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Ask the Slot Expert: More on casino procedures and cash sanitization

23 December 2020

Question: With regards to the question of whether cash is sanitized in casinos, or anywhere else for that matter, here is my thought process. Just imagine how many stripper’s butts (male and female) that bill has been in and that should have you running to the restroom to thoroughly wash your hands!

Washing hands is always the first step to avoid infections of all types in and out of the casinos.

Love reading your columns.

Answer: Thanks for the kind words about my columns and thanks(?) for sharing your thought process.

Perhaps you can give us some insight into the denomination mix at a strip club. The closest I've been to a strip club is going to Scores in New York City when I worked for Pan Am in the 1980s.

Scores, the gentleman's club that gained fame on The Howard Stern Show, did not exist in the mid-1980s. The Scores I went to was a multi-level sports bar on 43rd or 44th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues. If I remember correctly, we went out for a Christmas lunch, so this might be the 30-somethingth anniversary of that outing.

I see that Sparks Steak House is not far from where Scores the sports bar used to be. My boss dragged my coworkers and me there during our lunch break on December 17, 1985. He didn't want to eat there. He wanted to see where the mob hit had occurred the day before. There were blood stains on the sidewalk. Another great Christmas memory of working at Pan Am.

I just realized we passed another anniversary. December 21, 1988. I had moved across the hall in the Pan Am Building and was now working in the Revenue Planning group. We shared that area of the building with the Schedule Planning group.

We were in the middle of our office Christmas party when we received a Telex that Prestwick Air Traffic Control lost contact with one of our flights and they believed that PA 103 had crashed. End of party.

Now, I assume that strip club tips are mainly ones and fives, with tens and twenties also well represented, but less so than the lower denominations.

I wouldn't think that many hundreds find their way to an intergluteal cleft. Which is good because the cocaine on the bills has only a weak antibacterial effect.

(Don't search for articles on how dirty money is. Trust me. Don't.)

It's not surprising that the anti-Covid measures we are all being urged to take (and that many in Washington are ignoring, ridiculing, openly defying) are not that different from the advice given each fall and winter to fight the flu. As you said, wash your hands frequently. People who are sick should stay away from others.

Digression: Only one company I worked for said specifically in its employee manual that sick employees should stay home. Stay home to get better and to avoid infecting other employees. The worst sick policy was at one company that didn't distinguish between sick days and vacation days. It had this terrible policy of Paid Time Off (PTO). Use the days if you're sick or use them for vacation. I suppose the policy could work if the company had given an adequate number of PTO days, but it gave only 10. A co-worker from the Philippines came into work despite being very ill because he needed all 10 days to go back home for the holidays. At another company, you were allowed five sick days per year before needing a doctor's note for further sick days. They didn't carry over from year to year. I never looked at the sick days as a resource to be used. I saw them as an acknowledgement that people get sick and that illness shouldn't impact vacation plans. A co-worker saw them as use-them-or-lose them, so he ensured he always used up his sick days. After he was laid off in a reorganization, I learned that management had noticed.

The two new things in the Covid protection measures are keeping your distance from everyone not in your household, not just those who are exhibiting symptoms, and wearing a mask.

Speaking of masks, a few days ago I saw someone in a store without a mask for the second time. The first time was at a Dunkin Donuts. This time it was a lady at a grocery store. She didn't have a mask hanging around her neck. I didn't see a mask in her cart. I assume she put on a mask to enter the store and then took it off and put it away.

I used to listen to classic radio programs on the two-hour trip to Atlantic City. Many of them were broadcast during World War II. Some of the programs included references to food and gas rationing and how to make do with less. Some had celebrities encouraging fans to purchase war bonds and plant victory gardens.

Americans made great sacrifices during World War II. Now many refuse to wear a mask.

When did we become such wimps?


Question: Here in Prescott the Indian casino has removed every other chair and disabled the machine it sat in front of. Along with temp checks coming in, a mask requirement, and reminding everyone on their PA system every so often about the requirement they have made it as safe as possible given the situation.

Answer: Pretty much the same here in Las Vegas -- and at other casinos. We all have the same problem and the same solution.

Casinos here disabled every other machine in the few days before we shut down. Since re-opening, all machines are running, but half the chairs are gone. Casinos are relying on guests to observe social distancing. Only once has someone tried to play the machine next to mine.

What do you think about temperature checks? It doesn't make sense to allow someone with a fever in. But asymptomatic transmission is so common, is the temperature check really making it any safer in the casino?

The casinos I frequent also have periodic announcements about social distancing and wearing masks. The request to wear a mask is somewhat comical because many people skirt the mask requirement by smoking or drinking.

In case you're like me and you've let your subscription to Physics of Fluids lapse, here's a link to Masks not enough to stop COVID-19's spread without distancing. The study reaffirms what we already know.

"A mask definitely helps, but if the people are very close to each other, there is still a chance of spreading or contracting the virus," said Krishna Kota, an associate professor at New Mexico State University and one of the article's authors. "It's not just masks that will help. It's both the masks and distancing."

Trump and Pence keep screwing up the message. It's not masks when you can't distance. It's masks AND distance.

Finally, your last statement is so important. Paraphrasing Dr. Jen Ashton, there's no such thing as safe. But we can make situations safer.


Here are the latest figures from https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases.

Totals Weekly Increases
US NV US NV
Date Cases  Deaths Cases Deaths Cases Deaths Cases Deaths
 12/22   17,974,303   318,569   205,884   2,787   1,656,411   18,537   16,472   239 
 12/15   16,317,892   300,032   189,412   2,548   1,494,763   17,247   18,825   229 
 12/08   14,823,129   282,785   170,587   2,319   1,375,502   15,483   18,418   175 
 12/01   13,447,627   267,302   152,169   2,144   1,114,175   10,286   15,942   121 
 11/24   12,333,452   257,016   136,227   2,023   1,197,199   10,784   14,130   106 
 11/17   11,136,253   246,232   122,097   1,917   1,099,790   8,501   11,115   65 
 11/10   10,036,463   237,731   110,982   1,852   767,645   6,838   8,868   68 
 11/03   9,268,818   230,893   102,114   1,784   588,207   5,809   5,936   35 
 10/27   8,680,611   225,084   96,178   1,749   492,026   5,585   5,238   (10) 
 10/20   8,188,585   219,499   90,940   1,759   401,037   5,053   4,501   48 
 10/13   7,787,548   214,446   86,439   1,711   351,270   4,886   3,910   48 
 10/06   7,436,278   209,560   82,529   1,663   306,965   4,962   3,232   36 
 09/29   7,129,313   204,598   79,297   1,627   303,616   5,136   3,058   54 
 09/22   6,825,697   199,462   76,239   1,573   288,070   5,370   2,196   82 
 09/15   6,537,627   194,092   72,043   1,491   250,265   5,404   1,825   65 
 09/08   6,287,362   188,688   72,218   1,426   282,919   5,638   2,734   92 
 09/01   6,004,443   183,050   69,484   1,334   251,790   5,291   3,237   104 
 08/25   5,752,653   177,759   66,247   1,230   330,411   7,889   4,076   125 
 08/18   5,422,242   169,870   62,171   1,105   358,071   7,463   4,973   114 
 08/11   5,064,171   162,407   57,198   991   365,353   7,203   5,776   117 
 08/04   4,698,818   155,204   51,422   874   418,683   7,532   7,367   109 
 07/28   4,280,135   147,672   44,055   764   460,996   7,042   7,130   91 
 07/21   3,819,139  140,630  36,195  674  463,682  5,395  8,181  57 
 07/14   3,355,457   135,235   28,744   617   422,861   5,102   5,607   57 
 07/07   2,932,596   130,133   23,137   560   351,367   3,394   5,006   24 
 06/30   2,581,229   126,739   18,131   536   278,941   6,406   4,367   26 
 06/23   2,302,288   120,333   13,764   510 

As I write this, Trump is threatening to veto the recently passed coronavirus relief package, in part because the stimulus checks are not large enough. Bernie has also advocated for more in stimulus checks.

As much as I would like to get another check, I would gladly give it up so people who are unemployed or are in danger of being homeless can get more help.

Everyone have a happy and safe Christmas.


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