Since its inception, ticket-in, ticket-out gaming has been dominated by industry giant IGT.
But Bally Gaming Systems recently tossed its thermal printer into the ring with a line of cashless gaming products of its own.
"People are more receptive now than ever before to new technology," said Derik Mooberry, Bally Gaming’s vice president of operations. "Casino patrons want convenience and ticketing is the natural progression."
Mooberry added that Bally’s cashless systems are a "natural" for casino operators as well. Operating benefits include bottom-line savings from reduced labor costs (to fill hoppers and award hand jackpots), and maintenance, since machines will be less likely to run into mechanical coin jams or other maladies.
One of Bally Gaming’s first customers for its cashless system will be Harrah’s Entertainment, among the top three casino operators in the world.
For the past couple of years, Harrah’s executives have been saying they were either developing their own cashless slot system, or evaluating the various systems on the market.
Ultimately, they chose the Bally system.
"We didn’t want to rewire the floor and we wanted a single-wire cashless system to run with our single-wire accounting system," said Bruce Rowe, Harrah’s corporate vice president of slot operations.
The ability to interface with existing slot games as well as a casino’s slot accounting and player tracking systems is key," said Bally’s Mark Lipparelli, senior vice president and general manager.
"What we’re seeing is that casinos that don’t already have a Bally system are using older, outdated systems and looking to migrate to new systems anyway," Lipparelli said. "Why buy a stand-alone system when you can have a total integration?"
In addition to the bar-coded tickets that allow slot patrons to either cash out or play into another machine, the Bally cashless system included:
”¡ e-Fund, which allows players to deposit cash into their accounts and then use player club cards as conduits to wager at the machines.
”¡ e-Promo, in which players can convert slot club points into playable credits without visiting the cashier’s cage or slot promotion booth.
”¡ e-Comp, which offers players the convenience of converting slot club points to comps — right at the machine.