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Best of John Grochowski

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The Casino Answer Man

23 November 1999

I just went to the Wisconsin Dells area a couple of weeks ago, and loved the fact that I could play at a $3 blackjack table at Ho-Chunk Casino with little waiting, and that the majority of tables had $5 minimum bets. There were many empty tables.

My question is, what will it take for a Chicago-area casino to introduce a $3 table? We have seen the recent introduction of nickel slots to the area, something Ho-Chunk has had for years. I think $3 blackjack or single-zero roulette would be long overdue. I know the casinos have to make as much money as possible, but having a $3 blackjack table could be the difference of me going or not going to a local casino.

Finally, could you explain the "no roulette, no craps" rule that governs Indian casinos at Ho-Chunk and even out in Arizona near Phoenix? I was told about the rule by a pit boss at Ho-Chunk, but he could give no explanation and added they have had many requests for roulette and craps.

You answer your own first question when you note that many of the $5 tables at Ho-Chunk were empty. Ho-Chunk offers $3 tables because it has seats to fill. Closer to Chicago, on the casino boats in Illinois and Indiana, space is at a premium. It's often difficult to get a seat at a $5 table. Given that there is no shortage of $5 players, there's little incentive for local casinos to open tables with lower minimum bets.

Another factor is the state gaming tax. Illinois casinos that pay the state up to 35 percent of revenue, with no expenses deducted, must make more money per game to make it profitable than does a Native American casino in Wisconsin. Table limits aside, players in Illinois and Indiana often face games with higher house edges than they'll find in Nevada, with its 6 percent gaming tax, or Mississippi, with an 8 percent tax. Whether through higher betting minimums or higher house edges, casinos here try to make each game profitable enough to overcome the nation's highest gaming tax without making the games so tough they chase away customers.

There have occasionally been $3 tables in Illinois. Empress Joliet has offered $3 blackjack on some early morning cruises. Drive three hours to East Peoria and you'll find $3 tables at Par-A-Dice.

As for Native American casinos that don't offer craps or roulette, that is all spelled out in tribal compacts with the governor of the host state. By federal law, any game of chance that is legal in state-regulated casinos is also legal on Native American lands. If a Native American tribe were to open a casino in Illinois, where craps and roulette are legal on the riverboats, the tribe would be allowed to offer craps and roulette.

However, in states with no state-regulated casinos, games that are permitted are spelled out in compacts. Typically, state goverments have tried to limit the scale of gaming in the tribal casinos, while the Native Americans have tried to negotiate as many games as possible into the compact. What you actually see on the casino floors is what both sides were willing to accept at the end of negotiations.


For more information about casinos and casino management:

The Casino Answer Book by John Grochowski
Casino Operations Management by Jim Kilby and Jim Fox
Las Vegas: Behind the Tables by Barney Vinson
Las Vegas Behind the Tables Part II by Barney Vinson
Casino Secrets by Barney Vinson
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