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New regs could make slots into ATMs!

May 20, 2003 4:34 AM

Nevada gaming officials on Thursday will eye proposed changes to three state regulations, including allowing slots to double as ATM machines and permitting tourists to cash their traveler’s checks into chips right at the gaming tables.

The Nevada Gaming Commission, meeting in Las Vegas to mull over amendments to state gaming Regulations 1, 6 and 14 offered by the Gaming Control Board, will also consider requiring all casinos grossing $10 million or more a year to add computerized online meters to newly installed slot machines.

The meters would enable the board to monitor revenues and profits of the machines as well as keep track of gaming tax revenues the state could expect to receive.

"The new machines will need the new meters to monitor revenue, and (compare) the theoretical hold percentage to the actual hold percentage," Board Member Schott Scherer said.

The amendments that would permit casinos to install ATM currency receptors on slots, and let table game gamblers cash their traveler’s checks at the tables, were requested by the casino industry to make gambling more convenient for players.

Withdrawals on the ATMs on the gaming machines would be limited to $1,000 a day for each ATM card used. Further, any casino using the ATM slots would be required to employ online slot metering.

More and more casinos have been using computerized slot metering in place of old paper accounting, but the new amendment would require that the larger casinos in Nevada use them. Scherer said

The proposed ATM slot regulation is years in the making. In 1995, the State Legislature passed a bill allowing gamblers to use ATM cards while playing slots, but no credit cards.

"The policy question was decided by the Legislature," Scherer said. "There was some concern on the board over debit cards and the appropriate limits for them."

Scherer said he was concerned about the misuse of ATM cards and thought about requiring a lower betting limit for them. But he arrived at the $1,000 cap after learning that most banks limit ATM withdrawals within 24 hours to that amount.

Casino operators and state gamers see the changes as consistent with an industry trend toward cashless wagering, specifically the use of ticket-in, ticket-out vouchers emitted by slots in place of cash.

The vouchers lessen the need to make change for gamblers and to remove and account for coins in the machines. Currently, slots that dole out vouchers are in use in more than 70 casinos in Nevada.

"Everyone is going toward ticket-in, ticket out," Scherer said.