One form of gambling that’s a hit with customers and still remains lucrative for the house is the penny slots. With the advent of paper tickets instead of the outpouring of coins when someone hits, penny slots are much more practical than they were before. Imagine turning in even a $100 payout all in one cent pieces?
With the penny slots, gamblers can have all the fun of the high rolling machines but bets start at a penny or two. Of course, bets can go up to $10 and most tend to fall closer to the 50 cent range but it’s the illusion of cheap gambling that drives the craze. Penny slot games keep the customer gambling longer so the average still falls heavily on the side of the house.
In a year where gambling revenues fell nationwide and even in such gambling meccas as Macau, a few states that still offer penny slots actually saw revenue rise. Penny gambling machines accounted for 25% of all slot machine revenue in Nevada for 2008 and even higher in other states. Missourigambling revenues were actually up over 2007 and a large amount of that increase can be attributed to the popularity of penny slots.
Experts say that casinos that serve mostly a local market, like the ones in Missouri, rely on the low-rolling gamblers from the area that visit frequently. Unlike destinations resorts like Vegas, local gamblers will visit the casino much more often, sometimes weekly. Many of these gamblers will play the penny slot machines as part of their evening out.
“Affordability is why people love them,” said Frank Legato, editor of Las Vegas-based Global Gaming Business magazine. “Casinos just love them because the average bets are the same as the quarter or dollar games, but their house edge is bigger on these games.
“People playing penny machines are not concerned about that. They just want to have fun and play a long time with little money.”