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Area Casinos Nickel-and-Dime Slots to Bigger Profit Margins

2 December 2002

CHICAGO – As reported by the Daily Southtown: ``Slot machines in Chicago-area casinos — which have embraced nickel-and-dime betting — have grown stingier the past four years, records show.

``The tougher odds have helped offset competition from rival casinos, increased gaming taxes in Illinois, and a bad economy that deters some recreational gamblers.

``According to reports from gaming regulators in Illinois and Indiana, the odds on electronic gaming devices — slot and video poker machines — in eight area casinos have been steadily moving in favor of the house since 1999.

``Under state law, Illinois casinos must return an average of at least $80 of every $100 wagered at the machines. But government-regulated casinos across the nation have always set their slots to give back much more than that.

``…In 1999, the top four casinos in Illinois — Elgin, two in Joliet, and Aurora — had an average slot machine 'hold' of 5.69 percent: They kept an average of $5.69 from every $100 wagered at the machines. Through the first nine months of this year, those same casinos are keeping an average of $6.61. …"

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