We are in the home stretch and on our way to making casino floors run with 50 percent more energy efficiency

It seems pretty obvious to me, after the BP oil spill debacle, that we will see some big changes in the months to come for renewable energy.

What does this have to do with the casino industry and with slot machines in particular? The answer is fairly simple: Slot machines use energy and right now that means oil/natural gas/electric. In the future though, it could mean wind turbines, solar arrays, hydro-electric plants, co-generation or some other renewable energy source.

The casino industry in the United States alone is huge and growing all the time. The industry as a whole has seen a horrible few years and seems to be stuck trying to figure out how to get out of the hole. Maybe the answer is to lower long-term operational costs so that your profit margin can stay the same or increase even in the face of flat or down revenues. This is easily done by implementing Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs), instead of the traditional lay-offs/furlough days/demotions which actually hurt productivity and efficiency.

Now I’m not saying that green slot machines will save the world and its many diverse eco-systems, but it is a good consumer-facing Green initiative that allows you to start that conversation with your players about why sustainability is important to you and your organization. As we get closer and closer to our public comment period, we all look forward to gaining valuable insight into what is important to those that didn’t join our team.

“Leonardo Academy is extremely pleased with the efforts that have been put into the development of this standard,” said Michael Arny, president of Leonardo Academy. “The perspectives represented by the Sustainable Gaming Standards Committee characterize the many facets of the gaming industry, and it is evident that the concepts being explored will revolutionize how electronic gaming machines are designed in the future. We anticipate that with the committee entering its fourth full review, the standard should be available for public comment sometime by fall 2010.”

That period will mark the next phase of this process, because once the document goes out for public comment, the team will need to decide how to move forward. There will be a need for education and implementation assistance for the companies adopting the standard, and then comes the daunting task of deciding what we tackle next. Should it be a standard for indoor air quality in a casino, or maybe one to help with the ever growing need within the industry for more power? Maybe it will be something as daunting as developing a new Energy Star rating for casinos.

No matter what we tackle next, we can’t move forward until we complete what we have set out to do. We need to finish this first standard that will allow our casino floors operate at a 50 percent discount. This is the first step towards universal sustainability within our industry. It is open source, so all can follow along and start at the same place.

That being said, there is still time to join the Sustainable Gaming Standards Committee as a full voting member, as an observer, or as a sponsor (either financial or media).

It is nice to see that over the past year, so many more organizations within our industry have either joined our cause, or have begun/continued to work on their own Environmental Conservation Measures. Most, if not all, of the major slot machine manufacturers are now building machines that meet our first goal of a machine that is 25 percent more efficient than the ones being built just before the Sustainable Gaming Standard Committee began its work.

We are in the home stretch here and on our way to making casino floors run with 50 percent more energy efficiency. We need your help to make this an ANSI Standard that will be widely adopted within an industry that desperately needs to find ways to curtail costs without impacting the customer/player experience.

Join the team, and show the industry how important long-term stakeholder value is to you and your organization. You can help to shape the more efficient way that our industry will need to operate in the near future to keep operational costs low while increasing profit margins.