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Best of John Robison

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Are retirees the source of casino profits?

28 October 2006

I am 71 years old and retired. I am able to visit casinos in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Western New York, and West Virginia. My visits are usually during the week.

It seems that if it were not for retired folks visiting casino during the week, the casinos would have to close. Therefore, it seems that without the retired folks, casinos would not be a profitable business.

Are the retired folks the source for most of the casino profits?

Frank

Dear Frank,

I don't think it's correct to say that retired folks are the source for most casino profits, but I think they are an important part of the overall profit picture.

I think profits from the midweek visitors cover most, if not all, of the fixed costs of running the casino. That leaves the weekend and high-limit visitors to generate most of the profit, in much the same way that the economy-class passengers on a plane cover the costs of running the flight and the business and first-class passengers provide most of the profit.

Every casino has a slightly different mix, but I don't think a casino could survive on midweek visitors only, which it could if they were the source for most of the profits.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


From http://maroon.uchicago.edu/online_edition/?p=1363

For these responsible users, the ban must seem baffling — why is a low-stakes game of late-night poker a crime?

The answer is a troubling example of the role of lobbyists and special interest groups in shaping legislation. State lottery commissions, Vegas honchos, and local casinos have formed one of the most unsavory and potent lobbies, able to exercise the vast power of the federal government against their most promising competitor.

Even worse, the gambling lobby and the politicians doing its bidding have argued against online gambling by attacking the legality and morality of their rivals, all while hiding behind government protection. Hypocritical? Yes, but it gets worse. The federal government has no problem with states preying on poor minorities with their state lotteries, but when it comes to affluent (you have to have a computer and a high-speed connection) poker enthusiasts, a whole set of different rules apply.

Thought you might find this interesting.

mb

Dear mb,

Thanks for sharing that article with us.

I don't think that the major gaming corporations ("Vegas honchos") oppose online gaming today. They did a few years ago, but know I think they'd love to be able to get a piece of the online pie. Online gaming can be a natural extension of the physical casino in the same way that ordering from Costco.com, say, is a natural extension of shopping at a Costco warehouse. MGM used to run an online casino that did not accept bets from the U.S., but they shut it down years ago.

A similar situation occurred in the entertainment industry. Thirty years ago the studios tried to prevent video recorders from getting into homes. Today some (many? most?) films make most of their money from home video.

There is hypocrisy when it comes to governmental treatment of state lotteries. Lotteries are, for the most part, a hidden tax on the lower class. I don't remember where I read it, but a survey showed that the number of lottery tickets people buy each year goes down as their income goes up.

In addition, here in New Jersey, casinos have to be very careful with their advertising and they can't lead people on with the possibility of winning big.

The NJ State Lottery slogan is: Give Your Dreams a Chance. In New York, the slogan is: All It Takes Is a Dollar and a Dream.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't send a reply to every question. Also be advised that it may take several months for your question to appear in my column.

John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots