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October 18, 2018

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Slot machine maker taking a chance with cashless slots system

The slot machine manufacturer has come up with a cashless slot system that pays off with paper vouchers instead of coins. EZ Pay, already in use in some Nevada, Mississippi and American Indian casinos, could be coming here.

The state Casino Control Commission is considering a request by Bally's Park Place Casino Hotel to install 50 of the machines for an indefinite test period.

"Everybody's going to be using this sooner or later," said Marcus Suan, vice president of slot marketing for Coast Resorts Inc., which installed 1,900 of the machines in its Suncoast Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas last September.

With EZ Pay, a gambler who puts a $20 bill into a slot machine can play until he or she tires of the machine. When it's time to cash out, the machine would produce a bar-coded ticket voucher redeemable at the casino cage for cash or usable as credit in other machines.

The ticket voucher also could be used on a subsequent trip to the casino.

Casinos like the system because it reduces the amount of coin handling necessary to operate slot machines. By avoiding repeat refills of slot machine hoppers, a casino can save on labor costs and limit the amount of time a certain machine is out of action.

Typically, it takes up to 30 minutes for the casino to pay off when a person wins a jackpot of 1,000 coins or more. When that happens, casino employees must verify the win, fill out paperwork, fetch money to pay the winner and get a security guard to escort them.

"With nickels, any jackpot over $50 has to be paid by hand, and nickel machines have the most hand-paid jackpots, so this would solve a lot of the problem," said David Lyons, senior vice president for slot operations at Bally's.

The sound of clinking coins may not go away for good, though: EZ Pay machines have an audio element that imitates the noise of dropping coins.

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