Author Home Author Archives Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

author's picture

Gamblers Need to Weigh Options

23 March 2001

Okay, you are going to go gamble a little, and you want to go use your new player’s club card in that slot. What should you look for in player’s clubs? It depends on whether you want cash back, or more food and comps. But beware the promotional stuff that is offered to you in exchange for your bonus points, player’s points, or whatever little name the casino may have attached to them. If you aren’t careful, you may find yourself out a whole lot of time and money trying to win something that costs less than $25-30 retail.

One club near me offers a logo sweatshirt for about 2700 points from your player’s card. At first, it sounds okay... the shirt isn’t too fancy... but you have to earn those points in a 24-hour period. If you are playing dollar slots, it will take about an equal number of dollars to earn the points. If you happen to be spending MORE money on the slots than dollars by playing the penny/nickel machines by VLC at full coin ($2.25), it will cost you $12.50 for each point. Theoretically the shirt would cost you $33,750 to win, and it probably would be impossible to do in a 24-hour period.

Then there is the club that took the vehicle off of what was starting to be an increasingly popular bank of nickel slot machines, tossed another vehicle in with it, and is RAFFLING off the truck along with a convertible this summer. By raffling, I mean it costs the player 1000 points to enter. Ok... you don’t have to do earn the points in 24 hours, and many people I know earn that many points easily. This one gets worse... people are mad that they can’t play five nickels anymore for the truck. Many people were making at least a little money off the bank. It was fairly hidden in a corner of the casino... many daily regular players never even knew it was there because of its location. Nickel players are mad because it is going to cost them $20,000 worth of play to earn one entry... because that player’s card system costs $20 per point in nickel play, and if you pull out your card even once to see what is wrong with it... it resets and you have to put an another $20 bill in to get that lousy one point. I flat out said "No" to this idea... and then the poor soul who does win it is going to be out all that money for play, and have to pay taxes on what will be two vehicles. Me? I’d rather go down to the car lot and buy it. It would be cheaper, and it would be mine. I do not play in that casino much at all anymore, considering this the rudest of stunts... along with the low pay four card kenos.... why bother? If they think I am that stupid, I will go somewhere where my intelligence and my wallet aren’t insulted. Since when did gambling become a raffle? Aren’t raffles for charity? I see business has dropped a lot since then. But since when do you change the rules of the game in the middle of the game? I don't condone it one iota. Evidently I am not alone in my thinking, because people approach me daily about this. Too bad this casino have such a case of marketing myopia.....

I try to look for player’s clubs that don’t have cash back features, don’t cost maybe more than a few bucks for nickel and quarter points and 1-1 on dollars. Not that I like having to play more for a point on the lower denomination machines... I will never like that. Not as long as they keep putting the 45-90 coin nickel slots even in the higher class gambling parlors... because they still don’t count your nickels like dollars... even when the bet is $4.50 a whack on nickels. One local club that has no card added the ultimate insult to my intelligence by mixing 9-coin max 9-line slots with 9-line 180-nickel slots with nothing distinguishing which machine is which. I don’t know about most people, but if I put a ten-dollar bill in a nickel slot, and hit max thinking it is 9 coins like the identical one next to it, and nine bucks disappears, I am going to get mad. Real mad. Probably never go back kind of mad. Since I have mentioned it numerous times to them and even declared it misleading and deliberately done, they ignore it and it has been that way for two years. They would do better to stay in the bar business and out of the slot business. I don’t go there either much anymore... Why go where I can’t look at them with respect?

Actually, I don’t like player’s clubs much at all. With them, yes, you can earn tickets to shows, get free eats, go shopping, get free hotel rooms... and cash back... Doesn’t anybody remember just a mere dozen years ago that your comps were based on about 8-10% of what you spent? Yes, you didn’t get cash back at that time, but who needed that?... Does anyone even think about the percentages now? Are you all happy with fractions of one percent... hope so, because that is precisely what you are earning. Or have gamblers become sheep that are easily led by the casinos and the slot manufacturers? Where does it say that everyonehas to just shut up and settle for what is handed to them? Frankly, I am getting very sick and tired of finding out that we are now expected to play $2.25 worth of nickels to win something just over a paltry $100,000? Does anyone ever just think about what the pay ratios are compared to say the popular Wheel of Fortune slots? Gad, $2 on the dollar WOF will get you millions... three quarters can get you millions too... and the progressive meters on the WOFs are spinning, sometimes going up nearly a hundred thousand dollars in a day.... you look at the nickels... with their 45-coin requirements and the meters are barely moving at all. I have seen them sit without moving for hours. Don't our slot designers and those in charge think we have brains, or is it they who are lacking brains? It looks like what my uncle used to call "Tom Foolery" to me... and I think it is time this stuff ends. I don’t mind the nine-line machines... and I have pushed max on a 45-coin nickel slot a few times, and even won a little. I just don’t think it belongs in the progressive jackpot departments. As for the lower coinage machines... you can play "Blondie" for only a few nickels... and it starts at a (haha) whopping $25,000... but it is a far cry from the old "Nevada Nickels" (which is still barely around and has nearly been slaughtered by time, neglect, it never gets high anymore, and sits without moving for hours.) Nevada Nickels was the first to hit the scene with the million-dollar jackpots. Now, we can all be bored with "Blondie"... I actually put a few bucks in one to see what the draw was, to see what it did... and let me tell you... I HAVE NEVER BEEN THAT BORED AND DISINTERESTED IN A SLOT. It never paid more that 12 coins, never lined up three anythings on the line, and never went to the bonus feature, if that is what you call it... if three cartoon panels line up you get 9 free spins.. To which I can only utter a very unenthusiastic "whoo... whoo.." Thrill me some more.

Tell you what... I will return with the Tahoe happenings next week, but meanwhile... why don’t you all let me know your feelings about the slot player’s clubs. If you know of one that is reasonable, let me know and I will tell everyone where to find it... If you have horror stories about clubs and comps... I want to know too... we are going to go play on the this week... start straightening up our gaming environment. Otherwise, we might wake up with penny slots that take $20 a whack to play, and nickel machines that cost $50..... Somebody has to get them to treat our money equally and put the gamblers back into a class where slot directors, marketing directors, slot manufacturers and players club bosses treat them as not only intelligent people, but also as guests. When I was in college, they told me at the casinos that they preferred to call us all guests. Why? Because customers have to "buy" something and get something in return for their money, and guests are just supposed to be treated as guests. With the raffles, and the deceptive slots swallowing our money like there is no tomorrow... DOES THAT MEAN WE ARE NOW CUSTOMERS? Above all, please remember to use a little thinking about where you go, where you play, and where you stay. Otherwise, you may wind up filling out one of my "Gripes and Giggles" forms and one of my "Total Casino Rating System" forms... both on the which reminds me, if you have a gripe, feel robbed, cheated, mistreated, or even if it is the kind word... you can find the form and send it back... Jim did from Watertown... and let me tell you, he is one happy camper now... The casino made good.. In this case, the Flamingo Las Vegas, and they went out of their way to be helpful and friendly... and even I will go visit them and stay there on my next trip. So if you have a gripe, let me know.. You can find the details in the author’s box below. Spring is trying to break into winter in Tahoe... the snow at lake level is starting to melt, but the slopes are still open, and have plenty of snow.

Remember, gamble Tahoe, but wherever you gamble, Tahoe, Reno, Vegas, or off the map...keep your eyes open, and avoid the deceptive practices for paltry prizes. You have to pay tax on those prizes... don’t forget that either.