CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Lack of replacement parts another reason old slots disappear

3 October 2018

Question: Regarding a recent question about slot paybacks on cruise ships and your statement that generally the video poker machines have worse pay tables than land-based casinos, I can attest that it is true. Having sailed on many different ships, the VP tables are "not playable" by Vegas standards.

However, the casino visits do provide some entertainment and, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Even with all that in mind, I hit progressive royals on back-to-back days while on a 2008 cruise. I suspect I was playing DDB but cannot recall what the pay table was.

So, it IS possible to disembark from a cruise vacation with a very nice casino profit.

Answer: A cruise is usually a short-term experience, unless you're on the S.S. Minnow or in a Twilight Zone episode. When we say that video poker pay tables are not "playable," that's from the standpoint of giving a machine a lot of play.

When you play on a cruise, a few hours a day for a few days, randomness has a much greater effect on your results than the paytable. The odds of hitting a royal, moreover, are about the same regardless of paytable. A bad paytable means that you might have to feed the machine more frequently than if it had a better paytable.

I'm reminded of a statement a slot manager made at a seminar I attended many years ago. "Even the tightest machine in the world pays its jackpot occasionally."

The video poker may not be good on a cruise ship, but hold your nose and hold some cards and have some fun.


Question: A recent column of yours mentions the removal of older, "classic" slots.

After talking to several slot personnel, including supervisors, I come to find out that IGT, for one, is no longer making replacement parts and that some parts can only be "burglarized" from older machines. So, even though some of us, me included, prefer the older, three-reel mechanical jobs, yeah, I fear they won't be around very much longer.

Also, I've had to call more attendants over to fix a "tilt" then I care to remember; video jobs are way more maintenance-friendly.

I do not miss the old "coin-only" machines and handi-wipes!

Answer: Yes, lack of replacement parts is another reason an old machine will disappear from a slot floor. At some point all manufacturers stop making replacement parts for some models and your only choices are to cannibalize parts from other units or upgrade.

I recently wanted to add more temperature sending units to my home weather station, but I discovered that the company no longer made new units compatible with my base unit. Rather than search for used units or a vendor with old inventory, I decided to upgrade.

Moving parts wear out. Spinning reels on a video monitor last as long as the monitor works, but stepper motors in a reel-spinning slot may have to be replaced periodically.

At least hopper fills and hopper tilts are a thing of the past. About 20 years ago there were some "experts" on The Good Times Radio Show who thought that cashless slots would never catch on. I put experts in quotes because these guys mainly played table games and only played slots enough to be able to write an article or a book about them. They ridiculed the artificial ding-dinging imitating the sound of coins hitting the tray that some of these machines made.

Boy, were they wrong. Ticket systems quickly spread on slot floors.


Question: I have contacted a few congresspersons about the effect of the new tax law and the increased standard deduction. I think we could collaborate on getting this onerous situation fixed. It’s a very unfair situation and if the population of slot players and other gamblers knew the facts I think we could bring about change. I honestly don’t think politicians understand the nuance here so getting the law changed may be easier than one might think.

Answer: I agree with you wholeheartedly that legislators don't understand the casino business. They see enormous sums of money moving back and forth between casinos and players and see an opportunity to tax. They don't realize that the majority (88+%) of the money has to go back to the players. The river of money flowing through the casino may be deep, but only the white caps are really available.

I don't think the increase in the standard deduction is the real problem with taxes on gambling. For many players, the new standard deduction will be greater than the sum of their itemized deductions and gambling losses, so they're better off taking the standard deduction. If their deductions and losses are greater, they'll itemize. The only thing that has changed for the recreational gambler is that the bar for switching from standard deduction to itemized deductions has been raised.

There are some goofy changes for people who file as a professional gambler, the main effect being to make it so the filer cannot claim a loss. It seems to me there is a much simpler way to get the same result. In New Jersey, business losses could not be used to offset other income. If I remember correctly, the instructions for the New Jersey version of the Schedule C said that if you calculated a net loss on the form, you wrote zero on the main form. The new tax law could have left the calculation of net gambling income the same, but if you have a net loss you write zero on the 1040.

I think the real problem with taxes on gambling is the fact that you can't declare net winnings on the 1040. You may really have a small profit or a net loss, but because you have to declare all your winnings on one line and your losses on another, the phantom increase in Adjusted Gross Income may affect your Social Security, health insurance subsidies, etc.

What changes would you like to see in the new tax law?

By the way, Jean Scott is currently researching all of the nuances of the new tax lax as it applies to gamblers for an update to her Tax Help for Gamblers book.


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