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Best of John Robison
Ask The Slot Expert2 August 2001
I took a quick look at the Colorado Division of Gaming website (www.gaming.state.co.us) and I couldn't find any regulations that prohibit a casino from disclosing its payback percentages and I also couldn't find one that requires a casino to do so. I did find this regulation concerning the minimum payback:
12-47.1-813. Minimum payback - limit to a slot machine. The minimum theoretical payback value on a slot machine shall be at least eighty but not more than one hundred percent of the value of any credit played. However, this section shall not be construed to prohibit tournament slot machines with theoretical payback values greater than one hundred percent where such machines do not accept nor pay out coins or tokens.
In reality, payback percentages are much higher than the statutory minimums due to competition. Colorado doesn't release figures on a casino basis, but they do on a regional basis. In March 2001, Cripple Creek had the highest paybacks for nickel (93.5%) and quarter machines (94.6%), and Black Hawk was highest for dollar (95.4%) and $5 machines (96.5%). Overall, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek tied with an average payback of 94.5% for March.
Gambling requires trust. Gamblers trust the casino is running a fair game and that the state regulators are ensuring that all games are fair. One way to enhance the level of trust is to disclose payback percentages by casino. Colorado's gamblers may also benefit from having more detailed and verifiable (unlike the Fitzgerald's claim you mentioned) payback information when casinos increase their paybacks to get a competitive advantage over their competitors.
Colorado's state legislators wrote the gaming regulations. They can rewrite them. Write to your state legislators and tell them that you don't want to be kept in the dark when you wager your money, that you want to know which casinos have the best payouts on their slot machines.
Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about slots and video poker, we recommend:Break the One-Armed Bandits! by Frank Scoblete
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