Vanishing Slots – is it a sign of hard times in CT? Or is it just the life of a slot machine?
If you walk around Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun, you become increasingly aware of spaces that used to have slot caroms or table games. It just feels weird.
There might be other reasons for the diminishing gaming areas, but after reading an article in the magazine Casino Player, I thought it was an interesting idea for a post. So how do slots get on the floor, and how long do they last? And when removed where do they go and why do they get removed?
So let’s tackle some of these questions:
1) How do they get on the floor? Who owns them?
Casinos buy some slots and will rotate them based on their play and take. But these days, many slots are leased, especially slots like The Walking Dead and Michael Jackson are generally placed on casino floors are leased with revenue shared between the manufacturer and the casino operator. In some states, such as Maryland, one of only a few states where slot machines are not purchased by casino owners, is facing tens of millions of dollars in unanticipated costs that are expected to eat into state proceeds for years to come. So, the combination of owning and leasing still seems the way to go.
2) What happens when a slot is taken off the floor and why is it?
A slot may not continue to be popular, simply become old, or if leased, may be time to swap it out for the next newly leased machine. Traditionally, when the machines have gotten old or quit earning, they have been sold to slot-machine resellers, who would in turn sell them in the international market to casinos in places like Aruba or the Bahamas. (So, if you’re missing that “I Dream of Jeanie” slot machine, try an island casino or maybe a cruise casino!) Newer technology, though, has enabled slot machines to easily be switched from one game to another. Most newer games have LCD video monitors that enable a slot to be changed out making it easier for old slots to not be removed, just switched out and simply “refilled” with a new game.
3) How much does a slot machine cost to buy?
Of course, this question is for casino bought, not personal use. (By the way, it is illegal in most states to even own a slot machine in your house. See the last word on the famous “Lion Share” progressive machine that used to be at MGM, Las Vegas)
Depending on the the machine, it’s around from $10,000. According to Casino & Slots Review, “recent numbers indicate that Bally sells their machines for $9,671.00 each. WMS sells their slot machines for $11,840.00. IGT sells theirs for less than that in some cases because their business model allows for game changes which costs an additional amount.”
Oh, and about that famous, overly-written but legendary progressive slot “Lion’s Share.” Lion’s Share is a standard older mechanical slot machine and quietly sat there without screaming for attention with neither video nor neon lures. It has a retro look and those bygone era mechanical dials. This final machine is kept in active operation because Nevada state gaming laws stipulate that a progressive jackpot must be won by a player and not pocketed by a casino. All the others that were part of this group had hit and were taken off the floor – but not THIS ONE. Walter and Linda Misco won a $2.4 million jackpot from the legendary “Lion’s Share” slot machine at MGM Grand in August and wanted to keep the machine. MGM worked with regulators and removed the machine’s gaming technology, crossing several legal hurdles to send the machine to the couple’s vacation home in Florida; they can’t keep it at their New Hampshire home, as the machine is not old enough to be in a private collection, by state law. So, they got to keep the legendary slot which was the oldest slot machine at the MGM Grand, custom-made for its opening over 20 years ago.