|Gaming regulators last Thursday forced Harrah’s Casino to remove 109 slot machines at Harrah's Atlantic City and Showboat because they did not replace or upgrade them before the end of their 12-year regulatory lifespan.|
The Division of Gaming Enforcement told Harrah’s last year that the slots needed attention. A 2-year-old rule requires that slots be replaced, removed or retested by Jan. 2 after the 12th anniversary of its last approval.
The Casino Control Commission voted 4-0 to deny a request by Harrah's Entertainment for more time to replace or upgrade the slots.
'We're very concerned about setting a precedent for waiving a regulation,' CCC Chair Linda Kassekert said. 'They had a year's notice.'
Showboat began its approval process to replace 64 slots shortly after the DGE notice, Harrah's Entertainment said in its petition. 'The approval was delayed,' the company said.
Showboat could replace only 10 slots before the deadline, it said.
Harrah's Atlantic City bought 55 kits, for $38,000, to upgrade its expiring slots but said supplier International Game Technology (IGT) couldn't deliver them until later this month.
Harrah's Entertainment called the 12-year slot-expiration rule 'arbitrary.'
'It's like being forced to send a car to the junkyard at 50,000 miles,' said Luther Anderson, vice president of legal affairs for Harrah's Eastern Division. 'These are perfectly serviceable, revenue-generating machines.'
Harrah's Entertainment said the two casinos would 'suffer economic hardship' by having to remove the slots, adding that the state would also lose tax revenue if the slots were removed. Casinos pay an 8% state tax on gambling revenue.