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Do Class II machines compete against each other?

4 February 2008

Hi John,

My husband and I like to go to Oklahoma and play the slots because they have the "red screen rolling" action. We know those are Class II machines and are based on a bingo pattern. I was just reading over some of your answers to other questions and I see that we are actually playing against other people rather than the house. Now are those just the people on the same server as your machine or the whole casino? As for playing different denominations ($.25 vs $1), are the payouts higher playing the $1 machine like they are for Class III?

The state is building a new casino that will be closer to where we live and the money will stay in Kansas, however we're unsure whether to play there once it's done because . . . (fact or myth) everything has to get paid for, so the payouts will be low? Plus we really like the chance to win more money and each spin with the Class III machine gives us that chance, so we just may pass it on by to keep going to Oklahoma.

Do you know anywhere in Vegas where there are Class II machines? Is there a good website or book that talks about Class II machines?

Thank you for any information you can impart.

Kim

Dear Kim,

I don't think it's correct to say that you are playing against other players in a Class II system they way you play against other players in a bingo game, but I have very little experience with either, so I might be wrong.

In bingo, you are competing with others to be the first to complete a pattern on one of your bingo cards, and if multiple players complete the pattern on one draw, then they have to share the prize.

On the Class II system, you are not racing to be first to complete a pattern. Once enough players have started a game, the central server draws a set of numbers and sends them down to each machine participating in this drawing. Each machine covers its bingo card with the numbers set to it. It then compares the pattern created with a table of winning patterns and then spins the reels to display the appropriate winning combination. If a winning pattern was not covered, the machine spins the reels to a randomly chosen losing pattern. For the next spin, the bingo cards are cleared and everyone starts over from scratch.

As for whether higher-denomination machines pay back better, it's tough to say for sure because Class II casinos don't release as much information as other casinos do. Many Class II casinos are run by companies that also run Class III casinos and the economics of both casinos are the same, so I would assume that the higher-denomination machines do have higher long-term paybacks.

Everything has to be paid for no matter how old a casino is and casino companies don't expect to recoup their investment in a short period of time. Casinos decide what long-term payback they will have by denomination on their slot floor, and they pretty much stick to that percentage unless market conditions dictate a change.

There are a few tribal casinos in Nevada (search on "tribal casinos Nevada" to find them), but I don't know whether they have Class II or Class III machines. Try searching for "Class II," NIGC, and IGRA to find more information about Class II machines. I don't know of any slot books that discuss Class II machines. Class II gaming has really taken off in the past few years, so look for books written in the last year or two.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

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