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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Where Is the Price Right for Buying My Own Price Is Right Slot Machine?

23 September 2004

Any comments regarding slot play at West Virginia Racinos such as Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort or Wheeling Island.

From reviewing the Mountaineer annual stockholders report about money in and money out of the machines, they seem to have paybacks in 2002 of 92.6% up from 88% in 2000. They do not publish the percentage, but it seems reasonable from the calculation and my experience playing at Mountaineer. These casinos are under the scrutiny of the West Virginia State Lottery. a little different than Indian casinos.

They seem to actually pay off better than the strip casinos in Vegas.

Keep up the good work,
Tim

Dear Tim,

I checked the latest Mountaineer annual report and found slightly different numbers. I think I have a later report than the one you used and that explains the difference in the numbers.

According to the 2003 annual report, in 2003 Mountaineer had total wagers of $2,804,920,000 and returned $2,560,670,000 to players for an overall payback of 91.3%. The numbers printed for 2002 are $2,657,603,000, $2,433,105,000, 91.6%, and for 2001 (the earliest I found in this report) $1,677,028,000, $1,492,506,000, 89.0%.

In February 2004, the slots on the strip paid back an average of 93.4%, so Mountaineer's slots overall do not pay back a higher percentage than the strip's slots.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear John,

I am going to the Smoky Mountains and I wanted to go over the mountains to play at the Indian casinos. Do they have to follow the same pay back schedules as other casinos? Are the self regulated or by the state?

Love your advice.

Dewey

Dear Dewey,

I don't know which casinos are in that area. I suggest you go to the casinos' websites and look at the games they have available. If none of them look like games you know from Las Vegas, then they're most likely Class II games, which are regulated by the tribes and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. If you see your favorites from Las Vegas, then they're probably Class III games, which require compacts with the state, unless you see a bingo card somewhere on the machine. In that case, they're Class II versions of your Class III favorites.

I also suggest you go to a search engine and do a search on a casino's name and "Class II" and then the name and "Class III". You should be able to figure out which class of gaming the casino has by the search results.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi,

I was wondering if there are any places where you can actually buy The Price Is Right slot machine. I love that game everytime I go to Vegas or AC. Just wondering if there were places to buy it.

Well, I could have sworn that I have heard or read about people buying machines directly from the manufacturer for delivery to "all machines legal" states, but an industry insider recently sent me an e-mail saying that the manufacturers only sell to entities with gaming licenses.

In any case, the question is moot as regards The Price Is Right machine. IGT does not sell them. They are placed in casinos on a revenue-sharing basis only.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hello, John,

I enjoy your column.

I have a question for you regarding the Player's Cards you get at the casinos. They are wonderful for accumulating points for comps. What I am wondering, though, is do they in any way affect your odds on a given machine? Nothing I have read suggests that they do, but still, since it seems the casino is able to track players down at machines (in several instances I have seen hosts appear and offer players comped meals/tickets/etc.), they can also track a player's winnings.

Perhaps this is just paranoid speculation, but I have heard others wonder this as well.

Many thanks.

Stevie

Dear Stevie,

Thanks for the kind words about my column.

The player tracking systems most definitely track your winnings and losings. In fact, you can request a win/loss statement at the end of the year to use in preparing your tax return.

That said, using the card has no affect whatsoever on your results at any machine. The use of the card merely allows the casino to track your results, not to influence them.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


John,

Great newsletter.

I will be going to Vegas in July and would like to know which place has the best odd on slots? Also what do you think of the "game" slots such as CASH CROP, TEXAS TEA, REEL 'EM IN and the like?

Thanks, be watching and reading,
Big Len

Dear Big Len,

Hope you had a good time in Vegas. Here's an answer to your question for your next trip.

The off-strip casinos that cater to locals generally have better odds on slots than the strip casinos. There is a lot of good video poker on the strip, though, so you don't necessarily have to give up the glitz to have a decent game.

I like the video slots with bonus rounds. After all, don't we all just want to get to that bonus round just one more time?

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