If you ever pay attention to what slot attendants do when they work with various slot machines, you may see them pull out a booklet and make a note each time they do something to a machine, like adding TITO paper or opening the door to reset an error.
There’s actually a name and acronym for this, which is the “Machine entry authorization log,” or MEAL book (or card).
While slots can log when something’s happened to them, like any computer, the precise resolution, and more importantly, who did it, is not necessarily captured. The keys to slot machines aren’t unique and so the MEAL Book is a simple, low tech, and time tested way to track what’s happened when.
Furthermore, MEAL book/cards are generally required under regulations to have a paper trail to be able to review who did what and when, to see who may have accessed a machine, and for what reason(s).
Security is critical when it comes to slot machines; as such, along with MEAL book/cards you may see slot techs put their card and a PIN in a machine when opening it up – all is for the same reason – to log what’s happening, when and why.
One reason is because of us – some players look suspiciously at slot techs and believe that they are turning down paybacks. They may even file a complaint, and, when investigated, those logs can help confirm what actually was done at the time. This can be matched up with camera footage, etc.
Trust is a critical part of the ability for casinos to have a business model, and they have various levels of security and monitoring to ensure all is on the up and up for those who challenge it, whether it be regulators or public complaints. The MEAL book/card is just another way to reinforce the information capture for those scenarios.