Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Best of John Robison
Ask the Slot Expert: Are casinos afraid of players winning on slots?9 November 2016
Answer: You're making some incorrect assumptions about 88 Fortunes. For one, the machine does not reveal the values under the coins that you did not pick.
There are only 12 coins in the bonus round, so it appears as if there are three coins for each of the four progressives. It appears as if you have an equal chance of hitting each of the four progressives. But reports from players indicate that they hit the lower progressives much more frequently than the upper progressives.
I have been unable to get a PAR sheet for the game or a response to my questions from the manufacturer, but one slot manager told me that it is possible to be awarded any of the four progressives when the bonus round is triggered.
Notice that I said awarded. It appears as if the software running the machine randomly chooses the progressive you will win when the bonus round is triggered, then it fills the screen with two coins each for the progressives you weren't awarded and four coins for the progressive you were awarded.
There is no way to win the progressives you were not awarded because there are only two coins for them. Your choices don't matter because only one progressive has enough coins to be awarded.
I think this machine is misleading because it gives you the impression that you can win any of the progressives in the bonus round. One could argue that the bonus wheel on Wheel of Fortune gives the impression that each amount is equally likely and we accept the fact that that is not true, so why shouldn't we just accept the same fact about the progressives on 88 Fortunes.
I think player interaction makes the difference. On Wheel of Fortune, the machine spins and stops the wheel so it's clear that the software has determined the outcome. On 88 Fortunes, you pick coins and the machine gives the misleading impression that your choices determine the result.
Answer: On the contrary, casinos love winners. So much so that they put their pictures on monitors, video walls, billboards and websites. The casinos hope that players will see ordinary folks win big and think that if that person could win, so could they.
I did some research online and as I suspected, Canada, like the United States, has regulations requiring the reporting of large cash transactions to combat money laundering. According to a page on the British Columbia Lottery Commission website, "Players must produce government ID to receive payouts for transactions over $10,000" Because you've hit the $10,000 threshold, each additional handpay also requires government ID. You're on the watchlist not because you've won, but because of the amount you've won. And it's due to government regulations to prevent money laundering, not casino procedures to punish winners.
In the United States, you have to provide ID for jackpots of $1200 or more for the creation of the tax form. Casinos used to be required to report jackpot payouts over $10,000, but that requirement was lifted about 10 years ago because there was very little risk of money laundering when a casino paid a jackpot.
I recently won $10,000 on a video poker machine. I was paid with a banded brick of 100 $100 bills. I thought I was going to have a problem when I deposited the money in my bank, but the teller didn't even bat an eyelash. Because of the amount, he had to have the manager verify the deposit. When she said that the amount was correct, I said that it should be. The money came from the Suncoast Casino. The bank may have had to report the transaction, but I didn't have to fill out any forms or prove the source of the money.
I don't know what happened at Planet Hollywood. I've never heard of a slot player who wasn't caught cheating or bothering other players being barred from a casino. Video poker players, yes, but not slot players. The extra tier points given by the manager seem to indicate that the supervisor made some sort of mistake. I've heard of players being given conciliatory slot points, but being given tier points is rare.
Casinos aren't afraid of people legitimately winning on their machines. The Slot Director at the Desert Inn told me this story. He was playing golf on the DI course when the assistant director called him on his cell phone.
"Someone just hit a royal on the $100 video poker machine in the High Limit room," said the assistant. That's $400,000.
"Everything okay on the machine?" the director asked.
"Yes. What should I do?"
"Pay the man."
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at email@example.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.
Best of John Robison