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Barona Casino Goes With 'Coin-less' Slot Machines

25 May 2000

SAN DIEGO, May 24 (Press Release) -- The face of slot machine gaming is about to change, and San Diego's Barona Casino is leading the charge.

When Las Vegas-style slot machines are delivered to the San Diego area, the machines at Barona will be more advanced than any slot machine on the market today. That is because Barona will be the first casino in the world to introduce a fully integrated ``coin-less'' Voucher In-Voucher Out (Voucher) technology that experts and analysts say will revolutionize the slot machine industry.

``Barona Casino is going to be an incredible experience for the casino industry -- the voucher in/voucher out technology is 21st century and represents the future of slot machine gaming,'' said Bob Bittman, Vice President of Product Development and Board member, International Game Technology (IGT).

``While the technology is significant, what is truly remarkable is that Barona Casino was able to accelerate the introduction of this technology to the casino floor by encouraging competitors to work together to develop a voucher system that is compatible with nearly a dozen different slot machine manufacturers. It is revolutionary, it has never been done before and operators of casinos everywhere will be watching Barona because we are fairly confident this voucher technology will eventually phase out traditional coin slot machines.''

Over a year ago, Barona Casino had the vision to team up with approximately 10 of the leading slot machine and gaming systems manufacturers including International Game Technology (IGT), Bally Gaming Systems and Sierra Design Group (SDG) to develop a slot machine that is more advanced than what exists today in Las Vegas. According to industry leaders, the result is truly the next generation of slot machine technology.

``While Barona will still offer some traditional coin operated slot machines, over 88% of our machines will be the new voucher technology. The new voucher technology was developed with input from our customers and we are confident that the slot machine technology will be far more popular than coin operated slot machines,'' said Lee Skelley, Assistant General Manager of Casino Operations at Barona Casino.

``Guests at Barona will now have the luxury of turning in cumbersome buckets of nickels, dimes and quarters for convenient, dollar-sized vouchers that fit comfortably in their wallets and are compatible with multiple slot machine manufacturers. The vouchers can be used just like dollar bills.''

The new Barona slot system and machines cost approximately $30 million. To begin play on the new machines, people simply insert cash or a voucher into the machine. When cashing out, players receive a printed voucher that can be used in any machine throughout the casino floor.

``I've played in casinos around the world and I would like to see them all do away with coins,'' said Jean Scott, author of The Frugal Gambler. ``By far, the voucher technology is the cleanest, most convenient and exciting way to play slot machines.''

To welcome the new slot machines, Barona has built a new $3.5 million gaming facility that rivals the technical capabilities and excitement of the most advanced casinos in the world. Designed by leading Las Vegas architect Bergman Walls & Youngblood, the facility will host the most popular Las Vegas slot machine games, including Wheel of Fortune, Triple Play Poker and Quartermania. Each of these games will be equipped with Voucher technology, but Barona will also offer traditional coin-operated slot machines for casino guests more comfortable with conventional technology. The traditional coin-operated machines will also accept the vouchers.

Initial testing of Voucher technology has drawn rave reviews from industry analysts and gamers accustomed to traditional coin-operated machines. Experts have predicted that the new technology will eventually replace traditional coin operated slot machines around the world.

``I believe it is a whole new wave in gaming. The gaming player at Barona Casino will be able to play Las Vegas games in a way you can't play in Las Vegas,'' said Russ Ristine, Bally Gaming Systems Vice President of Systems Development. ``The main benefit to the player is a much better tested system and a much more convenient way to play because they won't have to be inconvenienced by coins anymore.''

``Coinless slots is where gaming is going,'' said Anthony Curtis, publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor, an industry newsletter and web site. ``People want a cleaner and more convenient experience.''

Barona Casino is one of the most successful casinos in California, with 115,000 square feet of alcohol-free gaming and hospitality space. The casino is owned and operated by the Barona Band of Mission Indians, which is recognized by the United States government as a sovereign government. Barona is in the process of a $150 million expansion project, which will include a world-class, 18-hole championship golf course scheduled to open this summer, and a new casino and a resort hotel scheduled to break ground this year.

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