In the year 2000, IGT introduced a modern version of the slot machine to gambling fans. This machine was called the ticket-in-ticket-out (TITO), and it was supposed to make the casino public warm for a future form of slot game entertainment.
But despite this promising slot game innovation, the release did not immediately triggered a revolution on the casino floors. Coin-based slot machines kept their dominating position in the flashy gambling halls of Vegas.
However, over time, their dominance started to falter. Modern gambling technology developments cannot be stopped. As a result, it now becomes increasingly more difficult to find coin-based machines on the floors of Las Vegas casinos.
Las Vegas collected a total slots revenue amount of $50.5 billion last year, according to the LA Times. That is a significant amount, but the newspaper also mentioned that less than three per cent of that amount can be accounted to coin-operated casino games. This is bad news for the classic machines, but there are more dark clouds that appear on the horizon.
Global Gaming Expo is one of the biggest conventions in the casino gaming industry. Normally, you would certainly expect to see some newly introduced coin-based slot machines at such an event. However, that didn’t happened during the last edition. In fact, not a single old fashioned slot machine was showcased on the convention floors.
That might come as a surprise to some fans of this particular gambling machine, especially if they look at the new implementations for other casino games. It is alright to include sports betting options, fantasy football team trackers and SuperLotto picks, but innovations on the field of coin accepting slot machines apparently no longer take place.
These machines are a thing of the past, and the casinos can supposedly do without them in the future. But luckily, there is some hope for keeping them alive as well.
There is always a small group of people that loves old fashioned things. This is the case with collectables like cars or vinyl records, and any other classic objects. Coin-based slot machines now gradually start to move into that category, and they manage to attract a small percentage of gamblers who still love to toss their dollars in them.
Twyla McFarland is one of those people. She told the LA Times that she enjoys it when coin-based slot machines take her back to the classic Las Vegas days. She has been visiting the Nevada based city since the year 1979, and she believes that nothing beats playing coin machines and hearing the sounds of those winning coins that clatter into the tray.
McFarland belongs to a select group of people who still get a kick out of throwing their coins into the old gambling relics. But sadly there are more stakes at play then just a decreasing fan base. Many casinos find it inconvenient to offer classic slot machines as a gambling entertainment option.
Mark Yoseloff works at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he directs the Center for Gaming Innovation. He knows the reason why classic slots are considered to be inconvenient, and he spoke about it with the LA Times.
During the interview, he told the newspaper that coin based machines are simply not capable of keeping up with the ever increasing amount of money that is being processed through casinos.
Also, a lot of casino are not comfortable with the fact that their machines are filled with millions of dollars for multiple days. TITO slot machines appear to be a lot more user-friendly.
Yoseloff also said that modern machines are able to spin around 500 times per hour. This number used to be much lower in the past. Back then, players would be lucky if they were able to make around 200 or 300 spins within 60 minutes. Thus, the spinning velocity practically doubled.
The remaining small amount of Las Vegas based coin-processing machines is an obvious indicator that they have reached their expiration date. However, thanks to people like Eric Fizgerald, they are not about to go extinct yet. The Circus Circus Casino General Manager says that he intends to keep the machines available as long as they are being used by gamblers, and as long as they will not break down for good.
That is a challenge by itself, because, according to Fizgerald, it becomes increasingly challenging to find replacement parts for the slots. Luckily, his casino still has some backup slot machines that can be dissembled for much needed spare parts. The Circus Circus Casino has thus become a sort of protective sanctuary for old and endangered slot classics that are on the verge of becoming extinct.