Indian Casino Not Paying Jackpots

Image Credit: In 2017, Indian gaming revenues increased 3.9% up to $32.4 billion dollars.By comparison, the Las Vegas Strip had a revenue of $17.8 billion dollars for rooms. Atlantic City casino refuses to pay out $1.5M jackpot, claims deck of unshuffled cards to blame. Plaintiff could not identify any particular act of those players that actually constituted.

Jackpot party casino

By Bill Burton

Over the last year, I have heard many players complain that they are not having as many jackpots on the slot machinesas they used to have. I first heard this from a few of my friends who said they believed that the casinos were tightening the machines because the bad economy was forcing people to make fewertrips to the casino. I did not pay too much attention to this but then I started to notice other players posting the same opinions on several Internet forums.

It seems many of the players have come to believe that every casino was lowering the paybackpercentage on all of their machines.

A month ago I was contacted by a newspaper reporter from Colorado who requested an interview with me. He said he was writing a story about the casinos lowering the payback on the slot machinesthat were making it harder for the players to win. He wanted my opinion on the subject and he was surprised by my answer.

Why Players Win Fewer Jackpots

I told him I do believe that some casinos may be ordering new machines with lower payout percentages but I did not believe that this was the main reason why players may not be winning as muchas they used to. I gave him the following reasons for my answer.

Over the years there have been many myths associated with casino gambling. One of the most common ones is the belief that a casino can raise and lower a machine's payback with the flip of aswitch. This is not true because the slot machines have a computer chip in them that determines the pay back percentage. These are set at the factory.

In order for a casino to change the pay back, they would have to change the chip. In most jurisdictions, there is paperwork that has to be filled and submitted to the Casino Control Commissionfor each machine if the chip is changed. It is time-consuming and the chips are very expensive. For this reason, the cost of changing the chip in numerous machines on the casino floor does notmake economical sense.

Many of the gambling jurisdictions around the country require the casinos to report the overall payout percentages on a monthly basis. (California is not one of the States) These figures are amatter of public record and are published in some newspapers and gaming publications. I looked back on these figures over the last year and saw that there was very little change in most casinosaround the country. In some instances, there were even some of the payback percentages had increased.

A reason why some players feel that they may not be winning as often is the fact that many players are making fewer trips to the casino so they are not playing as many sessions. So because theyare playing fewer sessions they will see fewer big jackpots and fewer winning sessions overall. It is all proportional.

Some players may have decided to play lower denomination machines. Many of the nickel and penny slot machines have a higher hit frequency, which means you will have many smaller wins but not asmany big jackpots.

How To Help Your Payback Percentages

If you still honestly believe that your casino is lowering the return rate on the slot machines you have several courses of action. The easiest thing to do is to play the older machines. It isdoubtful that a casino would go through the expense of putting a new chip in an older machine to lower the return rate. You can try a new casino. You may find that your luck is better at adifferent casino and a change is your routine will let you enjoy some new experiences.

You can switch to video poker. It is the only machine game that will let you know the payback of the machine by readingthe pay table. However, if you do decide to try video poker, make sure you learn the strategy or get a strategy card to bring along with you when you play.

Switch to the table games. Playing table games is exciting and they offer a lower house edge than the slot machines. Many casinos give free table game lessons so you can learn the basics beforeyou sit down.

Let me close by saying again that I do believe that there will be some machines on the casino floors with lower returns, however, I do not believe that is as widespread as the rumors would haveyou believe. The casinos are in competition with each other for your business so they do not want to alienate the players by offering games where nobody can win.

As a customer/player you always have the option of taking your business elsewhere. The ultimate decision of where to play is entirely up to you.
Until next time remember, luck comes and goes...knowledge stays forever.

CASINOS: Sovereignty keeps financial reports from state, public

November 24, 20033


© The Press Democrat

Patrons at California Indian casinos are pouring about $130 million a day into 52,600 slot machines. How much they are reaping in return and whether the payoff is better across the state line in Nevada is one of the central issues in the competition for the gambling dollar.

Nevada pays almost 95 cents of every dollar dropped into slots back to players, and it must account for every nickel in reports to the state. California has no such records, leaving gamblers at the state's 54 tribal casinos guessing and state policy-makers in the dark.

Indian casinos are located on sovereign territory, with most rules and enforcement handled by the tribes themselves. Their financial reports go to a federal agency, which doesn't share the details with the state or the public.

Tribal leaders say their casinos pay out as much as Nevada's. A Nevada gaming expert maintains the return is probably lower, but there is no independent verification for any claim.

'There's no way to know,' said Bill Thompson, gaming expert and professor of public administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Indian Casinos Not Paying Jackpots

Millions of gambler dollars are at stake because slots, from nickel-a-pull games to progressive machines with multimillion-dollar jackpots, account for the bulk of casino gaming revenues: 67 percent in Nevada; 80 percent to 90 percent in California.

Some Nevada gaming analysts say their state's 185,000 slots are more generous -- 'looser' in gaming parlance -- than California's, contending that stiff competition drives Nevada's odds in the player's favor.

Nevada casinos advertise as much as a 97 percent payback, with some machines set above 100 percent, Thompson said. Casinos advertise the rates to draw customers, and the 100 percent machines are scattered on the casino floor.

Jackpot Party Casino

Nevada's Gaming Control Board polices casino advertising and constantly checks slot machine performance, said Joanie Jacka, administrative coordinator for the agency. Poker hall of fame wiki.

The state won't allow anyone to claim the 'loosest machines in town,' Jacka said, because individual casino payback rates aren't made public. Nevada reports slot payback by area, such as Las Vegas, Reno and Tahoe, and by type of machine, from 5 cent to $100 games. 'Our machines pay the most of any in the United States,' Thompson said.

Atlantic City slots return 91 percent to 92 percent to players, and New Jersey doesn't allow casinos to advertise their odds, he said.

In contrast, California's 54 casinos enjoy what Thompson calls a 'local monopoly,' sheltering them from competition and allowing a slot machine payback he estimates at 85 percent.

A tribal casino executive says there's no way the payoff could be poorer in the Golden State. 'You'd have a big empty room,' said Anthony Miranda, who runs the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Riverside County, one of California's largest gaming halls.

Tribal casinos pay back an average of 95 percent to 96 percent, keeping only 4 percent or 5 percent and depending on high volume, meaning heavy play at the machines, to make a profit, Miranda said.

'If we had 80 percent payout games, our customers would be flocking to Nevada,' he said. Miranda declined to cite Pechanga's payback, but said it was 'comparable to Nevada.'

A computer chip in every machine controls the payback rate. In Nevada, state officials test the machines before and after they are placed on a casino floor, assuring they meet the state's 75 percent minimum payback. Competition forces casinos to sweeten the pot considerably.

The payback varies, from 93.8 percent last year on the Las Vegas Strip to 95.35 percent in Sparks, one of the best rates in the state, according to Nevada Gaming Control Board reports. Reno casinos paid back 95.02 percent; South Shore Lake Tahoe, 94.23 percent; and North Shore, 94.62 percent.

Payback rate improves with the stakes: Nevada's nickel slots returned 92 percent to players, while $25 machines paid back 96.7 percent.

Patrons dropped $115 billion into Nevada slots last year, and the casinos kept $6.3 billion, about 5.5 percent. Keeping another 1 percent of the total would have added more than $1 billion to the casinos' coffers.

California tribal casinos do not make public how much they are making and paying back from slot machines, but state officials and other experts say slot machines earn casinos $250 a day, or $13 million a day statewide. If that represents 10 percent of the money put in by players, assuming a 90 percent payback, then $130 million a day -- $47.5 billion a year -- is pouring into the machines.

Tribal casinos submit annual independent audits, including slot machine payout, to the National Indian Gaming Commission, a federal regulatory agency.

The agency doesn't share the financial data with states, said Greg Bergfeld, who works in the national commission's Sacramento office.

California casinos' slot payback rate is 'very competitive with Nevada,' he said.

'There is no verification,' said Cheryl Schmit, director of Stand Up for California, a gambling watchdog group.

The only statistics released by the national commission are tribal gaming revenues by region, including one region that essentially covers California. Gaming revenue for fiscal year 2002 in California was $3.6 billion, up 24 percent, or more than $700 million, from the previous year, according to the national commission.

Critics say the tribes are too conservative in calculating their revenues. The state says tribal gaming revenue is $5 billion to $6 billion a year.

River Rock Casino, which opened amid controversy last fall in Alexander Valley, offers a payback 'similar to those in Nevada,' said spokesman Dave Reiseman. He didn't cite a specific figure.

Inside the domed, tent-topped casino, bright lights flash, chimes ring and drums spin on 1,600 slot machines with names like 'Blazing 7,' 'Movie Star' and 'Winning for Dummies.' A 25-cent slot lists a $1,198 jackpot, while the $1-a-play progressive slot 'Megabucks' shows a jackpot of $7.8 million and counting upward right before players' eyes.

Two players said they think Nevada offers better odds.

'I think they pay better in Nevada,' said Pedro Fernandez of Santa Rosa, who said he puts about $50 in the slots on his visits to River Rock.

James King of Santa Rosa said he has 'done pretty well' at River Rock, including a recent $1,700 jackpot. But he used to go to Reno once a month 'and it always seems I did a little better there.'

Even if River Rock slots are less generous, King said there's a big difference in time and money between a four-hour, 170-mile drive over the Sierra to Reno and a 20-minute trip to Alexander Valley.

Convenience is a significant economic factor, which may erase the difference in slot payback between distant Nevada and casinos near a Californian's home, Thompson said.

No matter how high the payback, there's no guarantee a player will profit from pumping money into a machine. By continued playing -- a process known in gambling parlance as 'the grind' -- machines will usually take it all.

If the experience lasts long enough, it may not matter. 'People tend to put in all their money anyway -- they're just buying time,' Thompson said.

King said that when he hit the $1,700 jackpot, he left while he still had $1,200. 'In the long run you always end up losing more than you win,' he said.