Las Vegas Penny Slots A Ripoff? Have Your Gambling Habits Changed?

I agree with the reader who complained about the “tight” slots. First, the casinos need to change the name, but they will never do that. When you have to play a minimum of 50 coins in some of the penny machines just to get the reels to turn, it is no longer a penny slot machine. Many require anywhere from 50 to 360 coins to play. Do you see any of these type of machines in the high limit area? Never.

These “penny” slots are a ripoff. The payout is horrible. I think this is a way for the casinos to force people to play table games. It has worked with me. I used to love slots. Put in 3 quarters and you have a chance for a good win. BUT, put in 75 pennies and you can win 25 WHOLE DOLLARS! Wow! I have been visiting Vegas 1-3 times/year for 20 years. The only thing more annoying than these penny slots is the card snappers!

John Wilda from Vermont


Ted Responds:

I’m with you. You are preaching to the choir here! The amount visitors spend gambling when visiting Las Vegas has declined by roughly 1/3 over the past few years. Obviously, the recession plays a major part. BUT… I think that people are also sensing they are getting ripped off and just not wanting to play as much. When your money doesn’t seem to last as long, you decide to keep it in your pocket. Maybe get a drink, walk the strip, go see Bellagio Fountains, spend a couple extra bucks on dinner instead of gaming.

Penny slots are statistically the tightest slots out there. On top of it all, you can’t even tell what you are doing an now to win on half of them!

I consider myself a pretty bright guy. I successfully counted cards back in the day, and I know pretty much every bet at the craps table (including all the really complicated ones). But I can’t make heads-or-tails of what is going on at many penny slot machines. Add to that the “new” 6-5 payout blackjack (popular on The Strip, it short-changes you as your payout on a blackjack should give you back $7.50 for every $5 bet, not $6.00 for every $5 bet), and you are giving people one heck of an incentive to keep their gaming money in their pocket.

Side Note: The El Cortez (newly remodeled and a very comfortable place to play) downtown continues to offer $5 minimum, hand-held, full-pay blackjack. If that’s your game, the “El Co” is the place to be.

Readers, this is a great time to speak up. Are you playing the penny slots? Do you like them? How has your gambling changed over the years: Are you spending more or less, playing the same or different games than you used to? Comment in the comment box below.

Ted Newkirk
CEO, Managing Editor

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