A New Jersey-based testing lab is recommending that casino regulators across the country shut down the latest line of slot machines developed by a local company that is going out of business.
Gaming Laboratories International LLC of Lakewood says there are too many potential legal and regulatory issues for casinos to keep the so-called “Axcess” machines in service.
In New Jersey, though, regulators said they have done their own testing on the Axcess machines and found no operating problems, so they will not shut them down at the Atlantic City casinos. The Axcess line was developed by Pleasantville-based AC Slots, which is in the process of closing after 35 years in business.
Gaming Laboratories International, or GLI, sent out notices Friday to regulators in the United States and other casino jurisdictions in North America, recommending that they revoke the certification for the Axcess slot machines, said Kevin Mullally, the company’s general counsel and senior director of government relations.
“There are all kinds of legal and regulatory issues that could create all kinds of problems,” Mullally said in an interview.
GLI serves as a test consultant for casino markets that do not have their own slot laboratories. New Jersey casino regulators, however, operate a state testing lab for slot machines in Atlantic City.
GLI tested and certified the Axcess line for most casino jurisdictions, but now says they should be turned off. The company warned there is no one to repair the slots if they break down and that ownership disputes over the machines and their components could follow AC Slots’ closure.
“If consumers are playing the machines and something goes wrong, who do you call?” Mullally said.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement plans to take no action for the Axcess machines at the Atlantic City casinos. The division said Friday it is aware of GLI’s recommendation, but noted that the company’s warnings were based on potential legal and regulatory issues. The division said that it found no operating problems with the slot machines during its testing.
“The division slot lab has thoroughly tested the Axcess platform and has not identified any integrity issues which would cause the division to revoke the product,” agency spokeswoman Lisa Spengler said in a statement.
Spengler added that the division also has found no operating problems with AC Slots’ older line of slot machines, so there is no need to revoke their certification, either.
“That being said, as with any discontinued product, the casino operator may find it hard to obtain parts or service,” Spengler noted. “It is a business decision for the casino operator as to whether it wants to continue to use the product or to remove it from the floor.”
Mullally said he did not know how many of the Axcess machines are in casinos across the country. Last February, AC Slots announced that it would supply Revel, Atlantic City’s newest casino, with 84 of the machines.
In its notice to regulators, GLI said it has been unable to contact anyone from AC Slots’ technical staff or management. AC Slots, the only slots manufacturer on the East Coast, notified employees in an internal memo Dec. 27 that it is going out of business. AC Slots’ owners have said little publicly other than to confirm the company is closing down.
AC Slots recently notified the New Jersey Department of Labor that it is laying off 100 employees from its Pleasantville facility, which had served as the company’s corporate headquarters and manufacturing plant. The facility is closing.
AC Slots, formerly known as AC Coin & Slots, was founded by businessman Mac Seelig cqin 1978, coinciding with the arrival of casino gambling in Atlantic City. The Seelig family had continued to own the company, with Mac Seelig and his three sons forming the management team.
AC Slots unveiled the Axcess line during the 2011 Global Gaming Expo trade show in Las Vegas. The Axcess series was regarded then as a key part of the company’s rebranding as an independent manufacturer, one no longer tied down by former licensing agreements that prevented it from developing and selling its own slot machines.
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