Some readers may know that I once dabbled in designing slot machine video theme games and bonus rounds. I actually had Non-Disclosure Agreements with three of the largest slot machine manufacturers in the world. But it was hard work and the paychecks were few and far between.
However, as the technology continued to leap forward at blinding speed, it was just taking up too much time for a freelance outsider to keep abreast of developments in order to produce competitive designs. So I gave it up, and now look at what I’m doing! Now I’m more into situs judi online which is the best online casino website that is out there. You will find some of the best and interesting games including card games, slot machine games, that you can try.
Nonetheless, I continue to have several friends and associates in that industry and during a recent trip to visit my money in Atlantic City I became aware of the following:
Nearly $20,000 coins, gambling tokens, and even paper currency notes, including a $100 bill, were discovered as slot machines and other gaming paraphernalia were removed from the 79,802 square foot Sands Casino in Atlantic City in 2017 as the property was awaiting a date with the wrecking ball.
The Sands, at Indiana Avenue and Brighton Park, was Atlantic City’s smallest casino. It was purchased on November 17, 2006, by Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. of Las Vegas and, at this writing, is in the process of being demolished to make way for a Las Vegas-style $1.5 billion resort.
The closed casino is part of a complex which once had more than 2,000 people on its payroll, and includes a 623-room hotel and six restaurants. During its lifetime the Sands proffered between 2,100 to 2,450 slot machines and ninety-three table games for patrons. Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack buddies played there.
The bulk of the cache, mostly in loose change ranging from dimes through half dollars, apparently accumulated from overflow spills of full coin catching bins inside the machines with open frame bottoms. The errant change made its way into the narrow space between the sides and bottoms of the machines and the cabinets they sat on (nothing like that ever happened with machines I designed!)
Some coins were also found between the teller counters in the coin redemption booth. Among them were a number of 40% and 90% Kennedy halves, and the speculation is they didn’t fall there but were deliberately dropped there by an employee who intended to eventually retrieve them, but for some reason never got to.
A lesser amount of coins and gaming tokens were found under the carpeting near the elevators in the casino and hotel as well as various nooks and crannies in the property’s six restaurants.
A long-time friend at Harrah’s Casino, and familiar with the Sands operation, told me that despite the widely-practiced industry policy of moving, rotating, and replacing slot machines on a fairly regular basis, the windfall hoard under the slot machines appeared to have escaped detection for several years.
However, he dismissed widely circulating local rumors that the slot machines in the Sands had not been moved in more than 30 years.
“That’s incredible. First of all, the Sands opened its doors as a functioning casino-hotel in Atlantic City 26 years ago. Second, the technological advancement in electronic and video screen graphics, interactive bonus rounds and slots that no longer accept coins, has jumped in leaps and bounds since the mid-1990s. No casino could have operated as long as the Sands did with old equipment. Machines had to be replaced.”
The generation of slot machines that populate casino floors in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and elsewhere, are a few generations removed from what was state-of-the-art just seven years ago. And those slots, even the “older” ones in the Sands, were generations away from the once-popular mechanical machines. A second casino official pointed out that it would be mind-boggling to think a casino didn’t regularly replace its old machines with equipment offering new styles and advancements.
“So how did all this loot escape detection? Anyone in the business knows that before the era of ‘coinless’ casinos, small amounts of overflow change sometimes slipped between the slot machine’s open frame bottom and the stand or cabinet,” he pointed out.
The ‘coinless’ casino era began in Atlantic City in December 2001, when Park Place Entertainment, at the time owners and operators of Bally’s, Caesars, Hilton, and Claridge became the first area casino to introduce the EZ PayTM paper voucher slot payout technology system.
In June 2003 the New Jersey Casino Commission approved incorporating coinless gaming into Atlantic City’s dozen casinos. Less than a month later the Borgata Casino Hotel opened there and became the first U.S. casino to completely eliminate the traditional use of coins in its several hundred slot machines.
‘Coinless’ slot machines do not pay players with coins. Instead, paper vouchers are ejected from the machine when a player wants to “cash out.”.
Adding further to the mystery of the Sands hoard, players have not been able to purchase coins (or tokens) in Atlantic City casinos for the last few years. All slot machine play is conducted with paper: currency when starting, and casino vouchers when cashing out. The paper voucher cash out system is universally used in Atlantic City and a majority of casinos throughout the country.
The result is that it is very unlikely we will be thrilled by a future Ted Binion-style hoard of $100,000+ in real silver dollars. Binion’s Morgan and Peace dollars came right from the world-famous Binion’s Horseshoe Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas which he inherited from his father.
Actually, that day has already been here for some time. During research for a story about tokens a few years ago, this writer was unable to find a single casino using U.S. $1 coins among the more than 20 casinos contacted. At the time they were all using their own imprinted metal tokens.
Jack Jackson, a former casino executive and Las Vegas history buff explained why casinos turned to tokens:
“The last all silver dollar size coins (Morgans and Peace dollars) virtually vanished from casino play when the U.S. removed all silver from dimes, quarters and halves in 1965 and the price of silver began its climb upward from the $1.29 an ounce where it had been since anyone could remember. There were a few years there when you could still get lucky and find a real silver dollar now and then. But for the most part, they were gone.
“The clad Ike dollar’s short-lived run from 1971-78 did little to meet the demand, but the introduction of the smaller size Susan B. Anthony dollar was the last straw. Casinos went all out and opted for their own, same-size tokens. The thinking was the casinos had to control their own destiny as far as this denomination went and depend on the whim of the government to know if there would be another break in minting the cartwheels, as there was from the last Peace dollar in 1935 till the first Ike in 1971.
Most important, tokens would always be the same size, eliminating the need to retool or adjust slot machines to take whatever size dollar coin the government bureaucrats decided they wanted.”
Jackson said that the use of half dollar tokens came about partially because over the years there has been a lot of talk about eliminating the half dollar coin. “Nobody in the casino business wanted to get blindsided and have to retool their half dollar machines, so some slot machine manufacturers began offering machines that could accept half dollar size tokens.”
Even with the paper voucher system, a limited number of casinos continue using tokens to some degree for various denominations. As of August 2003, Harrah’s, for instance, was the only casino in Atlantic City still using U.S. half dollars in its machines. All others use a half dollar size token. By the end of 2003, The Sands, and all Atlantic City casinos, had totally eliminated the sale and distribution of coins to casino patrons.