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Will participation slots ever disappear from the slot floor?28 July 2008
Thanks for the kind words about my articles.
I don't have any details about Mandalay Bay's situation, but I have heard the subject of participation slots discussed in many seminars and roundtables.
A participation slot is a slot in which the manufacturer gets a portion of the win from the machine. Wide-area progressives like Megabucks and Wheel of Fortune are participation slots. Sometimes slots based on a hot theme will also be available only on a participation basis as opposed to being offered for outright sale.
Many casino operators I've heard speak expressed the same sentiments as the floor manager with whom you spoke. Why should the casino share some of the win from a machine? An owned machine may not win as much as the participation slot it replaced, but because the casino gets to keep all of the win from the machine, the casino actually earns more from it.
The conclusion that some casino operators reached is that these machines are "appointment" machines — that is, some players walk into a casino intending to seek them out and play them. A casino has to have these machines because otherwise it risks losing those "appointment" players and the players accompanying those players. They'll all just go to a casino that has those "appointment" machines.
In addition, because players will seek out these machines, some slot directors concluded that they can put the machines in the least desirable locations on the casino floor and save the high-traffic, high-visibility locations for the casino's owned machines.
I doubt we'll ever see participation slots disappear from the slot floor. The games themselves are just too popular with players.
Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at email@example.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.
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