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Slot machines

Have you ever noticed the abundance of sensory stimulation on a casino floor that’s purposely created to get you in the mood to gamble?

Think about it: The electronically generated chorus of sounds from the hundreds of slot machines, the ornate and brightly illuminated signage on the top boxes of the machines, the marquee quality displays beckoning you to the progressives.

Even the programs of the games themselves make it impossible not to notice the celebratory music and dazzling displays when a player hits a “big win.” It all combines to make taking a dance with Lady Luck almost impossible to resist.

Long ago when all slot machines were mechanical three-reel spinners that accepted coins, it was the sounds of the coins cascading into the metal tray that alerted everyone in the casino that somebody had just hit a jackpot.

When coinless slot technology was introduced, some predicted that clanking coins would be replaced with “sounds of silence.” In reality, coins didn’t have a prayer against the technological revolution on the gaming floor that made the machines visual and auditory works of art.

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.

The bottom line for casino owners is that each component of the gaming inventory has to perform up to expectations or it’s replaced with new product. The name of the game is 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 property on competitive footing while maximizing earnings potential.

Internal controls make it possible for properties to keep track of the coin-in history of every game from the moment it was placed in operation. Under-achievers may be relocated elsewhere on the floor or simply removed.

Quite frequently slot manufacturers will partner with casinos to test new product in virgin markets. In some states that’s easier said than done because the process by which new games is approved is historically a slow one.

Slot inventories, be it units that are purchased outright or on lease agreement, represent a significant investment for casino operators. A top performer in a major market will pay for itself in no time.

So, what does all this mean to players? Is it possible to make a science out of floor design and game placement to have it work to our advantage when it comes to locating a “hot” machine?

The advice the experts give is usually reserved for larger properties, such as Las Vegas casinos, and not those that are space challenged or inventory restricted.

Modern day machines of like denominations are a more homogenous breed at casinos in the Region in respect to variations in long-term payback percentage.

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

BONUS ROUND-UP

AMERISTAR: The East Chicago casino and hotel will be celebrating its winners with a “Jackpot Winners Drawing” this month. Every guest who wins a taxable jackpot of $1,200 or more will receive an exclusive invitation to a special drawing in their honor on Thursday, July 25. Hourly drawings will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Five winners will be randomly selected at each of the three drawings to win $1,000 in free slot play.

BLUE CHIP: The Michigan City resort casino’s popular monthly “Progressive Payout” promotion is red-hot. A guest who visited on Friday, June 28, to activate their entries for the drawings went home with the $45,000 grand jackpot. It was the second time this season the grand jackpot was won. A lucky B Connected player hit it for $15,000 in March. Start earning entries for the next drawing which will be held on Friday, July 26. Five winners will draw for $5,000 at the 8 p.m. drawing, five winners will draw for $20,000 at the 9 p.m. drawing, and 15 winners will draw for the reset $15,000 jackpot at the 10 p.m. drawing. Each month, if there isn’t a winner, the first jackpot increases by $1,000, the second jackpot increases by $4,000, and the grand jackpot increases by $15,000 for the next month’s drawing. They’ll continue to roll over every month until October when all of the jackpots are guaranteed to be given away. Please visit the B Connected player’s club counter for all the details.

Also, from Blue Chip, be ready to earn up to five entries for the Quick Fire Slot Tournament which will be held on Sunday, July 21. B Connected members are invited to play between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10:59 p.m. on Sunday (July 7), Monday (July 8), Sunday, July 14, and Monday, July 15. You will be awarded one entry to the tournament when you earn 40 tier credits on any of those days. After you earn enough tier credits, print your entry at a promotional kiosk during the valid earning period. Please visit the B Connected Center on property for all the details.

FOUR WINDS: Top off a festive Fourth of July holiday weekend on Sunday (July 7) at all Four Winds Casino destinations with the $215,000 “Hot Summer Wheels” event. At 9 p.m. (EDT) one winner will be selected to win a red, white, and blue Chevy Corvette Stingray Coupe at New Buffalo and South Bend, and another Chevy Corvette Stingray Coupe winner will be selected at Hartford or Dowagiac. In addition, every hour from noon to 8 p.m., one winner at New Buffalo and South Bend will each win $1,000 in instant credit/free slot play, while one winner will be selected at either Hartford or Dowagiac. Finally, at 10 p.m. a lucky guest will be awarded $5,000 in cash. W Club members continue to receive one complimentary entry daily through the day of the promotion by swiping their player’s card at the promotional kiosk at any Four Winds location. Earn additional entries playing slots and table games.

MAJESTIC STAR: Celebrate “Stars & Stripes Week” at the Gary property and you could have a 2019 Sun Tracker Fishin’ Barge 20DLX hitched to your ride for your next vacation. The fun began on Monday of this week and will continue daily through Friday (July 5). Swipe your Majestic Rewards player’s club card today (Thursday) anytime from 8 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. to receive bonus entries for the drawing or $500 in Promo Cash. On Friday swipe from 8 a.m. to 8:55 p.m. to be eligible for the 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. drawings. Two winners every 30 minutes will be awarded $250 in Promo Cash. The grand prize Sun Tracker Fishin’ Barge will be given away to a lucky winner at 9 p.m.

In other news from Majestic Star, poker room manager Nick Zacny sends word that another Mid-States Poker Tournament will be taking place in August, preceded by a daily schedule of satellites. “The Main Event will be held Aug. 16 to 18,” Zacny said. “Our satellites will run July 27 through Aug. 17. We expect to beat our record and have a nice turnout.” Please visit msptpoker.com for a complete tournament schedule.

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

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.