Coin Shortage Causes Casinos to Think Outside the Box

In areas like Las Vegas, there are still casinos that offer coin slot machines. Back in the olden days, the only way to play a slot was to insert a coin and then change was provided for the win. A big win would see a ton of change come out of the machine. Today, winners claim a jackpot prize with a paper ticket. This makes the win a little less exciting, but more efficient for casinos. During this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen casinos running short on change for their coin slots. Many venues are having to work hard to be able to continue to offer this type of gaming.

A coin shortage has occurred in the United States as coins are no longer circulating like they normally would. Businesses are asking patrons to use correct change or pay with a card instead so that they do not have to run out of change or because they do not have any change to give back. This shortage of coins affects the casinos as they try to offer a more authentic, old style Vegas experience.

The Solution

The El Cortez is one casino that has been affected by the coin shortage. When the casino shut down back in March, they cashed in the majority of their coins, at around $90,000. They kept $30,000. When the casino opened back up, the $30,000 in change was all they had. When placing orders for more coins, they were given much smaller amounts and have been unable to come up with larger portions of coins for their machines.

El Cortez has found it difficult to keep coins on hand. For the D Las Vegas Casino, they decided to come up with a unique idea to bring in change. They have a Sigma Derby slot that is quite popular and uses quarter. They recently started a promotion where players can bring in one pound of quarters and they will be given a hat. Anyone who can bring in three pounds of quarters will receive a hat and a t-shirt.

Ticket Printing

The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas came up with an idea last year that would work well for casinos that offer coin games. They decided to allow players to print tickets when they win on a coin machine or to donate to charity. This saves the casino from having to dispense coins. At the time there was not a coin shortage, but the decision has proved to be a smart one as the casino is not having an issue due to the change in how the machine awards prizes.

According to officials of the Cosmopolitan, since the casino reopened after the Covid-19 shutdown, they have seen a record number of transactions via slips as well as donations. The casino is both proud and thankful for the effort made by guests as they look to support the community during this trying time.

The coin shortage is not expected to last long-term. For now though, patrons are being asked to avoid using cash at businesses, including casinos, so change does not have to be provided.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.