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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Making Cashless Slot Technology Work for You

27 August 2003

Last week's column was devoted to the cashless slot machine technology to which casinos in gaming jurisdictions around the country are converting. In addition to being a cost-cutting strategy for the casinos, players can also use the revolutionary system to increase their chances of leaving a winner. This week I'll tell you how.

From the standpoint of the casinos, the coin system is costly and inefficient. Machine hoppers are continually being filled. Coins have to be counted and bagged. In gaming jurisdictions such as Illinois and Indiana where tokens are used instead of U.S. currency, there is also the expense of minting and keeping inventory of every denomination.

When casino slot inventories were dominated by dollar, half-dollar, and quarter machines, the coin system wasn't a major inconvenience for guests. Collecting a bucketful of any of those coins results in a fairly substantial amount of money after the cashier runs them through the automatic counter.

It is the popularity and proliferation of multi-line, multi-coin nickel and dime slot games that quickly made traditional coin-in/coin-out play obsolete. Playing with nickel and dime tokens is a pain. Collecting them is even worse.

As it currently stands, here's a scenario of what Chicago-area slot players are faced with: You buy into a nickel game with a twenty-dollar bill. Four hundred credits go up on the meter. Say you get lucky with some fat line pays or a good bonus round and after a few minutes of play you're up to 800 credits, which means you've doubled your money to forty bucks.

With coin-in/coin-out machines, you have two options at this point. Continue playing or cash out. If you continue playing, you risk losing it all back. If you cash out, you have to wait for eight hundred nickels to drop into the tray (and keep your fingers crossed the machine doesn't go empty, require a hopper fill, and endure another wait). Then you have to transfer them to a bucket, leave your machine to walk to the cashier to have them counted, maybe stand in line, and then and only then will you have your forty dollars.

Playing a machine with IGT's EZ Pay ticket-in, ticket-out system, you'd be able to hit the "cash out" button at any time to collect a bar-coded ticket good for forty dollars, valid at any other machine or redeemable for cash at the cashier at your convenience. Some casinos even have self-serve EZ Pay machines.

EZ Pay makes it easy for thrifty gamblers to collect tickets after smaller hits. If you wind up with a lot of tickets, what you eventually cash out for can add up to a big hit and a profitable casino outing.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp