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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask the Slot Expert: More on Florida's amendment about gambling expansion

31 October 2018

Question: 1) About Florida, making the voters be the only ones to initiate gambling probably adds another layer to the process, too. If they jump through the hoops, then the legislators probably still need to enact a law on what to implement and how (or else it's open season and I can have a casino in my basement).

Don't you think if nothing else, the government will need to then deal with all the details by passing laws of procedure?

2) W-2G. The one thing you didn't point out to the questioner (even though you mentioned that as a professional gambler you report ALL winnings) is that according to the IRS gambling winnings ARE income and he is expected to (required, in IRS terms) report those winnings whether or not the casino was required to give him a W-2G.

As your reply concludes, simplifying the tax code regarding gambling income is the real solution.

Answer: In an episode of The Odd Couple, Oscar and Felix are talking about taxes. Felix says that he reports all of his income — as he is supposed to, as you pointed out — even the quarter a little old lady gave him for helping her cross the street.

That said, I can't imagine anyone reporting anything on their taxes if they didn't get a W-2G. (Well, I have to take that back. I know people who made a lot (A LOT) of money playing craps and counting cards and they reported gambling income on their taxes because their other income was not sufficient to support the lifestyle they were living.)

If we could report winnings — not the total of our winning sessions, but our true net win — on the 1040, then people might comply. But we have to report winning sessions on Form 1040 and then report losing sessions as an itemized deductions. Increasing your Adjust Gross Income may affect your qualifying for government programs. Why open up that can of worms if you don't have to? Furthermore, what casual gambler keeps the records necessary to support the figures reported?

Moving on to Florida, there are already non-tribal casinos in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. They are regulated by the Division of Business and Professional Regulation. I think the government has already set up the procedures for non-tribal casinos.

The decision is whether voters or legislators should decide if gambling should be expanded. A yes vote gives voters the decision.

It's interesting to see who supports and opposes the measure. The Florida Chamber of Commerce and No Casinos Inc support the measure. They are both against the expansion of gambling, so they must think that most voters are too.

Hialeah Park and West Flagler Associates, LTD both oppose the measure. Hialeah Park is a racino. I imagine that they also oppose the expansion of gambling. On their website they have a link to an anti-3 website, which is mainly about the loss of funds for education because the amendment "could require the removal of some existing slot machines."

"Who is West Flagler Associates?" you may ask. They run the Magic City Casino. So I assume they also oppose the expansion of gambling but, like Hialeah Park, I didn't find an explicit statement from them saying so.

All of the organizations I checked either explicitly oppose the expansion of gambling or can reasonably be expected to do so. Yet some think voters are more likely to oppose expansion and so they support the measure. And some think legislators are more likely to oppose expansion, so they are against the measure.

I have to admit that I was hoping to find two groups that either supported or opposed the measure, one in favor of expanding gambling and one opposed.

Alas, I did not find them so I'll have to save the closing line that politics makes strange bedfellows for another time.


Question: What's a good bank roll for 27.00 a pull in slots to get that house edge or that depends on the RNG?

Answer: I almost always edit questions to fix misspellings, to clarify sentences that aren't clear and to remove extraneous information. The only times that I don't edit a question is when someone attacks me or other writers or espouses some conspiracy theory.

None of those situations applies here. I believe that English is not your first language and my French is pretty much limited to reading the subtitles. (Though my German is slightly better. My proudest moment is when I was at Neuschwanstein (the model for Cinderall's castle) and I asked a guidebook vendor, in German, how much a particular guidebook cost. He said, in German, that I didn't want that one because it was in English. I replied, in English with my New Jersey accent, "I know. I need the English version.") I don't know what you mean by the second part of your question, so I'll use the concepts you mentioned as a starting point and hope that I give a satisfactory answer.

Twenty-seven dollars a spin is more than I'm willing to bet on a slot. I have played a few hands of $5 9/6 Jacks when I had a very high multiplier, but I was extremely nervous on every hand.

On traditional reel-spinning slots, I recommend having a bankroll of 100 times your bet ($2,700). That gives you at least 100 chances at hitting a high-paying winning combination.

The bankroll requirements are less on a high-hit frequency video slot that can pay back less than your bet on a spin. Here I recommend 50 times your bet ($1,350). Because these machines hit more frequently than reel-spinning machines, small bankrolls tend to last longer than on the reel-spinning machines.

The RNG has nothing to do with house edge. The RNG just generates a stream of numbers and it doesn't know or care what the program running the slot machines does with them.

The house edge is affected only by the reel layouts and the pay table. The reel layouts are not affected by how much you bet, but the pay table might be. Sometimes you have to make larger bets to be eligible for progressives or to increase how frequently some randomly triggered event occurs. These are two methods that slot designers can use to lower the house edge for players making the larger bets.

So, I think you should have a bankroll of 50 to 100 times your bet to try to prevent going broke quickly. And check the pay table to make sure you're betting enough to enable all of the features. At $27 per spin, I would assume you're betting enough and you might even be able to bet less and still enable all of the features.


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