Do you know that slot machines in big Vegas casinos these days don't take coins? That's right: You can't put a quarter into a quarter slot or a nickel into a nickel slot or a penny into a penny slot. You can put in paper things, sure--dollar bills or paper vouchers--but you can't pull some loose change from you pocket and drop it into a coin slot for a chance to turn your quarter into one hundred billion dollars.
The result of this is kind of sad. Not only can you not put change in, you also can not get change out. Gone are the days when a jackpot win meant piles of quarters filling up the tray, clink!-clink!-clinking! one by one. A sort of computerized clink sound plays when you cash out, but all you receive is a paper voucher with a bar code to insert into another machine or take to the cashier to collect your winnings, whatever they may be.
Our friend Mike had a voucher for one penny and, mostly to see her reaction, he visited the cashier to claim his cent. The hotel cashier did not even blink, she simply scanned the voucher and handed over the single coin.
You can still find the old-fashioned coin-operated slots in some of the older casinos off the strip. These are the casinos that offer dollar hot dogs and dollar shots and dollar deep-fried Twinkies. These casinos have been open for decades without once updating the carpets or the cocktail waitresses or the slot machines. They probably have never even changed the grease that they fry the corn dogs in.
Somehow we ended up at one of the casinos, the whole gang eating greasy fries and drinking alcohol from football shaped cups. We were throughly enjoying dropping coins into the machines, hearing the satisfying clink!-clink! of money dropping into the metal tray, and filling up plastic buckets with coins.
Some hours later, upon arriving back at our hotel on the strip, heavy bucket of quarters in hand, we approached the cashier to redeem our coins for paper bills. And here's what's crazy: the hotel wouldn't cash in our quarters. Our coins--the very currency Las Vegas was built on, for Pete's sake--were simply no good. Not only can you not play with coins, not only are you deprived of the clink!, but you can't even turn coins into paper bills. Coins are officially obsolete.
In any event, we returned home from our Vegas trip with some good memories, a desperate need for a nap, and one big ass bag of quarters.