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Detroit vouches for slot payoff

Jan 7, 2003 3:06 AM

BY GT STAFF / WIRE REPORTS

Greektown and MGM Grand Detroit casinos have installed hundreds of slot machines that issue winnings in the form of paper vouchers.

MGM issued 32 cashless slots in October, according to The Detroit News, and has since converted another 130 nickel, quarter, half-dollar and dollar machines. The casino hotel should have a least half of its 2,700-slot floor converted to the cashless system.

Greektown converted 46 of its 700 nickel slot machines to cashless machines last August. An additional 181 machines were changed since Dec. 20.

The two Detroit casinos planned a year ago to give gamblers the slot equivalent of training wheels ”” a machine that could dispense winnings in tokens or a paper ticket depending on the customer’s preference.

"We’ve found that customers aren’t looking for that option," said Jay Dee Clayton, MGM executive vice president.

Greektown and MGM plan to market their cashless slot machines to gain a competitive advantage.

Ehrlich applies heat

Maryland Gov.-elect Robert Ehrlich Jr., threatened to cut aid to local governments if slot machine gambling is not legalized.

The Washington Post reported that Ehrlich met with county executives across the state regarding the installation of slots at four racetracks. Maryland has a $1.2 billion budget deficit.

Ehrlich said the slots would allow him to keep a campaign promise to protect cities and counties from cuts in other areas. State funding goes to education, public health, law enforcement, community colleges and transportation projects.

The Republican winner in last November’s election hopes to raise $400 million next year by selling licenses and believes that the machines could eventually net the state an annual $800 million.

According to the newspaper, Democrats are pushing to close tax loopholes given to various types of businesses as a way of avoid spending cuts.