Casino Scene: One important rule for casino visitors

2013-08-30T00:00:00Z Casino Scene: One important rule for casino visitorsJohn G. Brokopp Times Correspondent
August 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Have you ever fallen into the trap of playing a slot machine longer than you had intended? In all likelihood, it happened because you were waiting for "just one more bonus round" on one of the video games that have taken over casino floors nationwide.

There's no doubt about it; interactive bonus and free spin rounds are the new carrot-on-a-stick for slot players. They keep us pushing the machine's "play" button far more than pulling the handle on traditional spinning reel slots when the only lure was an elusive jackpot.

The lesson to be learned is just it is never wise to chase jackpots, so is it financially damaging to chase bonus rounds.

Jackpots and bonus rounds are very different. The former, when hit, fulfills the promise of a sizable win. It's generally the top award the machine can pay and comes with all the associated bells and whistles.

Getting into a bonus round, on the other hand, offers no guarantee for a big win; just a "maybe". But that's a mighty big five-letter word for many people, who will play longer, spend more, and worse yet, put all their winnings back, in quest of catching one.

The "catch", however, is significant. Slots are mathematically programmed to pay sizable jackpots infrequently. The odds are very tall against lining up the jackpot symbols on any given spin.

The hit frequency of bonus rounds on low-denomination multi-line/multi-coin video slots is much greater. The anticipation of getting into a second screen bonus, or being awarded free spins, has become the most significant attraction of the new wave of games, and the most addictive.

The results of some bonus rounds net players significant wins. Many others are minor awards. The dilemma that players face is magnified because of the fact the number of penny and two-cent games at Illinois and Northwest Indiana casinos has increased dramatically while the number of higher denomination units has dropped.

When you take into account the fact  the average payback percentage among all the slot machines at casinos is around 92 percent but the average payback percentage is around 89 percent on one-cent games and two-cent games, you can recognize why the emphasis has shifted.

There's one other rule to follow if you want to keep the fun in your gaming adventures: Attend casinos on your own terms, which means refusing to be manipulated by promotions which are designed to increase your number of visits, or make trips you hadn't planned.

Some properties in the Chicago-ared gaming market are very aggressive and quite persistent with direct marketing campaigns that are aimed directly at average recreational gamblers.

Always remember special one-day-only promotions, giveaways, and cash offers are worthwhile only if you have made plans in advance to go out.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach him at John Brokopp's Beat the Odds tips air Sundays at 8:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 10:42 p.m. on WBBM Newsradio 780.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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