CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Technology Changes Casinos

1 December 2019

QUESTION: I was thinking about technology and how some things that were game changing in the recent past have practically been discarded now.

Specifically, I was thinking about video recording. When I was a kid, you watched a TV show when it aired or you didn’t watch. Video tape changed all that, but now I don’t know anyone who still uses VHS. Even DVDs are giving way to digital storage or streaming.

There have to be things like that in casinos, right? Things that totally changed the way people played that are relics of the past now.

ANSWER: Sure. Time and technology march on in casinos just as in the rest of the world.

One example would be the coin hopper, introduced by Bally Gaming in the mid-1960s on the Money Honey slot machine.

Before the coin hopper, coins for payouts were stacked in tubes, leaving a limited supply. The coin hopper enabled use of a pool of coins, allowing for larger payouts between machine fills. That was an important step for slot manufacturers in offering games with more attractive odds and payouts.

Today’s games that pay out in bar-coded tickets don’t need coins at all, and modern machines aren’t fitted with hoppers.

Another is the virtual reel. This hasn’t disappeared completely because there are still slots with mechanical reels in some casinos. Mechanical reels can’t be too big with too many symbols, because the reels have to fit inside the machine casing.

With the virtual reel, multiple random numbers are mapped onto the same symbols or spaces. That enables programmers to make the reel behave as if it has more symbols than it really does, and that greatly enhances flexibility in odds and payouts. In the heyday of three-reel slots, big jackpot games such as Megabucks would have been impossible without the virtual reel.

Modern video slots can just display as long a reel as is needed for the desired play experience without worrying about taking up physical space.

Your thoughts on video tape work in the casino world, too. It was revolutionary when security rooms adopted video tape for surveillance. Today, tape has been replaced by digital recording.


QUESTION: I was reading about the roulette tables with three zeroes instead of one or two. Bad deal for players.

What would stop it from getting even worse? Why couldn’t some one put four zeroes on their wheels, or five? The house edge would keep going up and players would lose money faster, but the casino could just jingle its money belt.

ANSWER: The main constraints on casinos would be the need for approval by state gaming boards or commissions, along with the reactions of players. There also would be some cost in buying custom-made wheels and table felts, but that alone wouldn’t be enough to deter a determined operator.

Triple-zero roulette has a 7.69 percent house edge, compared with 5.26 on double-zero an 2.7 percent on single-zero wheels. Would gaming boards approve quadruple-zero roulette with a 10-percent edge? I hope it’s never put to the test.

If such a game reached casino floors, informed players would stay away from it. Among those players who will try anything, would enough stick with the game to justify its space on the floor?

I would hope enough would notice the quick erosion of their bankrolls to leave empty spaces around the layout. Games that don’t make profits disappear quickly.
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski