Slot Machine Truth and Your Little Hard Earned Fortune
Slot machines that can’t accept money, or give out any remaining credits back aren’t much good to any casino. They aren’t much good to any patron, either. That is one slot machine truth.
The normal way money goes into a machine if you exclude coins, known also as tokens, is through a Bill Validator, additionally referred to as a Bill Acceptor. They do only that; they accept a patron’s money, which is then transferred to credits once validated.
Once a player has had enough playing on a machine and would wish to cash out any remaining credits. There are three different ways of doing this.
The THREE Ways Credit Cashes Out of a Slot Machine – Slot Machine Truth
The first way is using coins, which have now been almost phased out. The machine ejects the remaining credit amount as tokens into the token tray at the front. The coins would be safe and snug in a hopper. Hoppers vary in their capacity but hold quite a few tokens. Otherwise, the job of the Slots Department would be never-ending with always topping them up.
The second way of cashing out any remaining credits from a machine is using the client’s membership card, through a ‘Cashless System’. The money would transfer itself, as data, ‘onto the patron’s membership card’ through the card-reader. This is not a bad way of doing things, but, as does everything else, has its advantages and disadvantages. The money ‘on the card’ is either cashed out at the Cash-Desk or once the card is inserted into the card reader of another machine, or the same machine for that matter, the money present on the card would transfer as credits on to the machine once more.
The Third Way of Credits coming out is My Favorite
The third way of credits coming out of a machine is by printing these on paper tickets. Most machines use a TITO system, which means Ticket In Ticket Out. These printers are thermal, so they don’t need any topping up of ink or toner or anything else. All they need is some Tender Loving Care with regards to cleaning. These units get very dusty from the same dust that comes out of the tickets. This clogs up the mechanism and also dirties the thermal head. Mind you, the printer will still work, but the tickets will tend to slip, or jam, while going through the rollers. Also, once the head gets too dirty, the print quality wouldn’t be of the finest.
The ticket can then be re-inserted into a bill acceptor as if it were currency. In the eventuality that the patron would like to call it a day, or a night, the tickets can be cashed out at the Cash Desk. This would hold if the type of ticket was the ‘Cash-Out’ kind, and not the ‘Promotional’ kind, which would need playing off.
I’ve had the opportunity to work on coin hoppers, cashless, as well as TITO systems.
A Cool Cashless System
In my experience, the cashless system, even though it’s more than brilliant, at least in theory as it’s efficient, cool, and doesn’t have any running expenses, like topping up of tickets, still doesn’t come close to the Ticket-in-Ticket-out system. In a TITO system, patron membership cards are still inserted into a card reader but used only to accumulate points. These points can then be cashed in or used to take part in various lotteries organized by the casino.
In a cashless system, the card is also used to accumulate points according to play, but that’s only a side-line. Its main function is the transfer of money to and from the machine. In reality, the money isn’t on the card as the data relating to how much money is on it is safe in an account allocated for the patron. The patron’s money that’s stored there as data is either used or cashed out.
What Can Possibly Go Wrong With Cashless?
All is hunky-dory as long as the system operates as it should. Once it gives problems, then the poor floor attendants and supervisors will have their work cut out, big time. You might ask, “But what can go wrong with such a system?” The answer is, “PLENTY!”
In a cashless system, a patron inserts the card containing money into the reader, thinking the system has recognized it, when in fact it might not be the case. If the client’s money doesn’t transfer onto the machine, then the patron would realize the card wasn’t inserted in the right way. This is straightforward and not confusing at all. All the patron needs to do is to re-insert the card once more until the credits appear in the machine.
Another scenario is when money enters into the machine, via the bill acceptor. The patron plays away happily, always hoping for a win along the way. When the patron wishes a change of machine, which of course entails the cashing out of the remaining credits, the cashless system entails the patron to press the ‘Cash Out’, or ‘Collect’ button.
As if by magic, the credits are ‘transferred to the card’, supposedly. The client then pulls out the card from machine A and goes to play on machine B. Once this same card goes into machine B’s reader, confusion and panic reign when no credits go to this machine.
In the meantime, somebody else has put their card in properly in Machine A, the machine the patron was playing on in the first place. At that point, any credits left in Machine A go to this other person’s card.
Sounds like Fun? Not in the least!
At that point, all hell will break loose, and quite understandably. This sort of thing happens all too often for comfort, and fights and arguments break out all the time over such matters.
When the system is new, this sort of thing would be a rarity, something which the casino staff can handle. Yet, when the system ages and components tend to reach the end of their reliable lifespan, the first to go would be the card readers’ ejection mechanism.
The card is accepted, and the reader locks the card in, which is fine. The trouble starts when trying to retrieve the card back, that is to eject it. So, if the user happens to be a bit nervous, unsure of things, or downright upset, this sort of thing is the last thing this person wants. It’s bad enough not having their card being recognized by the reader, but then when the reader refuses to eject it, things turn pretty sour and very fast.
In other words, the cashless system is not my top choice.
TITO is so much better – Slot Machine Truth
In reality, it’s a great deal better. The use of the patron’s card is not essential. It makes no difference to the client’s money as this is only used to collect points. The more one plays, the more the accumulated points.
Inserted bills enter via the bill validator, and any credits left to return to the client in the form of a ticket. It’s neat, it’s efficient, and it’s near enough maintenance-free, although there is the constant expense of buying the thermal tickets. But, these tickets are not that expensive, and they come in packets of 200, 400, 600, and 800.
During a typical working day, all the ‘hassle’ a printer will cause is that it will run out of tickets. It is no big deal, providing you won’t have several printers running out of tickets at the same time, and you’re caught on the floor alone.
All things considered, I favor the TITO system over the other ones I’ve had the opportunity of working on.