Where Do Old Slot Machines Go?

Where Do Old Slot Machines Go? Anyone who plays slots have their favorites.  Consequently, players find disappointment when they aren’t included in the property’s floor inventory.  Miguel, our NETG Rhode Island correspondent, could probably tell you where every “Hot Hot Penny” 5-reel slot is, or was, in New England, Atlantic City and Las Vegas casinos.  I am always on the prowl for Aristocrat’s “Betting Zoo” Cashman machine.

Some slots have been on the casino floors for years, such as Bally’s “Hot Hot Jackpot.”

Should It Stay or Should it Go?

Where Do Old Slot Machines Go? Better yet, why do some stay on the floor longer than others?

One reason is very basic. If it continues to make money, it stays – if not, bye-bye one-arm bandit. Casinos and gambling machine manufacturers have figured out that the #1 predictor of a game’s profitability is the average amount of time a gambler spends on that device. When designing new games, the slot machine manufacturers (IGT, Bally, WMS, and others) focus on features that will increase this number.

Another reason is if it is leased. A slot machine with a movie, television or celebrity theme is leased for a specific amount of time and returned to the manufacturer when the lease is over. It disappears from the floor because the rental is up, whether it’s still making money or not. The lease idea goes back to the first Megabucks wide-area-progressive machines, in which the casinos and slot manufacturers shared in the profits earned from the networked machines, as well as the liability of paying out the big jackpots. That evolved to encompass slots with lower jackpots, but expensive themes.

Parts is Parts

Finally, old machines are retired or used for parts for similar units. Malfunctions that lead them to the slot graveyard includes a blurry or dis-colored monitor, buttons don’t work after being replaced over and over, or the sound is distorted or non-existent. Mark Pilarski of Vegas Master says, “Sadly, many of the beautiful, much-loved slot machines of yesterday are no longer with us.

Playing the Slots at the Taj Mahal, Atlantic City – early 90’s

Casinos want to squeeze as much out of a slot machine as they can, so many old slot machines which have been removed from the casino floor are sent off to the workshop to be dismantled and used for parts, or otherwise sold as scrap.”

Lonely Warehouse

But not all slot machines end their lives on the scrap heap. Some are simply locked away in storage.  I can see it now. As the vault opens, the sound of whimpering old slots can be heard saying “pick me, pick me.” Unfortunately, some machines are still hoping to see the light of day in the casino one last time.

Double Diamond Slots.

Some older machines are sold.  Collectors buy them, or other casinos, especially on cruise ships or in North America, namely Caribbean Islands.  Some people buy them from collectors for home use. Only a few states, such as Arizona, allow for personal ownership.  And many of the newer machines with TITO technology (no coins) are not favorable for home usage.  Those with TITO have one problem for personal play – you need a gambling license to buy the paper for the tickets!

Summary

John Robinson, from Casino City Times, sums it up as follows:

“What a casino does when it’s finished with a slot machine depends on how it was acquired. When a slot was placed in the casino by the manufacturer on a participation basis (the casino and the manufacturer split the money won from the machine), the casino just asks the manufacturer to remove the machine. But, if the casino leased the machine, it asks the leasing company to take back the machine at the end of the lease. If a casino bought the machine, it sells it to a slot distributor or wholesaler.”

So, that’s where slot machines go after they have served their monetary purpose to the casino.  There is no slot Heaven, no Hall of Fame.The reality is sadly “you’re done Mr. Bandit, your time is up.”

How much do you know about how a slot machine works?  Take this quiz to find out:

Slot Machine Quiz – True or False

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Charitable Gaming in New Hampshire and Vermont

Charitable Gaming in New England varies by state. Here is a brief report on Charitable Gaming in New Hampshire and Vermont. Charity gambling is a “form of incentivized giving.” The intentions are honorable. Simply said, it’s a chance for a charity group to oversee gambling activities, rather than a municipality or private casino. Many states offer usual casino games with the proceeds used to further its charity’s financial duties.

New Hampshire

Rockingham Poker Room, New Hampshire

Texas Hold ’em at Rockingham Poker Room, New Hampshire

Charitable gaming in New Hampshire includes poker, bingo, Lucky 7, raffles, games of chance and card rooms. The only form of legal electronic bingo gaming is handheld electronic bingo cards. Bingo, originally “beano,” has been legal in New Hampshire since 1949. In addition, New Hampshire approved games of chance in 1977. According to Casino City,   “In 2014, the governor signed a bill into law that created more oversight for the charitable gaming industry, which was estimated to produce $75 million in bets annually. The law requires the Attorney General’s office to conduct background checks on operators and limits fees operators can charge charities. At least 35% of charitable gaming profits must go to charities, under the law. In July 2018, lawmakers increased the maximum bet allowed at charitable casinos from $4 to $10.”

Vermont

The Green Mountain state brings thoughts of maple syrup, dairy cows and Ben & Jerry’s – not gambling.  Charitable Gaming in New Hampshire and Vermont ignores gambling around them. While surrounded by states and Canada that offer commercial and tribal gambling, Vermont has stayed away. The Vermont lottery is the main form of betting inside state lines. Charitable gambling is the only legal poker game in the state. Unfortunately, strict conditions exist for poker. To be considered legal, charities must receive the entire proceeds of the game.

According to RealMoney.com, Vermont allows Charitable gambling under strict conditions. “If the entire proceeds of a game are going to a charity, it is probably legal. Vermont has a special exception or charity bingo games that allow the handing out of small prizes. Raffles are also explicitly allowed. Furthermore, Vermont explicitly allows Vegas Nights and Poker Nights.  The minimum age for all participants is 18, and the host of the event can’t be earning any profit in the role as host.”

So there you have it. We hear about Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island constantly – Maine?, not so much. Gambling is alive and well – even in those New England states considered “non-gaming.”
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New England Casino Gambling History – Updated

The New England Casino Gambling History has been much like  a horse race. To begin with, it was a slow trot for New England to socially approve of  gambling. Soon, it changed to a full sprint. In fact, there is no finish line in sight. With the word “saturation” thrown around annually, casino expansion continues. The future looks to include sports betting, casinos in Bridgeport, CT., East Windsor, CT., and southeastern Massachusetts.

With the future uncertain, let’s look back to see how we got here. In any event, let’s look back at New England Gambling History.

My interest in gambling began with playing card games such as cribbage and Michigan Rummy. With visits to Hartford Jai-Alai and Plainfield Greyhound Racetrack during my twenties, my interest grew. In fact, visits to the Sands in Atlantic City, Foxwoods Bingo Hall and future CT casinos made me even more curious.

"Roll the Bones" by Dr. David Schwartz

“Roll the Bones” by Dr. David Schwartz

One of my favorite books is “Roll the Bones” by Dr. David Schwartz. In his book, Dr. Dave explains that “….the human predilection for a wager shaped human history from the Ice Age to the Information Age. People spend nearly one trillion dollars worldwide on gambling a year–wouldn’t you like to learn a little about how we got there?”  The fact is, I did!.

To read our NETG review of his book, click here.

The New England Influence

New England played a big part in the assertion of gambling in America. According to the California State Library, English settlers differed from their Puritanical neighbors in New England in many ways. Settlers influenced the early colonies to continue traditional styles of living in a new world.  Gambling was considered a “harmless diversion, a popular and accepted activity.” Lotteries were used to bail out the Early Colonies. Financial backers of the colonies began to see gambling as the solution to diminishing finances needed for the war effort. All 13 original colonies established lotteries, usually more than one, to raise revenue. Lotteries continue to be a main source of revenue for all six New England states.

Once Upon a time….

The Pequot War of 1637 set the stage for the separation of Pequot & Mohegan Tribes. Over 350 years after, both tribes started the New England Casino expansion we see today.

The Pequot War of 1637 set the stage for the separation of Pequot and Mohegan tribes.

The Pequot and Mohegan Tribes were once one tribe. Due to the Pequot War, both tribes ended up with differences with other tribes. On the whole, different tribal and colonial alliances caused a split that continues to this day.  Over 250 years later, a bingo hall in 1985 began the history of gaming in New England.

I should mention that gambling found a homes in New England with greyhound & horse tracks, parimutuel parlors, and Jai alai frontons in Milford & Hartford CT, and Newport, RI. However, in the past ten years, the horse-racing industry has seen a major decrease in raceway operations. In addition,Jai-Alai has moved out of those states, and parimutuel parlors continue to diminish in visitors. Conversely, with the future of sports betting, parimutuel parlors may rise in popularity again.

In essence, here is  NETG’s look back at the journey of legalized gambling in New England below.

New England Casino Gambling History Timeline

Foxwoods Started it all with Bingo. This picture is the expanded Bingo Hall before Casino Expansion

Foxwoods Started it all with Bingo.


1992

The first New England Casino opens with Foxwoods opening its doors in Mashantucket, CT

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The Rainmaker at Foxwoods

Rhode Island approves VLT gaming machines (classII) at Lincoln Greyhound Park & Newport Jai Alai Originally built for greyhound racing, Twin River Casino is now a full casino.


1996

The Mohegan Tribe opens the second NE casino in Uncasville, CT

A Dollar Coin from Mohegan Sun Opening

A Dollar Coin from Mohegan Sun Opening


2005

Hollywood Slots Hotel & Raceway opens in Bangor, Maine

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine


2007

Lincoln Greyhound Park turns into Twin River Casino with class III gaming. Similarly, Newport Grand soon follows, redesigning without Jai-Alai

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2008

MGM joins Foxwoods with additional hotel / casino

MGM Tower at Foxwoods - Right side.

MGM Tower at Foxwoods – Right side.


The Expansion begins

2011

MA legislature approves Expanded Gaming Act allows construction of 3 Resort casinos & one “slot’s only casino”


2012

Oxford Casino opens in Oxford, Maine

Oxford Casino, Maine

Oxford Casino, Maine


2013

MGM pulls out of it’s Foxwoods partnership

MGM Ends Agreement with Foxwoods

MGM Ends Agreement with Foxwoods


2015

Plainridge Park Casino Opens at Plainridge Raceway as the first Massachusetts casino (slots-only)

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts


2018

     A Big Year for New England Casinos and Hotels 

Oxford Casino, Oxford ME, adds Hotel, expanded casino and Ox Pu

Oxford Hotel & Casino

MGM Springfield Resort Casino opens

MGM Springfield

Newport Grand Slots Casino closes

Newport Grand Slots, Newport, RI

Tiverton Casino & Hotel opens

Tiverton Casino/ Hotel.

Twin River Casino adds Hotel

Twin River Hotel Lobby

Mohegan Sun opens Earth Expo Center

Mohegan Expo Center

Rhode Island approves and opens the first Sports Betting in New England

Opening day of Phase I Sports Book at Twin River Casino


2019

Encore Boston Harbor to open in the fall

Encore Boston Harbor rendition, courtesy of Encore Boston Harbor pressroom


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