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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Found Money, Free Stuff in Vegas

18 April 2004

What is the lowest percentage payback the casinos allowed to set their slot machines at in Nevada?

Louis

Dear Louis,

I don't remember what the number is exactly, but it's something like 75% -- far below what even the tightest machines in the state pay back.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear John,

Have really enjoyed reading your articles. Is there any software out there that has Kenny Rogers and Enchanted Forest on them? I would like to have them for my collection.

Thank you,
Sue

Dear Sue,

The only programs I know that have real casino machines are the programs from Masque Publishing, and neither Kenny Rogers nor Enchanted Forest are among the games available from them.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


I have an IGT slot, a traditional upright w/ validator. It was a 3-coin, quarter Sizzling 7s. I ordered an upgrade it to make it a Black Tie, 2-coin machine. They gave me the glass, reel strips, and 2 chips (Game and Reel), but no instructions.

I put the chips in, now the machine doesn't work. It has power - lights - noise, but doesn't function properly.

Can you help? How do I program it to run?

Thanks for listening, Jim

Dear Jim,

Congratulations on asking the most interesting question I've ever been asked.

Slot machines aren't consumer devices, so I can see that IGT would assume that the recipient of the upgrade kit has attended a technician's training course and would already know all the steps in a successful installation.

First, you have to be more specific about what is wrong with the machine. What exactly do you mean when you say that the machine doesn't work? What isn't functioning properly?

Second, I recommend that you join the Slot Techs forum at Delphi Forums (www.delphiforums.com). I'm sure one of the technicians there can help you.

Alternatively, you can ask a slot tech at your favorite casino. I've never met a slot tech who wasn't willing to talk once you expressed a technical interest in his or her job.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


This has bothered me since this happened....

Several years ago my husband and I were in Vegas. As we were walking up to the cashier, there was this big wad of folded over money on the floor. We knew there are eyes in the sky everywhere (and almost felt like it was planted). But......

I picked it up and took it to the cashier and asked whether anyone had "lost" (dumb question) any money. I showed him the money and gave it to him. He never said a word.

Now here's the question. I know the eye is always on the cashier, they can't walk away with the money or put it in their pocket. Did they report this to someone? Or legally because we did not steal it from anyone and it was on the floor, was it ours to keep or would security have hauled us off?

To this day I don't know which way we could or could not have gone. We never counted it to know what was there because I was so afraid of the big guys coming down and snatching us up and locking us away.

What would you have done, and what would have been legal?

I had another incident just recently where I saw a woman pull something out of her pocket and something dropped on the floor. I went over to see and it was a $20, I picked it up and put it in my pocket instead of chasing after her. Was this proper or could I have been arrested?

Thanks,
Nancy

Dear Nancy,

You asked a really great question in the middle of your letter: "What would you have done, and what would have been legal?"

You acknowledged that there's sometimes a difference between what we do and what is legal. To give a personal example, I have to go up and down a hill on my way home from work. The speed limit on the road with the hill is 25 mph. I keep my top speed at about 35 mph by downshifting when I reach the top of the hill. If I didn't, my speed would go up to about 45 mph, which is what many drivers end up doing.

Legally, no one should be going over 25 mph. Yet we all routinely go faster. Even the police tacitly allow a higher speed. I've passed many a policeman checking speeds on the road when I've been doing 35 mph and have never been stopped.

Turning to your found money, I'll have to let someone who is familiar with the law give the legal side. My limited understanding, though, is that all states have found property laws and everyone has to abide by them--in and out of the casino and whether casino owner, employee, or patron.

I think you should do what you would want others to do if the situation were reversed. If you had lost a wad of money, wouldn't you want someone who found it to turn it in?

I think you did the right thing by turning in the money. The employee should have then reported it and he probably did.

Your actions with the $20 bill that the lady dropped shows that our ethics are influenced by value. You turned over the wad of bills, but pocketed the twenty. Losing a wad of bills could be a disaster for someone, but the lady who lost the $20 may not ever realize she dropped it. It's a rationalization for not acting properly, though. If you had dropped the twenty, you would have wanted someone to return it to you, no?

I think the only thing you could have been arrested for is not being as diligent as you could have been in returning the money. It does however sound like it would have been unreasonable to expect you to go chasing after the lady once you saw what she had dropped. I think "Finders keepers, losers weepers" applies in this case.

Now, if you had been standing next to the lady and stepped on the bill so she couldn't see it, that would be different.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Love your advice, John.

I'm going to Vegas in May. How can I find out what free things there are to do while I am there?

Diana

Dear Diana,

Things change so frequently in Las Vegas, it's difficult to keep on top of them.

You can start with a guidebook, like Frommer's or Fodor's. These are a good source for the long-running freebies, like the volcano at the Mirage or the pirate show at TI.

For short-term promotions and events, you'll need something published more frequently. I recommend the Las Vegas Advisor (www.lasvegasadvisor.com). Anthony Curtis, the publisher of the Advisor, is the go-to guy for all things Vegas for Frommer and others. You've also seen him on many gambling-related shows. And, in the interest of full disclosure, he also publishes my books.

I also recommend that you subscribe to billhere's VegasResource.com newsletter. The newsletter contains offers for coupons for discounts, free admissions, etc. Subscribe and order coupons at www.VegasResource.com.

Finally, pick up the give-away magazines when you arrive for even more coupons and ideas. And buy the Review-Journal or Sun daily and check out the casino ads.

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 send a reply to every question. Also be advised that it may take two or more months for your question to appear in my column.

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