Ticket-in/Ticket-out getting popular

Sep 24, 2002 9:02 AM

Sometimes, for innovations to be successful, they must be introduced at the proper time and in the proper venue. Case in point: Ticket-In/Ticket-Out Systems.

In the early 90’s, Kirk Kerkorian’s Desert Inn operators introduced the new slots system whereby players would receive a ticket instead of a container full of coins when cashing out of a machine.

At the time, few slot executives would buy the theory that slot machine players would flock to one-arm bandits that paid off in silence. Still, manufacturers felt there was a market for the new machines and needed a casino to see what kind of response they would receive.

Kerkorian then sold the Desert Inn to ITT and built the MGM Grand, which at the time was the world’s largest hotel/casino with 5,005 rooms and about 175,000 square feet of gaming floor space. Part of that area was designated for the ticket-in/ticket-out machines. Unfortunately, the property’s customers, mostly tourists, abandoned the new machines in favor of the traditional "clank-clank" coin dispensing devices.

But, with the turn of the century came a renewed interest in the ticket system and this time the promotion of the machines was aimed at the local properties, especially in casinos where customers complained of slow responses to large hits or slow fills when the machines ran out of coins.

The response, this time, was completely different. The majority of locals took to the new machines with open arms. In a recent research paper, Bear, Stearns reported that approximately 80% of gamers said they preferred the system to the traditional machines with coins.

And, casino operators said they liked the system because it increased the level of play by eliminating long waits between hopper fills and increased the duration of play.

Now, the question remains whether tourist properties will be able to interest their customers in the new technology.