Acres: Technology can be used to meet slot machine cleaning requirements Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · May 11, 2020 at 7:30 am Among the health and safety guidelines approved last week by Nevada gaming regulators for reopening casinos in a post-COVID-19 era is a requirement that properties have a plan in place for cleaning gaming machines, devices, chairs, and other ancillary equipment on a regular basis. Gaming equipment developer John Acres said technology can help implement that process. Acres, creator of the casino industry’s first player tracking system and a 2016 inductee to the Gaming Hall of Fame, said his company’s Kai slot machine application can easily be programmed to alert casino floor personnel that a customer’s play on a particular machine is over and the device is ready for cleaning. The system is currently used by some 40 commercial and tribal casinos in the U.S. to notify slot floor personnel, through a message sent to a mobile device, when there is a malfunction or other issue with a game. The devices will now have the Clean Machine function, as well. Graphic courtesy Acres 4.0 “It’s a tool that can help casinos meet social distancing and cleaning requirements without much disruption to play,” said Acres, who has founded four gaming companies and currently operates Acres 4.0. The company has offices in Las Vegas, Reno, and Portland, Oregon. Kai is currently used on slot machines from a variety of manufacturers in such properties as Wynn Las Vegas and Encore on the Strip, Mystic Lake in Minnesota, Muckleshoot in Washington, and Casino Del Sol in Arizona. Noah Acres, the company’s vice president of marketing and sales, said the Clean Machine function works because Kai knows exactly when each play session ends. “When this happens, a cleaning call is issued to the nearest available qualified employee,” Noah Acres said in an email. “A casino of any size should be able to get somebody to the vacated machine in well under a minute.” With the nation’s casino industry – nearly 1,000 casinos in 43 states – slowly starting to reopen after being closed since mid-March in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, regulators and tribal governments are offering guidelines for restarting gaming. While health, safety, and social distancing requirements will differ from state to state, cleaning slot machines and other gaming equipment is a priority. Acres 4.0 is making Clean Machine available as a free upgrade to any casino using Kai. Rolling Hills Casino in Northern California was the first property to take advantage of the upgrade, which was completed last week. John Acres said the company just needs access to a casino before reopening to make the necessary software adjustment. Under the Nevada guidelines, a casino floor must create proper social distancing between slot players, which includes removing chairs and stools in front of every other gaming machine. John Acres said a second function built into Kai, called Smart Space, would deactivate slot machines adjacent to a game being played until a session is over. When the session is completed, the other machines are automatically activated, and the vacated machine is disabled. A Clean Machine call is then issued by Kai. The machine is enabled again once the employee completes the Clean Machine call. Noah Acres said the Smart Space solution requires the addition of the company’s CyberMax Foundation hardware. “Never in my half-century of gaming experience have casinos faced a threat as potentially disastrous as this COVID crisis,” John Acres said. “But with effort, perseverance, and innovation, I am convinced we can build an exciting, successful new future of fun and success. Our goal is to get people back to play and work in a safe, sustainable environment.” Numerous solutions are being proposed by the gaming equipment manufacturing sector to help casinos operate under the post-COVID-19 conditions, such as plexiglass dividers for slot machine banks and table games. John Acres said those ideas would require additional cleaning maintenance and slow the process of getting a game back online. “We want to make sure both players and employees have confidence that they are safe,” he said. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.