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By Howard Schwartz (Manager of the Gambler's Book Shop in Las Vegas)

Rich Lehman, who's been in the casino business more than 20 years, has written a book that cannot be more timely, as the gaming industry continues to rely more and more on slot machine revenue and as more players flock to the machines for hopes of the "Big Jackpot" or an occasional bell ringer to keep them in action.

Slot Operations (The Myth and the Math) (188 pages, hardbound, $50) answers questions which have been asked by casino designers and operators for generations—including the all-important factor of proper floor design techniques which equate to making the customer feel confident, secure, happy, which leads to customer loyalty and return business.

One of the six major sections is devoted to the job description and responsibilities of slot department personnel staff. This includes change persons, booth cashier, slot floor person, slot shift manager, technicians, slot repair manager, club manager and supervisor, marketing manager, slot manager, slot director and slot analyst.

Lehman then moves to Policies and Procedures where he covers procedure manuals, which must have details on reporting and withholding whenever jackpots are hit, and this includes Keno, Caribbean Stud and Let It Ride, plus giveaway and drawing prizes. And they all vary slightly because a winner may or may not be a U.S. citizen. The section on Cash Control, Check Cashing (including Traveler's Check and Cashier's Checks) is vital; and this includes a list of types of checks that are not to be cashed.

What is the procedure for Overages and Shortages? Also, what about Revenue Accounting and Accountability plus Control of Slot Change Banks; the Slot/Currency Drop/Count and the Slot Coin Drop/Count? The book answers these and questions about Hand Pay Jackpots and Hopper Fills which meet all regulatory reporting requirements (leading to quick guest payouts with a minimum of disruption of play and minimum down time).

Without proper Key Controls, any casino is vulnerable to theft or fraud. Lehman moves next to Machine Lock Policy, proper use of security tape to protect the programmable chip in each machine; what to do about unattended minors; later explaining the all-important and often misunderstood Hold Percentage.

Clearly this is a management must-read, must-have book. I'd be willing to guess that many top management people are still in the dark about this crucial area of revenue generation and many a future promotion or demotion will hang in the balance unless the full picture is understood by those in the $300 or more suits.

(The books mentioned here are available from Gambler's Book Shop, 630 South 11th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101. Call l-800-522-1777 from 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday Pacific time to order, using only MasterCard, VISA or Discover card (no Amex accepted). You may order through the store web site at and view the store's 1,000 books, videos and computer software. You may also call or write and ask for the free 80-page catalog to be sent to you. The store, founded in 1964, is located about two miles from Downtown Las Vegas, and the same distance from where the Strip begins, a block west of Maryland Parkway, just off Charleston Boulevard.)