Firm has the right ticket!

February 19, 2002 7:20 AM
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In a deal that helps players, casinos and the gaming industry, Coinless Systems Inc. has hammered out an agreement to verify slot machine ticket winnings.

“Everyone assumes that bar-coded tickets are always correct,’’ says Coinless Systems President and CEO Dennis ­­Sorenson. But a growing number of cash-out disputes proves otherwise.

Amidst the boom in cashless gaming, Coinless Systems ”” a leading manufacturer of tickets ”” is taking the next step by selling patented verification technology to slot makers and the printer companies that dispense the tickets. The system hinges on a scanner that reads and validates tickets as they come out of printers on the ­­casino floor.

So far, slot manufacturers WMS, Innovative Gaming Corp., Sigma and Konami have signed on, and Coinless has a cross-licensing agreement with IGT. Sorenson tells GamingToday that agreements are also pending with the four big printer manufacturers. He calls the cost “miniscule,’’  roughly 5 percent of the price of a printer.

Gamers welcome the technology, which will eradicate payout disputes. Though casinos do not, by state law, have to pay incorrect tickets, the reality is that they often do. That’s because errors either go undetected, or casino managers figure it’s better to satisfy a customer than to endure bad publicity.

Privately, gaming executives say that such disputes are the Achilles Heel of paper-based payout systems. Harrah’s President Gary Loveman alluded to those concerns publicly last week when he talked about the need for better coinless technology. With the typical cashless slot printing out 25 to 30 tickets a day, the stakes ”” and the margin for error ”” are high.

Sorenson, a bar code expert who says his Las Vegas-based company has “a tight stranglehold on the (ticket) market,’’ ­­believes that Coinless Systems’ scanner technology will pay off big time.

“There are only two outfits that print money: the Federal Reserve and casinos (through tickets),’’ he explains. “To put out tickets without verification is ludicrous. The scan-after-print technology eliminates errors.’’

Stock in Coinless Systems (OTC: CLSY) hit a 52-week high of $1.0938 last March. Its 52-week low was 0.16 and shares are currently trading around 0.20. Some 30 million shares are outstanding.