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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask the Slot Expert: Are players' clubs useful for quarter slot players?

13 August 2014

I'd like your opinion on the following casino marketing strategy.

Empire City Casino sends me e-mails showing big jackpot winners. [Images of a $10,209.29 hit from a $5 bet on a Quick Hit Platinum machine and a $12,866,84 hit from a 40-cent bet on a Cash Spin machine were attached.] They have over 5,000 slots, so your odds are still high.

In Atlantic City, where I play, they don't "advertise" the big jackpot hits unless they're a million or more and then I usually read about it in the news. Do other casinos do this "tease" marketing? Just curious.

Some do, some don't. One of the casinos in Atlantic City (I think it was Bally's) had a winner's wall on one of their boardwalk entrances.

I've noticed that big jackpot winners are getting fewer and farther between. I think it's because it's difficult to win $10,000+ jackpots when your $3 bet is spread over 25 or more paylines. And that's assuming you can even win $10,000 or more on a penny machine.


So you want to say that money left behind in slot machines belongs to the casino. Well, I think that's a crock.

I know someone who dropped over a $200 voucher on the floor and a man picked it up. He told the man it was his and he refused to give it back. Security was called and they told him he could not prove it was his. All they had to do was look at the ticket and see which machine it came out of and look back at the cameras and know the time, amount and who was playing and cashed out the ticket. Instead they told him he could not prove it was his.

Therefore I think if someone leaves credits in a machine and walks away, they belong to whomever sits down to play that machine. The casino does not donate the money — they cash the tickets out and tear them up and throw them away.

It's not really me saying that money left on a slot machine belongs to the casino, sometimes it's casino policy and many times it's the regulation in the jurisdiction.

I'm quite surprised that your friend's casino did nothing to try to determine the true owner of the ticket. They didn't even need to check surveillance footage. All they had to do was separate the two players and ask each one which machine printed the ticket. Then check the ticketing system to see which slot machine issued the ticket and who named the correct machine.


Here’s a question for slot and video poker players.

Articles by you and other gaming writers all say to be sure to play with your card to receive full credit for entitlements for your play.

But is that true for people who only get to Vegas once, maybe twice, a year? How much more can a quarter player, even a dollar player, receive if he is one of those people who does not play more often than stated?

To me it seems like a waste of time to get cards from all casinos when you have 5-7 days maybe one or two times a year.

Is it worth it? Absolutely.

I think spending 10 to 14 days a year on vacation in Las Vegas makes you above average in terms number of days in Las Vegas.

It's much easier to get cards for all the major casinos today than it was when I first started joining players' clubs and collecting player's cards almost 20 years ago (20 years? Sheesh.) Now a half-dozen or so cards gets you set up in all the major casinos from Wynn to Mandalay Bay.

There's a principle in marketing that it's easier (and cheaper) to turn a current customer into a better customer, and a former customer into a current customer, than to turn a stranger into a customer. By joining the club, you're no longer a stranger. You've indicated your interest in the casino just by giving it your name and address, so you might get a discounted room offer even if you don't drop a penny in a machine (Hmm. I used to write "don't drop a nickel.") You might get a gift for joining the club or you might have to earn a few points to get a sign-up gift. You also might get bonus points for playing on your sign-up day.

The offers you get as a result of your play depend on the amount of action you give. You can earn free play, free meals, free rooms, free slot tournaments and whatever else the casino decides to give away.

The bottom line is that the casino rewards its players, but it has to know who they are. I don't know what offers you'll receive if you get a card. But I do know the offers you'll get without one — none.


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