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Ask the Slot Expert: Online sites recommendations

26 May 2021

Question: What online slot sites do you recommend?

Answer: Answering this question requires a lot of ifs.

It reminds me of answering the how does a slot machine work question. The answer was easy 30 years ago when slots were in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Tunica. Things were pretty much the same everywhere because Nevada's rules begat New Jersey's rules begat Mississippi's rules.

Then manufacturers figured out how to give a slot-like experience from a Bingo drawing and Native American casinos expanded. Commercial casinos opened all over the country and some of these jurisdictions added their own quirks to their regulations.

How many times have you read some version of my standard disclaimer in an answer: This description applies to Class III, RNG-based slot machines like you find in Las Vegas. Class II machines operate differently and machines in other jurisdictions may operate differently.

The first if depends on what kind of site you're looking for. Do you want a play-for-fun or a play-for-money site? If you want to play for money, another if comes into play: if you live in a state that allows online casinos.

Twenty-plus years ago when Frank Scoblete and I joined with Rolling Good Times to host his column, my column and other writers' columns, I had the opportunity to meet with some of the major online gambling sites at the time. As I recall, they were all located in the Caribbean -- and they were all hiring. Tempting, but too hot and humid.

All of the people I met were dedicated to operating a safe and fair site. I never played at any of those sites, so I never commented on any of them.

It's much more difficult to transfer money into and out of offshore casinos now. I still have never played at any of them -- not even for fun -- so I still can't comment on them. Casino City has a directory of online casinos. The directory will tell you whether the casino is authorized in your state. I think the answer is Not Authorized regardless of which state you live in, but there are ways around IP address location checks.

If you want to play for money and you live in New Jersey, I wouldn't have any qualms about playing at any casino on the state's Authorized Sites list. According to PlayUSA, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia and Delaware also allow online casinos.

If you want to play for fun, you have many more options. The site is I play at frequently is STN Play run by Station Casinos. I checked the fine print on the site to see if it is restricted to Nevada residents. Under Eligibility To Play in the Terms & Conditions, it says, "This website and participation in the activities on this website is restricted in certain circumstances. Participation in the activities and games is open only to residents of those jurisdictions where such participation is legal and not prohibited by law.... The website is for use within the United States by those 21 years old or older." It looks like you can play on the site as long as your IP address is US-based and not in a state that prohibits playing on play-for-fun casino sites.

Boyd Gaming also has an online casino using the Stardust name. I'm not sure how wise it is to use a name synonymous with mob skimming. Although the movie Casino called its casino the Tangiers, and the movie was filmed at the Riviera, many of the incidents portrayed in the film actually took place at the Stardust. I haven't had a chance yet to try this site.

I would stick to free sites associated with brick-and-mortar casinos.

I recommend being cautious about sites that you see in banner and TV ads. I've never downloaded any of their software, but my cousin has. She has an old Android tablet that is so riddled with adware now that I can't even clean it by resetting to factory default and running adware cleaning apps. I'm not going to mention any of the apps she installed because I don't know which one(s) installed the bad software.

Do a quick search on an unaffiliated online casino before visiting it or downloading its app. Look to see if there are any complaints about the casino installing adware or malware.

Help us out, readers. Which online casinos do you visit that haven't infected your computer, tablet or phone?


And now another installment of the segment I call Covid Covfefe.

  • The punny headline of the past two weeks is Mask Confusion. Are the CDC's new guidelines really that confusing? If you're fully vaccinated, you can stop following Covid mitigation procedures like wearing a mask and social distancing, except in certain situation like mass transit, airplanes, and healthcare settings. If you're not vaccinated, keep following the mitigation procedures.
  • Confusion arises because masks may be required in some places and not in others. When the CDC made blanket recommendations, people complained that they didn't take local conditions into account. The new guidelines encourage local determination and now people are complaining that the rules are inconsistent.
  • In one group of stores I visit frequently, Einsten Bros. Bagels and SmashBurger still display signs requesting that everyone wear a mask inside. The Starbucks next door took down its mask-required sign, but the Starbucks app still requests that you wear a mask in the store. I'm going to wear a mask indoors for the foreseeable future just to show that I care about the health of the people working there. Wearing a mask doesn't hurt me in the least.
  • Speaking of Starbucks, there is one good thing that came from this pandemic. I order on the app and pick up in the pick-up area. Before Covid, the ready shelves were open to the public, so I rarely interacted with the staff. Now I still order on the app, but the ready shelves are behind a plastic barrier, so I have to ask for my order. The staff knows I'm a regular now. A few days ago they were running way behind. My order wasn't ready when I went in for it. The cashier found my cup waiting in line behind five other orders. There were a few other people waiting. They were the cups in front of mine. About 30 seconds later, the barista called my name. I jumped the line. It was like having a VIP players card at Starbucks.
  • Why are so many people who cite Operation Warp Speed to defend Trump's handling of the pandemic hesitant to get the vaccine because it was developed so quickly?
  • In an announcement on Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said that the CDC "took us all by surprise" when it changed mask guidelines two weeks ago and then he took us all by surprise by announcing that the state would follow the new guidelines despite having said that he wanted to wait until more people had been vaccinated before relaxing New Jersey's mask mandate.
  • The writer of a letter to the editor in the Las Vegas Review-Journal a few weeks ago asked why their family of six was forced to sit at two separate tables in a restaurant because of the limit of four people per table. They eat together every night. Where is the science in that? Well, let's think about this for a minute. How is the restaurant supposed to know that they are all part of one household. Check driver's licenses? The honor system? Besides, a few bullet points above I said that people complain when there are different rules for different situations. I can imagine someone asking, "How come they can have six people at their table and we can have only four?" The restaurant should not be in the position of having to do household membership verification. It's much better to limit the number of people at a table and let large groups figure out how they are going to deal with it.
  • The figures below show that the number of new cases is continuing to decrease. Deaths, a lagging indicator, should follow suit soon. Dr. Leana Wen said today that she thought the pandemic was pretty much over for vaccinated people. But, she warned, when you take vaccinated people out of the denominator, the rate of new cases and new deaths is the same as it was earlier in the year. The pandemic is not over for the unvaccinated yet.

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

Totals Weekly Increases
US NV US NV
Date Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths 
 05/25   32,969,905   587,830   322,757   5,559   174,125   4,234   1,676   26 
 05/18   32,795,780   583,596   321,081   5,533   223,966   4,230   2,301   27 
 05/11   32,571,814   579,366   318,780   5,506   303,856   4,687   2,541   33 
 05/04   32,267,958   574,679   316,239   5,473   343,348   4,908   2,559   40 
 04/27   31,924,610   569,771   313,680   5,433   383,163   4,958   2,747   65 
 04/20   31,541,447   564,813   310,933   5,368   464,556   5,072   2,590   36 
 04/13   31,076,891   559,741   308,343   5,332   480,061   5,321   2,986   57 
 04/06   30,596,830   554,420   305,357   5,275   448,935   7,124   3,084   38 
 03/30   30,147,895   547,296   302,273   5,237   439,510   6,793   939   63 
 03/23   29,708,385   540,503   301,334   5,174   388,928   7,446   1,863   53 
 03/16   29,319,457   533,057   299,471   5,121   381,695   8,362   3,078   81 
 03/09   28,937,762   524,695   296,393   5,040   480,902   11,573   2,413   83 
 03/02   28,456,860   513,122   293,980   4,957   463,356   14,129   2,835   75 
 02/23   27,993,504   498,993   291,145   4,882   451,083   13,923   2,406   162 
 02/16   27,542,421   485,070   288,739   4,720   602,906   21,411   4,149   198 
 02/09   26,939,515   463,659   284,590   4,522   779,305   21,828   5,444   244 
 02/02   26,160,210   441,831   279,146   4,278   1,007,777   22,004   7,249   249 
 01/26   25,152,433   419,827   271,897   4,029   1,312,565   23,385   10,324   250 
 01/19   23,839,868   396,442   261,573   3,779   1,317,119   21,318   11,324   279 
 01/12   22,522,749   375,124   250,249   3,500   1,790,345   22,660   17,217   294 
 01/05    20,732,404   352,464   233,032   3,206   1,499,561   18,435   14,655   233 
 12/29   19,232,843   334,029   218,377   2,973   1,258,540   15,460   12,493   186 
 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 
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