Slots hit the jackpot with new technology.
Who wants to be a millionaire?
With average jackpots reportedly above $80 million, and the potential to reach north of $500 million, Mega Millions is a big fish among noncasino-based gambling. The multistate (nine) jackpot lottery game boasts a minimum jackpot of $10 million, nine ways to win, and overall odds of 1 in 43 of winning a cash prize. Live drawings take place every Tuesday and Friday in Atlanta, Ga.
Here's how Mega Millions works: Players select five numbers between 1 and 52, plus a Gold Mega Ball number from an additional pool of numbers between 1 and 52. During the drawing, two lottery machines mix separate sets of balls between 1 and 52. The balls drop into a chamber where paddles, spinning in opposite directions, mix them. Under the watchful eye of an optical sensor, the correct number of balls passes through a sliding door and into a clear tube. Five balls are drawn from the first machine, and one Gold Mega Ball is drawn from the second. Players win if they match three, four, or all five numbers drawn. They also win if they match only the Gold Mega Ball, or one, two, three, or four numbers plus the Gold Mega Ball. Players win the jackpot if they match all five numbers and the Gold Mega Ball.
Odds of winning the jackpot? One in 135,145,920, much less than being hit once by lightning in your lifetime (1 in 685,000). But all is not lost -- you have a much better chance of taking home that jackpot than being hit by lightning twice (1 in 469,225,000,000).
The purpose of the GPS, on the other hand, is to help slot machines communicate with their own peripheral devices inside, such as bill validators, card readers, and ticket printers. Essentially, says GSA, it gives peripheral devices one command set to communicate with the host slot machine.
The BOB standard is designed to help slot machines communicate with the casino-management system, says GSA. It's based on standard computer technologies, such as Ethernet, TCP/IP, and XML, so that casinos have no trouble accommodating future technologies like downloadable games. GSA also adopted IGT's proprietary SAS protocol in 2001 as a specification. According to GSA, this is currently the most commonly used communication protocol in the industry between slot machines, their interface board, and backend systems.
IGT also recently launched SAS 6.00 at the Global Gaming Expo, which has been adopted by GSA as an official specification. The new protocol lets gaming machines and slot-accounting systems interconnect, and secures data transfer between the gaming machine and an online monitoring system. "The SAS 6.00 protocol is unique in that it was developed with the input of both manufacturers and regulators," says Rich Schneider, GSA vice chairman. One highlight of the new version is an authentication function that lets operators and regulators remotely interrogate gaming machines for memory-verification information, for both game programs and peripheral devices, says GSA. Also the enhanced Advanced Funds Transfer feature permits transferring player money and promotional credits back and forth between the online monitoring system and gaming machines.
The new protocol, says Rogich, will soon make its way into all casino systems as regulatory approvals are obtained. That, he says, will give operators additional choices, such as using tickets, promotional cards, debit cards, and other forms of cash instruments securely and reliably across the slot floor. IGT already has begun working on incorporating the new GSA protocol standard into EZ Pay and other slot-accounting systems. Says Ali Saffari, GSA board member and vice president of Firmware Engineering for IGT, "The SAS 6.00 protocol gives the industry a solid footing for all forms of cashless gaming, which is the future of the industry."