Back when the pandemic shutdowns of casinos happened, and the reopenings of casinos were beginning to happen, I wrote an article talking about whether players should expect major changes to payback after reopening. Someone who recently found the post didn’t like what I had to say and left this comment:
NONSENSE. I gamble in Vegas, Atlantic City, Biloxi, Detroit & New Orleans and I have NEVER has such a massive LOSING STREAK at slots.
Make no mistake, I AM A GAMBLER. I pack between $5,000-$10,000 with me on each visit, I read my Win/Loss statements. I know for a fact that the house can and does tighten/loosen slots. A slot programmer in New Orleans, TOLD ME TO MY FACE that they tightened up the slots as much as legally allowed by state law.
Is the same thing going on in Las Vegas, or anywhere else? I’m not sure because no one admitted it to me, but my Win/Loss reports suggest they have been tightened up. I do fare better in Las Vegas at MGM properties better than anywhere else.
A friend of mine sent me a screenshot of his win/loss from the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas midway through 2021. Over half a million in coin-in, and he managed to have payback of more than 100 percent. Does that mean the Cosmo pays over 100 percent? To use your own word, nonsense.
Everything you’ve outlined is simply one data point. You cannot surmise a casino’s overall payback from one win/loss record. For the same reason, I can’t look at three years of win/loss at MGM Grand, which for me in a three year swing was under 70 percent, and presume that’s what the casino’s set to pay, not the least of which is that in Nevada, it has to be over 75 percent, per regulations.
Your gambling budget also doesn’t really matter as much as the game you’re playing and the number of spins. If you’re not doing hundreds of thousands to millions of spins, it’s quite likely you can be some ways away from the overall payback because of something called variance.
I have lots of people tell me slot techs (I presume that’s what you mean by a slot programmer) told them things to their face, and usually I wince at what follows because it doesn’t make sense or is simply inaccurate. Casinos furloughed or laid off their entire staff, slot techs included, when they closed, and basically opened things as they were left when they closed (which is the article you’re replying to). And I’ve done multiple articles since that indicate, in markets I’ve reviewed, that the paybacks haven’t changed in any meaningful way since.
But don’t take my word for it – there’s an easy way to verify this for yourself. Vegas, Atlantic City, Biloxi and New Orleans are all markets with commercial casinos that are required to report data to the state government, including their overall hold, which is the inverse of payback – if the casino holds 10 percent, their slots paid back 90 percent (simple example, not meant to be considered an actual example).
The American Casino Guide Book, along with recent payback data, has information on how to check the data in all those markets. You can compare 2018 and 2019 to 2020 and 2021 to see how things have evolved. I’ve looked at Vegas and Atlantic City in detail, and it’s been consistent. I plan on looking at other markets in the future, but you don’t need to wait for me to do so as the data’s available for anyone to review!
I’m sorry you’ve had a bad run, but bad runs are part of gambling, and it’s not nonsense for them to happen without a single change to slot paybacks. Gamblers want to have something or someone to blame for a bad run, but your budget, win/loss and other anecdotal data can’t really tell you what’s happening with slot paybacks. The overall reporting can, and I hope you find what you’re looking for there.