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LAS VEGAS -- Having conquered the slot machine world, JCM American Corp. is targeting the expanding table game market.
The Japan-based manufacturer has placed its currency acceptors -- also known as bill validators -- into 85 percent of all North American slot machines. The company, which has U.S. headquarters in Las Vegas, is hoping for similar success with a system developed for gambling tables.
During last month's Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, JCM displayed the Trident Table Safe System, which includes a bill validator embedded into a blackjack table, and an attachable cash box that records the currency deposited by denomination. The software in the validator also guards against counterfeiting.
After more than a year of development and testing, the system completed a trial run in September on two blackjack tables at the Tuscany in Las Vegas. The casino recently expanded the system to four blackjack tables and a Three Card Poker table.
JCM officials said the devices, which have been approved in Nevada, will soon make their way into other casinos' table-game pits.
"Based on the feedback we had at G2E, we think casinos are ready for this product," said Jill Grismer, JCM's senior trade-show and special events coordinator.
The Trident system is the newest push into the casino market for JCM, which also places its currency acceptors into the vending, banking and amusement industries. The company estimates that since 1995, it has validated more than $2.2 trillion in currency for the gaming industry.
JCM hopes bettors will hardly notice the transition to the gaming-table system, Grismer said.
Casino dealers still fan out currency at the table for the eye-in-the-sky camera, but instead of paddling the money down a chute into the cash box, the bills are fed into a validator that can accept up to 35 bills at a time. An electronic reader, visible to the dealer and the security cameras, shows how much money has been deposited.
The cash box, which is detachable for delivering money to a casino's count room, can hold up to 2,000 bills.
With software that connects to a central server in the pit area, casino managers can obtain real-time drop data and continuous updates at each table where the system is used.
A printout, similar to an automated-teller receipt, can be run out showing a denominational breakdown of how much money is in a particular cash box.
Tuscany casino operations director Kevin Beaton said the system saves time in the count room and provides accounting with an accurate precount dollar total.
In addition, he said, the bill validator gives a readout to casino security if counterfeit currency is passed.
"Before, I never had an idea of what's in each box," Beaton said. "The dealers don't have to try to keep track and estimate how much is in each safe. Plus, the dealers don't have to take time and try to verify a counterfeit bill. The system takes care of that."
JCM officials envision the Trident System being used on all table games, including the growing number of poker tables. The company says the system speeds cash collection and quickens the game's pace.
Companies such as Shuffle Master, which distributes table games, including Three Card Poker and Let It Ride, are appraising the system. But casino operators will ultimately decide whether to use the Trident System.
"The short answer is we just don't know how this boils down to the consumer," Shuffle Master Chief Financial Officer Richard Baldwin said. "The consumer will ultimately make the decision. I'm sure we'll sit down with (JCM) sometime down the road and evaluate what they have."
As it looks to roll the system out to the mass market, JCM is also looking toward Trident's second phase, in which it could integrate with the ticket in-ticket out technology on slot machines.
The idea would be to allow slot players to cash out from slot game, take their winning voucher to a table with the Trident system and buy into that particular game.
JCM and some casino operators hope to have that technology in place soon.
"That would be the ideal use of the system," Beaton said. "That would absolutely integrate our casino floor."
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