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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Casinos Demand That Slots Earn Their Keep

5 January 2011

Have you ever thought about the abundance of sensory stimulation in a casino that's purposely created to get you in the mood to gamble?

The electronically generated chorus of the slots and the ornate and brightly illuminated signage combine to make a dance with Lady Luck almost impossible to resist.

The design of gaming floors and the placement of machines and tables is a perpetual work in progress for casino executives, whose primary objective is to generate maximum revenue from the product that's in place.

It's a particularly intensive enterprise at casinos in Illinois, where space is at a premium and there's a state-imposed restriction on the number of gaming positions (1,200). Each component of the inventory has to perform or it's replaced with new product.

It all boils down to creating and maintaining a mix of games that generate the most profits.

The fluid nature of gaming floor inventory and design makes it imperative that game conversions are made and new machines added virtually on a weekly basis to keep the casino on competitive footing.

Internal control makes it possible for casinos to keep track of the coin-in history of every game from the moment it was placed in operation. Under-achievers may be relocated or simply removed.

Many times slot manufacturers will permit casinos to test new products in virgin markets. In Illinois that's easier said than done because the process by which new games is approved is traditionally a slow one.

Slot inventories represent a significant investment for casino operators, yet in spite of the average cost of between $13,000 and $15,000 for machines that are purchased outright, a top performer in a major market will pay for itself in no time.

So, is it possible for slot players to make the science of floor design and game placement work to their advantage when it comes to locating a "hot" machine?

The advice usually given to players is reserved for larger properties, such as casinos in Las Vegas, and not those that are space challenged or inventory restricted.

Modern day slot machines of like denomination are a more homogenous breed at casinos in the Chicago area in respect to variations in long term payback percentage.

Slot hit frequency is the great differentiator, but whether a machine pays smaller amounts more often at the expense of jackpots, or jackpots more often at the expense of lesser awards, it's all the same to the casinos.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp