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By John Grochowski on Wednesday June 23, 2010
casinos, comps, slots
I once took a phone call from a reader who had a complaint:
“My wife plays quarter slots,” he said, “and she gets cash coupons and free buffet offers in the mail. I play $5 a hand blackjack, and I get nothing. What gives?”
What gives is that someone playing 500 spins an hour, betting three quarters at a time on a three-reel slot, risks $375 an hour. A $5 blackjack player at a full table plays about 50 hands an hour, and risks only $250 an hour.
Not only that. In Mississippi, the casino expects to keep about $6 to $7 for every $100 wagered on quarter slots, but only about $2 per hundred bet by an average blackjack player. That combination of speed and a higher house edge means average losses are higher for the slot player. In an average hour, the casino collects about $22.50 to $26.25 from a quarter slot player, and only about $5 from a $5 blackjack player.
Of course, there will be times either player has bigger losses than that in an hour, and times either player will have a winning session. If it didn’t work like that no one would play — it’s the possibility of wins that keep us coming back, and there have to be losing sessions to fund the winners.
Casino comps are based on the amount the casino expects to win from you. Quarter slot players will get more than $5 blackjack players — but then, they also contribute more to the casino’s bottom line.