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Server Based Slots Machines

Approved in Nevada

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In April 2007 the Nevada Gaming Regulators approved International Game Technology’s sever-based gaming system following field testing of 20 machines. The server based slots are also called downloadable slots are the wave of the future for the gaming industry. I first saw the demonstration of this technology a few years ago at the Global Gaming Expo, the annual trade show for the gaming industry. The decision by the Nevada board means that the machines could start finding their way onto the casino floors in the future although one report said it won’t happen until around 2009.

Although the commission approved IGT’s system they are not the only slot maker with sever based technology. WMS and Bally’s have been spending millions of dollars in research and development of similar systems and it is only a matter of time until they get approval as well.

How It Works
Server based slot games are connected to a central computer system. The “slot machines” on the casino floor are generic terminals. Different slot games can be downloaded into the slot cabinets. Slot managers will have the ability to change a slot machine's games, denominations, bonus payouts and promotions from a central computer server rather than requiring technicians to perform the work manually. Instead of having to buy a slot game that could go out of favor with the players the server based system lets the casino have the ability to switch a game with a new one in a matter of seconds.

A Myth Comes True
For years slot players have believed a myth that the casinos could change the payback of a machine with the flip of a switch. They worried that the casino could tighten the machines during busy times such as weekends and then loosen them up to pay more during the week. With the new server based system this myth could actually become a reality as they can change the payback of the machines through the server.

A Slow Transition
The decision by the Nevada board means that the machines could start finding their way onto the casino floors in the future although one report said it won’t happen until around 2009. Gaming analysts said the casino industry remains interested in server-based gaming but are unsure how much slot machine floor space they'll give the games. A survey of slot managers by Goldman Sachs found that casino operators are only willing to initially devote about a quarter of their slot floor to the new machines.

The final test of this new technology will lie in the hands of the players. If they do not accept and trust the new “terminal games” then the casinos will not be in a hurry to convert their casino floors to the new system. Only time will tell.

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