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Coinless Slot Machines Are a Winner to Some, Not to Others
Subject Opportunity cost
Topic Scarcity, Choice and Opportunity Cost
Key Words Coins, winnings, productivity, technology, savings
News Story

It seems hard to visualize slot machines in casinos without patrons using coins and receiving winnings in mounds of coins. But the trend is toward 'coinless' slots where the gambler uses a card or a voucher. Coins are not totally eliminated, however. Winning customers can take their ticket to a cashier for payment or insert it in another slot machine to get coins.

Coinless slots make good business sense. Slots are important, accounting for one-third of gaming revenues. Their productivity can be enhanced by the new technology. Players need not wait so long for change, and can continue to gamble. Operationally, also, there are savings.

Although customers do not have to wait as long for coin hoppers to be filled, and cards are clean and convenient, some players do not like the change. Focus groups show that people like the clatter of coins as they drop into the metal hopper. They do not always trust the new technology, and fear losing the card or voucher more easily than cash. In spite of this, coinless slots are spreading.

(Updated August 1, 2001)

Questions
1. What is opportunity cost?
2. What is the opportunity cost of retaining coin slot machines
a) for casino owners?
b) for casino customers?
3. What is the opportunity cost of coinless slot machines
a) for casino owners?
b) for casino customers?
Source Associated Press, "Las Vegas casinos beginning to go 'coinless,'" The Honolulu Advertiser, July 11, 2001.

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