An information and communication system permits communication between gaming machines and a central control system and between a player or operator and a central control system. The system includes a central data processor, a control unit for each gaming machine within the system which is in communication with the central data processor and a user interface which includes a keypad, a card reader and a display. A user interface is secured to each gaming machine and operatively connected to the control unit. The keypad can be used by a player or operator to transmit information to the central data processor. The control unit can be used to identify special players and transmits messages, including promotional messages, for display. The control unit includes memory which contains personality data for the gaming machine and can be used to transmit the personality data from the user interface to its memory. The control unit can accept personality data from a card inserted into the card reader and can be enabled by a personal identification number entered on the keypad. The system provides multiple features including automated maintenance, game accounting, security, player tracking, event tracking, employee/player interaction from the game to the central data processor, cashless operation of gaming machines, reserving gaming machines and other functions.