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Hell Freezes Over: Vegas Casino Loosens Slots!

By Chuckmonster on Tuesday, 6th July 2010 5:56am
  » filed under Awesome!  comments: 8


Dear Las Vegas Casino Operators,

You guys are dicks. I highly suggest that you read this piece of wisdom imparted by South Point owner Michael Gaughan to Sun reporter Liz Benston (Hi Liz!)

[slot machine customers] can sense when there's something different, when they used to come in and play for four hours and now they're playing for two hours with the same amount of money. Then you look around and wonder where your customers went.

I'll be honest. I don't go to your casinos to gamble nearly as much as I used to. Previously, I'd make the trip Vegas or a local tribal casino at least three times a month. One third of those times I'd come home flat broke, busted, cleaned out, lint pocketed loser. The other two times, I'd win a little or lose a little. When I wasn't gambling in a casino, I was playing poker daily online and in weekly home games. When I wasn't gambling, I was thinking, dreaming, practicing, reading or writing about gambling.

Everything seemed to change for me once the MGM Mirage/Mandalay and Harrah's/Caesars Entertainment mergers worked their way through the casino floors, giving two corporations control of the majority of the slot machines in Vegas. Since merger mania, nearly every trip was mercilessly massacred into flat broke, busted, cleaned out, lint pocketed loserness by an undeniably unplayable, ATM-in-reverse, slot machine. After about 15 of these trips in a row, my common sense took over and I started planning less trips and switched by trip expenditure budgets from gambling to higher quality room product and more culinary exploration.

Go ahead casino operators... keep blaming decreased visitation on the economy and I'll keep decreasing my visitation. I doubt that I'm the only Vegas slot player who's feeling a little fished out.

Tagged: south point   loose slots   


Comments & Discussion:

I haven't looked or done any research to back this up, but I tend to agree with you, that it at least seems like the slot payout for almost every casino in the country, is taking more and more money. I know so many people that have just stopped playing, because they never win anything. Its no secret, that Vegas wasn't built off of winners. However, in any game, if only one player wins every game, before long, people stop playing. I'd be curious to have someone in fact see, if the casino's have greatly increased their hold percentage on Slots now, vs several years ago, say 2006-2007.

(Golf Clap)

From my relatively low-roller perspective, I always thought Michael Gaughn got the big picture. I am still drawn to Bill's on every trip, probably in no small part due to the foundation that he laid there that Harrah's is desperately trying to bury.

Look here for 2007-2009: http://gaming.unlv.edu/media/slot_hold07-09.pdf

Here for 1992-2009, and sliced and diced more ways than I care to remember: http://gaming.unlv.edu/papers/cgr_op01_schwartz.pdf

Although my conclusions might surprise you: hold has gone up mostly, but not entirely, because players moved towards higher-denom machines. Loosening the hold on penny slots to 9% from 10% won't do much to stop the trend. There's been no real trend since the start of the recession either way.

When in towm I generally play the slots more than I do anything but I noticed that where I used to win more often I won less often and so spent less time at the slots and more time not gambling as much. It used to be that you could kill sometime at the slots while waiting to do something else and if the machines continue to be so tight then people will kill time drinking instead of gambling.

On my last trip in May, I took a Boulevard cruise down to M. On the way there was South Point looking bright and inviting on the west side of the street. My car is programmed to stop at such places. Inside South Point is nice and again bright and attractive. Prices at the buffet were a bargain but I didn't try it. It was Monday morning and not many people there at that time. I applaud Mr. Gaughan's intentions. I don't play slots but what's good for one type of gambler is good for all of us.

Hmm. And all this time I just chalked up spending less time at the slots and more time at restaurants my newfound "foodie-ness".
I remember the days where I would sit at a machine and drink roughly 11 Coronas during each session; I'd even walk away with two bowl-full of quarters. Now, the best thing to do is walk away if you lose a $20, or double it in the first 5 minutes. Not that I do that or anything...

Kudos to Gaughan for at least recognizing this move as a marketing tool to potentially increase customers right away and to theoretically increase long-term revenue by encouraging those customers to visit again. Routine slot players can recognize a 1-2% change ( what South Point has proposed..and done, apparently) in slot payback percentages because they have experience with how long their bankroll lasts for their specific playing conditions ( total bankroll, average wagers, time on device,etc). Even Gaughan's slot manager was against this move initially. If this proves effective and slot players get increased slot play time at South Point due to the higher paybacks, Gaughan may assume the role as a modern day McGyver ( or Batman / Superman ) among Vergas casino management reps. Hell , yeah...

Allow me to be the one to crap all over this (pun intended)...while yay for him on perhaps having looser slots, his casinos are tighter on craps by not offering more than 2x odds. Craps is far more important to me than slots though, so whatever floats your boat.

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