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Slot Technology Progresses Full Speed Ahead22 September 2004
No sooner are slot players becoming familiar with using the ticket-in/ticket-out system while playing slots (a "coinless" technology that has been available for two years in Las Vegas but is only just now in the process of being fully implemented at Chicago-area casinos) then along comes a new development that'll make paper vouchers obsolete.
The MotorCity Casino in Detroit, Michigan, is the first casino in the country to implement a true cashless (no coin or paper currency) system known generically as Wager Account Transfer (W.A.T.). MotorCity is branding the system on its property with the name "Club Metro Coinless".
W.A.T. technology allows slot players to transfer funds electronically among various slot and video machines within the casino. It also permits guests to upload cash/credits into their player's club account and subsequently play them at a machine or redeem them at the cashier.
MotorCity launched the innovative program in mid-July on a select group of machines in the high limit area of the casino. Following the initial test run and with the regulatory approval of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, the system will expand to slot machines in other areas on the casino floor later this year.
Acres Gaming, a wholly owned subsidiary of International Game Technology (IGT) developed its own version of W.A.T. technology and trademarked it "Coinless Transit". It debuted the system at the Crown Casino in Australia, where it has been operated successfully for several years. Acres Gaming and MotorCity Casino worked together to customize the product for the United States market.
Here is how it works:
Guests use their existing player's club card to access the system. After you insert your card into the machine you wait until the green "accept" light goes on. Then press the "menu" button to select an option, including "Transfer Cash to Game", "Transfer Cash to Card", or "Check Account Balance".
At this point the player will be asked to enter a personal identification number. This PIN is programmed by the player at the machine and is known only by the player. It is an encrypted code that the casino cannot record.
After an option is selected and the PIN keyed in, the guest merely hits "enter" and the transfer function is completed. As the technology evolves, guests will even be able to select a specific number of credits to transfer either to the game you are playing or to your player's club card.
"The system has undergone rigorous testing in a laboratory environment," said Rhonda Cohen, vice president and general manager of the MotorCity Casino. "This technology will go a long way to enhance the overall guest experience at MotorCity Casino and we look forward to rolling it out floor wide in the near future."
Under the system as it is being used now, jackpots are still hand-pays. All other credits are simply transferred to the card, which the player loads in another machine or cashes out at the cashier. Guests may establish accounts to transfer cash to their accounts, but the MotorCity system has no tie-ins with bank cards or financial institutions.
MotorCity is owned and operated by a limited liability company that involves Las Vegas based Mandalay Resort Group, the company which runs the Grand Victoria Casino Elgin in the Chicago area.
There's no doubt Wager Account Transfer technology is the future for playing slots. Just how far and how fast Acres Gaming's version (Coinless Transit) spreads is a matter for individual casinos around the country and the states that regulate them.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp