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Slot machines

How much do the casinos know about you? If you're a slot player and you use a player's club card, it's a cinch they know quite a bit.

Player's clubs are great, and if you attend the casinos with any degree of regularity it is essential to become a member and use your card if you want to derive as many perks and as much value as you possibly can in return for the dollars you wager.

But there's an important trade-off: Player's clubs exist primarily for the benefit of the casinos themselves. Not only do the clubs encourage brand loyalty, they provide casino marketing divisions with invaluable profiling information.

Player's clubs give casinos the capability of learning everything they need to know about their most important guest, the slot player. When you use your card, a computer record is made of which machines you played, how long you played them, coin-in (the amount you bet) and coin-out (the amount you won).

The information that is gathered is used to determine any cash-back offers and comps to which you are entitled. Furthermore, it permits marketing divisions and player development teams to target direct mailings for specific levels of play.

Any casino host has the capability of bringing up a player's record on a computer screen to learn everything he or she needs to know about a particular slot player as it pertains to that player's "value" to the casino.

They're not overly concerned about how much you win or lose. They really want to know how often you visit, how long you play, and which denomination you prefer. There's also attention given to whether you play the slots as opposed to video poker.

When tax time rolls around, players may request a "win/loss" statement from the casinos. For slot players, the statement will provide an accurate account of just where you stand financially if you elect to declare losses against any jackpots of $1,200 or over that you are required to report as gambling winnings on your income tax return.

The records that casinos compile for table games players are a different story.

Win/loss statements for table games are based upon information supplied by the pit supervisor who is rating your play.

When you play a table game and turn in your card to dealer with a request to be rated, the supervisor will make a note of your buy-in amount. He'll then periodically check the amount of your wagers. When you leave the table, he'll make a note of the amount for which you color out.

Since many table games players "squirrel away" (pocket) chips during a profitable playing session, the amount they color out for is not always an accurate barometer of what they've actually won.

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Table games players are rated primarily for the comp value they accrue, which in turn determines their value as a player. This value is based principally on a formula using your average wager and the hours you spend playing that factors into something casinos refer to as "theoretical loss".

Once again, the emphasis is not on whether you win or lose, but how much you play and for how long. Since every game has a built-in house advantage, there is a price every gambler pays just to play the games. That price is your theoretical loss. The longer you play and the more you bet determines how much that loss is, which in turn gives casinos your worth in comps.

The win/loss statements for table games players are, therefore, prone to be inaccurate and a broad estimate based upon human input. If you spend a lot of time playing, chances are your losses will be exaggerated because of the strong emphasis placed upon theoretical loss.

BONUS ROUND-UP

AMERISTAR: If you didn’t win a seat in the Mychoice Millionaire Slot Tournament last month in the regional events at Ameristar East Chicago, Hollywood Joliet, or Hollywood Aurora, you still have a chance to win one online. Log onto marqueerewards.com/2019-mychoice-millionaire April 7 through April 14 to take the daily quiz. All Marquee Rewards and mychoice members will receive one drawing entry each time that they complete the quiz. One winner will be chosen at random on April 15. The winner will be notified by mail and announced on the Marquee Rewards and mychoice Facebook pages. The prize is a seat in the $1-million grand finale to be held May 15 – 19 at the M Resort Spa Casino in Henderson, Nevada, a three-night hotel stay, and round-trip airfare to Las Vegas.

BLUE CHIP: The “Cash Back Rewards” promotion is ongoing all year in the Michigan City property’s 8-table dedicated poker room. Players participating in cash games accumulate hours played during each two-month period. The current cycle is March – April. Every 50 hours played can be redeemed for a $50 cash prize (maximum $500). Please call 888-879-7711, Ext. 4820, for information or to make reservations to play.

FOUR WINDS: If you’re up for a road trip on Friday (April 4) there’s the $25,000 “Spring into Cash” promotion waiting for you at Four Winds South Bend from 3 to 10 p.m. (EDT). The fun starts at 3 p.m. with a $2,500 cash winner. Then, every hour from 4 to 8 p.m., two winners will be selected to collect $1,000 in instant credit/free slot play. Another $2,500 cash winner will be drawn at 9 p.m. followed at 10 p.m. by a $10,000 cash grand prize winner. Entries for the drawings can be earned at any Four Winds Casino destination through the day of the promotion by playing slots and table games. W Club members receive one free entry daily by swiping their player’s card at a promotional kiosk. Guests must be present at the South Bend destination to be eligible to win.

HOLLYWOOD JOLIET: Join in on the “Showers of Free Slot Play” drawings every Saturday this month from 2 to 10 p.m. You can win a share of $100,000 that will be given away in free slot play during the course of the promotion. Each promotion day there’ll be a drawing every hour for five winners to receive $500 in free slot play. Earn drawing entries each day of the promotion by playing with your Marquee Rewards card. You can take advantage of a two-times entry multiplier by playing on Thursdays for that week’s drawing. The entry multiplier must be activated at the kiosk.

HORSESHOE: If you’re looking for affordable poker tournament action, check out the weekly schedule in the poker room. There are two $60 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournaments at 12:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. every Monday. Each tournament has a $3,000 guaranteed prize pool. The poker room at the Hammond casino is recognized as one of the best in the Midwest. Please call the poker room directly at 219-473-6065 to make reservations or request complete information about all the regular weekly tournaments.

MAJESTIC STAR: The Gary property is offering complimentary round-trip hourly shuttle service to and from the casino every Monday through Thursday during the month of April. The pick-up location is 2734 S. Wentworth Avenue in Chicago located just 15 minutes from Chinatown/Cermak. Please call 888-225-8259 for complete information.

You’re invited to participate in the “Smart Watch Giveaway” every Friday in April from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Three winners will be selected every 30 minutes to receive their choice of an Apple watch or $300 in Promo Cash. The grand prize will be awarded at 10:00 p.m. to one $5,000 Promo Cash winner and their choice of an Apple watch or an additional $300 in Promo Cash.

Opinions are solely those of the writer. Reach him at jgbrokopp1@gmail.com.

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