On table games, they make sure the roulette wheels are balanced and the dice are “razor sharp” so they catch the felt of the craps tables.
On the slots, they verify that currency readers correctly scan inserted cash, verify that each machine returns information to the state gambling operations center so that officials can constantly monitor the action and the 25% of the money. ‘State, and inspect the protective casing around the computer chip which fixes the odds.
“These are the brains of the machine,” said Kaczowski, a former supervisor of casino surveillance recently. He shook the lock on a pale gray metal box filled with computer parts inside the bowels of a Money Rain Deluxe slot machine flashing blue and white at the State Gaming Lab in downtown of Boston, filled with test models identical to those of the Everett. casino floor.
Inside the windowless room filled with mesmerizing slots (“576 Ways to Win!”), Kaczowski went through the processes that processors have done over and over again at Everett in recent weeks – and at MGM Casino. of Springfield before it opened last year.
Beyond the physical control, the inspectors carry out a digital audit.
Kaczowski tapped on a screen on a slot machine and presented an array of settings and numbers, from the theme to the game’s ‘return to player’ – the key metric of how much money played will be returned to players over the course of the game. the life of the game. Gambling. National regulations require it to be at least 80%, but casinos usually set it much higher than that, somewhere around 90%, to keep players coming back for more.
Bruce E. Band, who oversees the state’s 33 gaming agents, explained that a machine’s life cycle could be maybe 2 million prints. So a customer who sits at a machine all night and comes away empty-handed doesn’t get scammed – just have a series of bad luck.
“That’s what most people don’t understand,” said Band, a former New Jersey video game enforcement official, with a laugh. “You say 80%. “Oh, I played $ 300 and didn’t get anything back! Well this [machine]it could take a year. “
Agents ensure slots are programmed to follow federal and state guidelines, such as locking out a machine when someone wins $ 1,200 or more on a single draw, to ensure the winner fulfills documents to report winnings before collecting the money. The machines are also programmed to signal a gaming agent when – ding! ding! ding! – a customer wins the jackpot, a jackpot of $ 75,000 or more.
In those happy times of $ 75,000 or more, Kaczowski or a colleague will make sure the machine hasn’t been tampered with and check state records to make sure the winner doesn’t owe back taxes. nor child support before winning the winnings.
If agents find that a machine is not programmed as it should be – an employee has entered the wrong dollar amount for when a machine needs to lock, for example – they will flag the casino and write a report. .
Band said if this was a persistent problem it could result in a fine.
“We are keeping an eye on this. You can only have a limited number of big fingers in front of you. . . Band paused, raising his eyebrows.
After more than 12 weeks of slot and table game checks, state officials said the Encore is expected to get the green light on gaming machines on Monday.
Wynn Resorts General Manager Matt Maddox said he was “pleased with the strong working relationship we have with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and staff.”
“As the formidable new team of Encore works to secure the final approvals necessary for us to open the first five-star gaming complex in New England, our company’s positive partnership with MGC makes it clear to me that we will meet our date. opening. June 23, ”he said in a statement.
There will always be at least one Gaming Commission agent at the Encore, which will be open 24 hours a day. Band said that during peak hours there will be three or four officers, who will staff an office that will include state soldiers and police officers from Everett.
Encore’s slots and table games will all be connected to the agency’s network operations center, allowing the Gaming Commission to ensure that devices are using the correct software and to ensure that Wynn pay his share of taxes. The state’s casino law of 2011 requires resort casinos to generate 25% of gross gaming revenue.
It will also allow the commission to keep an eye on the people who are trying to clean up the dirty money.
“This will give us notifications if we think someone is laundering money,” Band said. “So if, let’s say you’re at the machine and you just put in bills, maybe pull the handle once and cash it, that sends a text message to my gaming agents on the floor.”
Officers will then monitor to determine if the person is just an eccentric gamer or someone trying to make, for example, drug trafficking profits resembling gambling winnings. Band said that if this appears to be the latter, the agents will entrust the investigation to the state police.
And then there’s the Gaming Commission’s own surveillance system inside Encore, which Band hasn’t described in depth except to say it’s high definition.
What is high definition, exactly?
“The serial number on a dollar bill,” he says. “This is how close you can get.”
Joshua Miller can be reached at [email protected]