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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Gripes about Chicago-Area Gaming

3 October 2001

Is there anything that you'd like to "sound off" about Chicago-area riverboat casino destinations? I've got a few gripes that I'd like to share with you today:

Locations that still charge for valet parking.

No casinos charge for valet service in Las Vegas. It's a courtesy that's extended to all visitors, whether you happen to be staying at the hotel or not. All riverboat casino destinations in the Chicago-area gaming market should get in step with big league casino operation when it comes to accommodating their patrons. Any casino that charges for valet parking is being just plain greedy.

Casinos that deactivate the "speed of play" option on video poker machines.

Not everyone likes to play at a lightning quick pace. Personally, I always set the speed to the lowest setting. It's more comfortable for me to play that way. Of course, the faster you play the more decisions you are involved with per hour, the more you subject your bankroll to the house edge, and the more money the casino makes. Need I say more?

Casinos that allow their slot machine credit meters to build limitlessly (except in the case of a single hit of $1,200 or more, which is subject to federal withholding) rather than go into "hand pay" mode the instant a player hits a jackpot or program the machines to start dropping coins when the meter reaches a certain level.

When a player's money is merely an electronic reading on a meter, it's easy for that money to lose its value (for the player, that is). Cold, hard coins in the tray or hundred-dollar bills being counted out in your hand force a player to realize the significance of exactly what they've won.

On my last visit to the Grand Victoria in Elgin, I saw a player line up a jackpot symbol and two blue sevens on a 3-coin dollar "Triple Cash" machine. In a majority of casinos, that $900 jackpot will activate the hand pay mechanism and shut the machine down until the player is paid. In this case, however, the credit meter ran up to 900 and play continued. When the player decided to move on, he hit the "cash out" button, at which time the machine went into hand pay mode.

This particular player was fortunate to get away with his jackpot. Some people make the mistake of continuing to play until the credit meter is drained, never even getting to see and feel their jackpot money. That's always sad. When casinos make it easier for people to lose money under the guise of providing a "convenience", I always take exception. Casinos know that when a person is waiting for a hand-paid jackpot, or when coins begin cascading into the tray at a certain credit meter level, it takes playing time…and profits…away.

Casinos that make you sit and wait to be paid a few coins (20 or less) when the hopper of the slot machine you're playing goes empty.

Why not arrange to have the slot attendant hand pay your coins and allow you to move on, rather than open the machine, mark the log, close the machine, go the cashier to get a bag of coins, open the machine again, fill the hopper, and close the machine so that a handful of coins can plunk one by one into the tray? Talk about inconveniencing patrons!

Waiting in the cashier's line with a bucket of coins or a handful of chips while there are people in front of you with lengthy transactions such as check cashing or credit card advances.

All it takes to correct the situation is have dedicated lines at the windows and casino floor staff that will enforce the rules.

The lack of $5 blackjack, craps, and roulette tables.

Hanging up $10 and $15 placards at the tables doesn't hurt the heavy hitters. They can make bets up to the maximum allowed at any table. It hurts the smaller gamblers and seniors who like to sit down and play $5 minimum. Rollers are allowed to make $100 bets at a $5 table but average bettors can't make $5 bets at a $10 table. It's a lack of consideration for a majority of gamblers.

Let me know if you agree or disagree. Or, better yet, send your own gripes to me at the Daily Southtown, 6901 W. 159th Street, Tinley Park, Ill., 60477, fax to 708-447-7002, or e-mail jgbjet@ameritech.net.

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