes to a slow, yet intense tune, the crowd knows that someone is about to Face the Basilisk. It’s a game of chance that is exactly what the name describes. People from all walks of life come to take this challenge. It is a high risk, high reward game. Pay 50 GP, receive 5 times that if you succeed. But if you fail, you, a friend, or family member better have at least 500 GP for a cleric to restore you back to your fleshy self. If not, you will become a permanent fixture at this fine establishment.
When someone is ready to Face the Basilisk, the music begins playing, alerting the patrons of what is about to happen. As the challenger approaches the Basilisk enclosure, the music intensifies, and the crowd gathers, positioned in such a way to not be in the Basilisk’s view. The basilisk handler slides open a hatch, revealing the monster behind bars, but plenty visible nonetheless. The challenger must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or become petrified (they don’t get a second chance in this instance). The music comes to a crescendo then either becomes celebratory, or melancholy depending on the outcome. Should a contestant have second thoughts and avert their eyes, they forfeit their money.
There are those on their last leg who scrounge up all that they own to get the coin and gamble it all on this game of chance. There are those who are rich, and can afford to lose, and also afford to be restored afterwards. There are adventurers who have faced these beasts in the wild, and aren’t afraid to do it in this setting. There are statues everywhere.
The owner of the Basilisk Den is a cambion (pg. 36 MM) named Heridan, disguised as a handsome human named Brint Valotriss. He walks the floors, checking on his guests, sometimes offering a free round of drinks to certain tables, or dropping a silver or two on a table to help “up” a patron’s bet. He basks in the chaos and misery his casino tavern brings, but also gets a kick out of those who strike it big.
There are eight bar maids (commoners) who serve the customers their food and drink, four cooks (commoners), two bartenders (commoners), and twenty floormen (thugs pg. 350) who patrol the tavern watching for cheaters. The floormen are supervised by a large half-orc (veteran pg. 350 MM + Relentless Endurance) known as The Green Ox. Some call him “Grox” for short. He’s starting to come around to that name.
The Basilisk Den can hold up to 250 customers. 300 if packed.
submitted by Freethinker42 to dndnext [link] [comments]

Why no Oklahoma style Red Screens in Vegas?

Oklahoma casino machines had "red screen" bonuses and are a lot of fun to play (and seem to hand pay far more than Vegas.) Why do these machines not exist here? I find slots here in Vegas boring compared to Oklahoma.
I know that they OK machines pay off a bingo card, but that can't be the reason. Just as easy to make them pay as a regular slot machine off a random number generator as class 1 machines.
The red screens are highly addictive, and I bet collect more than any Vegas slot machine.
(If you don't know what I am talking about, go to YouTube and search for "Oklahoma Red Screens" Games like Polar Roller, Lucky Duck, Red Ruby, Etc. Made by VGT)
submitted by not_keeping_account to vegas [link] [comments]

VGT doesn’t currently make its games available in online versions, but that might change now that they’ve been acquired by Aristocrat Leisure. Since they don’t offer online games, you can’t really play VGT slots for free, either. We’ve never found a traditional land-based casino which offered free slots games. VGT is a major player in the North American Class II casino games market. VGT is responsible for the development, manufacture, marketing, and distribution of casino games for Native American casinos restricted to Class II games. Founded in 1991, VGT now operates more than 20,000 machines in 140 different casinos and game rooms. Most of their contracts are with Oklahoma tribal gaming facilities ... Video Gaming Technologies, Inc. (VGT) is a leading developer, manufacturer and distributor of Class II (Native American bingo-based gaming) casino games. Whether your expertise is accounting, software development, game design or hardware engineering, we invite you to explore career opportunities at VGT. Bring us your passion, hard work and innovative thinking, and we'll offer you an engaging ... VGT and the PBR have teamed up to bring the edge of your seat action of professional bull riding to your casino floor! As the first major licensed brand offered in the VGT portfolio, the PBR Wide Area Progressive family of games are sure to be a player favorite. NOW THERE'S, MORE TO LOVE, WITH HIGHER-THAN-HIGH PROGRESSIVE JACKPOTS! DON'T MISS ... VGT specializes in designing and manufacturing Class II slot machines, which are often the only kind of gambling machines available in states with Native American casinos. Class II casino games are based on bingo rather than other kinds of computer algorithms. (I’ll cover that more in a future post.) Games; Customer Support; Players; Contact ; Players. Casino List. Below is a list of casinos where you can find your favorite VGT game! 7 Clans Paradise Casino Otoe-Missouria . Ada Gaming Center - Chickasaw. Ada Travel Stop - Chickasaw. Apache Casino & Hotel . Artesian Casino- Chickasaw. Best Western KwaTakNuq Resort. Black Gold Casino - Chickasaw. Bordertown Outpost Casino - Eastern Shawnee ...

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