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Do you believe Casinos can "flip the switch"?

Discussion in 'Other Gambling Destinations' started by MoneyMike, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. Funkhouser

    Funkhouser Regional Gambling Specialist
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    They're not necessarily evil, just a for profit business. The crap that bothers me is when casinos bar unprofitable customers, eg you win too much.
    That to me seems like a policy that should be blocked by the gaming commission, it's not like these guys don't already set the payouts, and I have never witnessed a customer that lost too much in a given year getting barred from a property, unless it was self exclusion for a gambling addiction.

    So in a nutshell, your welcome to lose as much as you want, but just don't get too lucky or we will have to kick you out.
     
  2. Cosmo_Slot_Vice_President

    Cosmo_Slot_Vice_President Cosmopolitan VP
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    I can't comment on what others are doing, but I would say I have an idea. As far as rules and regulations go (Nevada), I technically can change the payback percentage of any machine I want, whenever I want (as long as the game isn't actively being played). I believe the official text last time I read the ICS was there had to be 4 minutes of idle time before I can make any sort of change to a machine. So, yes, the casinos CAN change the payback percentages basically at will.

    All that being said, Server Based Gaming or more specifically, Server Supported Gaming was supposed to be the future of gaming. The way it was sold to casinos was that on a busy weekend we could remove the penny denomination from games, or yes, even make the hold percent tighter.

    No one is doing that. There still is a lot of paperwork involved, and quite frankly the systems don't function well enough to even try to make moves like that.

    It's easy to see my professional background on the internet... I've worked and overseen a lot of very successful slot floors in my career all across the world, and not once were we ever adjusting payback percentages like that. While I will admit some floors/operators run looser floors than others (the rumors you generally here are true about company A vs. company B), once the game is initially set, it probably doesn't ever get changed. Most of you know I'm a gambler myself, so I'm just as in tune with how a floor feels as you guys are. I basically look at a casino's video poker paybacks to determine the type of floor the rest of the games are probably set at. Is the $1.00 and $5.00 poker set fairly, if so, I hope the rest of the floor is too.

    From my perspective, yes, I am running a for profit business - but I still want my players to have an enjoyable experience and get their time on device and come back multiple times per year because they had fun while at my resort. There are days when we as a slot department get beat (I mean completely lose money). Players need to win, and it's great when other people see it happen too... because it does happen. I can't control when it happens, and I can't control who it happens to... but it happens, and happens very frequently.

    -KS
     
  3. Funkhouser

    Funkhouser Regional Gambling Specialist
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    Kevin, I had a couple of questions, that I am curious about.

    1) As an operator, how often do you find games that do not perform as expected based on par sheets? or In other words do the manufacturers always get the math right?

    2) How long does it take an operator to know if they have a successful slot game on the floor, meaning what is the typical cycle an operator has a slot machine and has to make the determination if it is generating enough revenue or should be replaced?

    3) Lastly is the overhead higher on certain titles that impact the required hold to make a profit. Example lets say slot machine A is based on a popular tv show so the operator has to pay some form of royalty back on gaming revenue OR Is this calculated already in the cost of game by manufacturer so the operating cost of TV themed game titles is the same for casino vs non TV themed (although the slot cabinet or software license might cost more).

    BTW thanks for your previous explanation.
     
    #43 Funkhouser, Jun 18, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
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  4. Cosmo_Slot_Vice_President

    Cosmo_Slot_Vice_President Cosmopolitan VP
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  5. NickPappageorgio

    NickPappageorgio Anonymous Husband
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    Just a little guppy trying to make it in a big, big world
    Thank you very much for this detail and answer. The VP paybacks information is interesting as well. I always check them but I've never thought to extrapolate that to the rest of the floor but it does make a heck of a lot of sense.

    Also Re: server based gaming. Reminds me of the oil and gas business where we're sold software that's going to all but drill the well for us but once we install we find out that it's not as robust as we've been sold. I'm guessing that's the same case in almost any industry.
     
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  6. Grid!

    Grid! Bronze

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    It was a very nice story, but I tend to believe it was more chance than a rigged machine. If it was set to Tournament Mode, nothing would go to payout and the machine wouldn't deduct from credits in per spin.

    You had zero server based slot floors in Vegas 15 years ago, as the story was told. We are talking about old fashion coin-droppers here. A casino would have to call in the gaming commission. They would have to witness the actual exchange of the "chip" and verify the machine is actually paying back to the new software's programing. And then do it all over again in reverse, to switch the machine's payback to higher the next day since they could only lose then.

    I'm sure they were directed to the 98% payback machine (or whatever) and told to play that. My Dad used to tip slot attendants in Vegas for the "lose" machines. I couldn't imagine what a phone call to the Gaming Commission would sound like. "This is the Riv, we need to loosen up one machine to make it payback into the positive. We have a 150% payback chip here for some reason, can you verify the install so we dont lose our license?" The very next day: "Hello, its the Riv again. That 150% payback slot was a bad idea, who knew?! I need to change that back ASAP, you free tomorrow?"

    While it was a wonderful story, I think it was very impractical.
     
  7. madaNASCAR

    madaNASCAR Member

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    I would solve the problem by displaying the currently programmed payback % on each machine's help screen. That way, the customers who care about such things would be able to access the information.

    I assume the casino industry would oppose the idea, but I'm not really sure why. What would be the harm?
     
  8. Funkhouser

    Funkhouser Regional Gambling Specialist
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    I think that answer is simple, knowledgeable or frequent customers would prefer the higher payback machines. Don't forget casinos used to advertise high paying banks of machines in the past as a gimmick to get players in the door. Gaming has to now compete with other parts of the business for resort space, some which might have a better gross profit margin. There is an advantage in customer ignorance.

    Players who are less aware of odds tend to be more profitable customers in form of lower comp overhead and profitability. The floor has to offer some mix of gaming at different odds to satisfy the different types of players. Competitively it would also create a challenge since casinos might have to further extend offers or shave house edge to keep players vs competitors. Hence why NGC does not report on individual property gaming return, even though they have that information.

    That being said there are some features available on machines players can use, example the IGT slots had bonus history on menus available. Must pay by progressive slots, and VP pay-tables by property.
     
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  9. madaNASCAR

    madaNASCAR Member

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    Payback info is already available for video poker, although not usually displayed as a precise payback %, and it doesn't seem to be a problem. Most people don't care about playing the best machines. As a group, gamblers are not diligent about maximizing value.

    If paybacks were disclosed, I'm sure the mix of offerings would change somewhat, possibly to the detriment of unobservant players, but I think new customers would be attracted to slots by the thrill of the hunt.
     
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  10. Funkhouser

    Funkhouser Regional Gambling Specialist
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    I can only speak for myself. In terms of slot machines, if casino operators were to openly disclose payback percentages at each slot, I for one would change my behavior on which machines I would play. For example today multi-denominational machines are not necessarily set to different hold thresholds at different denominations. So that same Buffalo machine might have same payback at .01 denomination as .10 denomination. I for one as an educated gambler would not put more money at risk per bet, knowing that my odds had not improved. Additionally if Operator A had walking dead machines that paid back at 92% and Operator B had walking dead machines that paid at 90% which machine would you pick? A knowledgeable gambler would require some additional premium to give up the 2% edge to the house, for a better comp return, etc.

    So then extrapolate that to say 4% to 8% of regular gamblers who are knowledgeable about gaming. If your the tightest operator on the strip, you don't want to advertise that to your customers. 54,806 Penny Slots in 2016 brought in $3,098,490,000 in wins for Casinos in LV. Roughly a 9.92% house edge.
    Lets say MGM's take of that amount is 10% or 309 Million dollars. Just eroding 2% of profit by advertising payback is 19 million dollars.
     
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  11. DRPinVa

    DRPinVa Silver
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    <head spinning>.....rrrrrrrrrrrrrr...this is why I (mostly) stick to table games...at least then I can see when they have come in overnight and had the elves change the felt on the table....

    upload_2017-6-20_15-26-44.png
     
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  12. Kimsa70

    Kimsa70 Silver
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    I have craps playing friends who say the casinos fu#k with the felt and they either switch casinos or play less stakes to "learn" to throw the dice on the new felt!
     
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  13. Chuck

    Chuck Gold
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    I wonder if any casinos benchmark themselves against V/P.
     
  14. jyen

    jyen Silver
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    Felt change was part of my duty in my previous job. The foam underneath the felt could worn out once awhile, sometimes the tech will just add a new layer, sometimes they cut out the damaged foam and then patch it, sometimes they removed the whole thing and lay new foam on top.

    Theres no rules on how thick or how you go about changing the foam as long the felt position is laid correctly and the foam underneath must be smooth without bubble or bulge. Shift manager only cares about the time they can get the table running and start making some money for the casino.

    I throw the dice once awhile, every casino felt feels different than one another. Some table is more bouncy and some don't.

    After all, craps players are superstitious hahaa..

    I'll add something regards to the roulette table. Wheel must be removed when perform felt change, and it must be level afterwards.
     
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  15. madaNASCAR

    madaNASCAR Member

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    Payback disclosures could evolve as a technician-selectable option. Similarly, I think the bonus history display on WMS (?) slots can be turned on or off. Initially, paybacks would likely only be disclosed at casinos with looser-than-average slots.

    I can understand the big strip operators wanting to avoid the subject, but I don't think it would shock anyone to learn that Venetian/Palazzo has low paybacks. Aggregate statistics for the strip are already available.

    And it's true that knowledgeable gamblers would seek the looser slots, but I think their total slot action would increase. Currently, they may avoid slots entirely because of the lack of information.

    I also see public relations value that casinos tend to ignore. People feel better about gambling when the operators make an effort to appear trustworthy.
     
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  16. Chuck

    Chuck Gold
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    Here's the other thing: how many different holds can a given machine be set to and what are the increments? I have a feeling you can't just adjust some of these 27 screen wall monsters by a quarter or a half a point. But I dunno, maybe with all that action, they actually have smaller increments than a 3 reeler.
     
  17. tringlomane

    tringlomane Palladium
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    It really depends on the game designer. It doesn't take much to tweak the payback of games. A substitution of a wild with a lower paying symbol in the base game for instance can affect payback by several points on some games. But from this paper by Harrigan and Dixon, it looks like these older IGT machines only had 7 or 8 settings to range the payback from 85 to 98%.

    http://www.nh.gov/gsc/calendar/documents/20091117_harrigan_dixon.pdf
     
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  18. MonteCarloPlayer

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    I kind of agree with this. I NEVER play the WMS? slots that show the recent and lifetime bonuses, if the figures look "low" or unimpressive to me..... they almost always do!
     
  19. Chuck

    Chuck Gold
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    What I was thinking about was in a world where as @madaNASCAR suggested, payback % for every machine for every casino are known, someone would collect all that data and put it in a table and publish it.

    So now you can see the payback % for Machine X for all casinos side-by-side. If Casino A was 7.5% and B was 8.0%, it probably wouldn't make that much difference to most slot players (even though it should, it's actually a 7% diff). But if the minimum increment for a machine was 2.5%, that would stand out more. So if A was at 10% and B was at 12.5%, that might make a difference. Cause a math person at least, is gonna see that as a 25% diff.
     
  20. tringlomane

    tringlomane Palladium
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    As for the "Top 5 Bonuses in the last 24 hours" they often do nowadays because the games are getting old. I took this picture to show the sad state of affairs at tunica Roadhouse this past December. I assume there was actually zero bonus rounds on "Bierhaus" in the last 24 hours of play (but one total brick could be possible). The "lifetime" numbers don't look terrible for that place though.

    [​IMG]

    And after that pic was taken, I proceed to hit 2 straight flushes plus a nickel royal on VP in the next hour with no quads in between. Wtf?!?!

    [​IMG]
    Yes, I think it would influence the person who "cared". But it's pretty clear with VP (where the payback differences stare you right in the face if you know what to look for) that only a subset actually do care. Sadly, it's not that large of one. There are many VP players that will play the 8/5 DDB unit (3.21% HA) vs. the 9/6 one (1.02% HA) just because the 8/5 game seems luckier to them and possibly yielded more royals or Aces with kicker.

    I expect payback disclosure with slots to be similar, especially if the paybacks were buried in the help screens. 98% of players never read that shit to begin with. Lol
     
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