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IGT forms ‘Systems’ division

Jan 13, 2003 11:38 PM

AERIAL VIEW of IGT’s sprawling corporate facility in Reno, Nevada.

As one of the first slot manufacturers to use microprocessors in their machines, it’s not surprising that IGT was a pioneer in the development of hard- and software solutions — what is now called "systems" — for the gaming industry.

Today, IGT offers a diverse array of gaming systems and has just recently brought them together under one department, IGT Gaming Systems.

"This reorganization will help us focus our direction on addressing immediate concerns while keeping an eye toward future plans," says Rick Rowe, vice president of IGT Gaming Systems Engineering.

More than 250,000 machines worldwide operate on various IGT gaming systems, and that number is expected to grow as IGT’s EZ Pay Ticket Systems gain market share. EZ Pay is an umbrella term for a bundle of products that facilitate ticket in/ticket out technology.

Among the EZ Pay products currently available: IVS, an integrated voucher system that brings ticket functions to casinos with compatible non-IGT player tracking; EZ Pay Limited, a smaller, more affordable version of EZ Pay for locations with 100 or fewer machines; EZ Pay Lite, a CVT-based solution approved for Gaming Laboratories, Inc. (GLI) locations, and EZ Route.

A whole new generation of EZ products that maximize the effectiveness of ticket assisted payouts and promotions are on the horizon. EZ Cash Out gives players the option of coin, ticket or a combination of both; EZ Promo Play allows players to redeem credits in the form of a voucher for promotional offers (the program also manages the voucher numbers and generates reports); and EZ Meter Data collects readings from the machines for improved and simplified accounting.

At the heart of IGT Gaming Systems is IGS, a comprehensive casino management software package that features integrated and/or stand-alone modules that work together to solve problems, provide answers and increase efficiency. Casinos can pick and choose among the components—building, in essence, a software suite customized for their specific needs.

The core casino and patron management modules include a patron management program that makes centralized player information available for the entire casino; a slot accounting and security system that provides necessary information on machine performance from a variety of perspectives; and a table games management tool that reports and analyzes everything from patron activity to pit layout.

Additionally, IGS offers a cage and credit module that provides flexible credit verification and authorization, tracks transactions from receipt to deposit, and performs a variety of other accounting and banking functions. And, finally, IGS System Control is the foundation that gives casinos the power to customize their IGS system. This module controls employee access to the system, allows for the configuration of menus and other options, and defines what information is available, to whom, from where in the casino.

IGS also offers a menu of a la carte products that capitalize on the information available through the system. For example, there is an add-on that maintains a calendar of events and casino activities, a significant plus when planning and scheduling promotions and events. Another helps make and track restaurant reservations, keeping track of reservation blocks and comp accountability. A third assists in the management of slot and table game tournaments, from first bet to the announcement of the winner.

"The incredible flexibility of the IGS system not only allows customers to adapt it to their situation, but also lends itself to expansion and the addition of new modules that serve a specific function," Rowe said. "One example would be our new PDA Hot Player Monitor that allows slot hosts to walk the floor to detect and track hot players. They can also register new members right on the spot and access comp and play information for existing customers."

Another new module, IGS EZ Ticket, integrates ticket-in, ticket-out technology with the IGS casino management system. Casinos can now use IGS for all their slot accounting — coin in, coin out, currency in, tickets issued and tickets dropped. The EZ Ticket module supports the EZ Pay ticket printer and provides the printed ticket convenience that players enjoy and the system solution that casinos need.

Using the theory that a picture is worth a thousand reports, IGT is the exclusive North American distributor of a powerful new visualization tool, seePower, which works with IGT Gaming Systems and many other slot accounting systems. seePower is a one-of-a-kind business intelligence software application that provides meaningful insights into gaming data: identifying trends, data hotspots and relationships between locations and much more — presenting volumes of business information as easy-to-understand pictures.

IGT also manufactures and markets a turnkey video lottery gaming system called SAMS that is designed specifically to make it easy to manage a large gaming network distributed over a wide geographic area.

Since any computer program is only as good as the service that stands behind it, IGT has developed a multi-pronged support program that gives customers the assistance they need, noon or night. A technical assistance center provides system support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. IGT’s worldwide regional offices supply timely, on-site service and online information, and support is available at IGT.com.