Technology advancement for slot machines
Today’s Slot Manager is working with the most sophisticated gaming equipment ever produced. With digital slot machine technology the one-armed-bandit is now operated with a push of a button, and the spin of the wheel is now controlled by the internal computer rather than the revolution of the reels.
These digital machines are adaptable and flexible. The server-based format brings ultimate flexibility and control. The Slot Manager can seamlessly switch banks of machines between reels and video, change game formats to meet player preferences in real time, and switch under-performing games to a new game within the same box. Multiple-denomination machines reduce units required to meet the needs of a variety of players. The reality of a networked slot floor has arrived.
These changes have improved the experience for players. The three cornerstones of customer relationship management (CRM) —people, process and technology—are realized with these new technologies. The move to coinless play allows players to easily track their wins and losses. Players can select multiples lines of play to meet their personal preferences and risk threshold. They can order a drink, book a room, and access valet service all in one place.
These changes improve profitability for the casino as well. The new digital systems have evolved from accounting tools to avenues of insight into player preferences and habits that the casino can use to make profit-generating adjustments.
When the Slot Manager exits the gaming floor for the back office, all of this technological advancement disappears. In its place is the age old standard of the paper-based system. Most of the technology advances in the gaming industry are in the areas of player tracking and experience. The operational functions of maintenance, inventory management and compliance remain in the dark ages.
Organizations often overlook the many benefits of modernizing the internal processes. Outdated structures frustrate employees, waste time, and reduce satisfaction and retention. The time lost to ponderous recordkeeping could be better spent improving the function of the organization. The money lost to time-intensive processes could be reinvested in organization improvements.
So what is a manager to do?
The forward-thinking Slot Manager will be looking to technology to optimize operations and thus control costs, improve revenue, improve employee satisfaction, and increase player experience.
A three-step internal review will to bring inefficiencies into focus and identify needed solutions.
1. Review current manual processes
2. Identify issues
3. Identify technology solutions
1. Current process
To be compliant with current gaming laws and corporate best practices, casinos must provide documentation that shows the provenance, life, usage, maintenance, and retirement of any slot machine. This documentation must be kept for several years, and must be made available to inspectors and auditors. A log must be maintained of every time the inside of a slot machine is accessed.This Machine Entry Authorization Log (MEAL) may have thousands of entries.
Customer satsifaction – customers can’t play a machine while it is open and manual processes add time away from play. In addition, customers are superstitious and don’t have confidence in a game once they’ve seen an attendant working in it.
Paper logs are not searchable, cannot be emailed, cross-referenced, or used in reports. These logs must be transcribed into a usable data format and this process incurs administrative costs and introduces opportunity for error.
Pulling records for audits is a manual process. Misfiled records significantly slow the operation and may incur violations.
Manual data entry, download and importing of records results in errors and more time cost checking data for accuracy.
3. Solution requirements:
Quick turnaround on machine.
Portable technology that can go on the floor.
Searchable digital machine record with multi-department access.
Real-time information without manual entry.
Accurate on-demand information access for auditors.
One-time machine entry upon receipt.
Quick scan & go technology manages parts inventory, MEAL log, and slot machine movements.
No hi-tech knowledge or training is needed to use the system.
Real time access and integration for accounting, management, maintenance and compliance.
The task of transition to a technology solution becomes less daunting when the benefits are clear and valuable. The Slot Manager can elicit buy-in from both executive management and operational staff with the results of the review process. Post-transition the slot team can focus on creating the best experience for both player and house.