Incredibly innovative gaming solutions.

A short history of gaming technology

I’m regularly asked how G2S is better or different than what is currently on gaming floors. In a nutshell, it all comes down to speed and the ability to innovate. First, let’s talk about how we got to the current comfortable solution we’re all enjoying, and later, we can discuss why change is really for the better.

In the earliest slot floor management systems (circa 1975), accounting and security were all that was important, so system manufacturers came up with the concept of the Slot Machine Interface Board (SMIB), which they could stick into every slot machine (many were mechanicals or electro-mechanicals). These early SMIBs connected to a wiring harness that would detect when hard meters incremented, and had a number of mechanical door switches to tell when doors were opened. SMIBs worked and life was good.

A bit later (mid 1980’s), gaming machines got a bit more advanced and were able to start sending data through a serial connection to the SMIB. Even today, most Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs) speak an old (but good) protocol call SAS (IGT’s Slot Accounting System protocol). This protocol, created over 20 years ago, uses a slow serial link (19,200 bits per second) in which the host polls the EGM for information multiple times per second. For example:

HOST: “Do you have anything to tell me?”

EGM: “No”

HOST: “Do you have anything to tell me?”


HOST: “Do you have anything to tell me?”

EGM “No”

HOST: “Do you have anything to tell me?”

EGM: “Yes. Here’s a hex poll code that you need to understand so you can send me other hex codes to request more detail. If you get it wrong, or don’t get back to me at exactly the frequency that I’m expecting, I’m going to stop talking to you.”

These serial protocols (like SAS) worked fine for getting meters and tilts from the EGM, but they didn’t have the capacity to allow you to interact with your player or send configuration data to the EGM. So, system vendors were compelled to react by beefing up their SMIB and adding a card reader and a small display to identify employees and display tilt codes. In the late 1980s, SMIBs were expanded again to allow the casino to track players at the EGM. Over time, new and more advanced player peripherals were added to the SMIB – first keypads and buttons, then bigger displays, followed by lighted bezels around the card reader. Once again, life was good.

More recently, however, the general public has become tech savvy (especially with all of the cool new stuff happening on the Internet), making the rather static player experience supplied by the SMIB vendor a bit boring. System vendors have reacted with snappy 3”x6” displays that allow secondary games on them and menus of choices for the player. While these changes mark continual improvement, they’re not really up to the experience I get through my browser or on my iPhone. It really is time for another radical change.

And that’s where G2S comes in – a protocol that, from the ground up, was designed to communicate all of the accounting and security information from SAS, handle all of the player tracking communications that are currently happening with your SMIB, add in remote configuration of the EGM (downloading and installing new software) and access to all of the data that’s been locked inside the slot machines (you know, all of those metrics you now have to read at the EGM). Plus, it has been designed to run over a high-speed network that also accommodates streaming media, video conferencing, instant messaging, and anything else you can do on the Internet. And coolest of all is that the interactions with the player can occur on those two really big high def displays that are on most EGMs.

That concludes the history lesson. Next time, we’ll dive under the covers to see how easy G2S really is.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Radical Blue Gaming on LinkedIn

Browse the archive