New England Casino Awards – Final Analysis of 2018

There were some different winners in our awards this year, but not exactly what we thought they would be. With MGM Springfield on the scene, I assumed that it would be well represented.  Instead, Mohegan Sun added to it’s New England prominence. Here is our analysis:

BEST HOTEL – With the most rooms and most variations in room decor and layout, it has to be Foxwoods.  Even with Twin River’s hotel opening, Oxford Casino Hotel open for over a year, Tiverton’s opening including hotel and the opening of MGM Springfield, Foxwoods is still the best choice for hotels. MGM Springfield’s Hotel is one of a kind, and we highly recommend trying a stay there.  The many intricacies of Springfield history can be found through out the casino and continued in the Hotel decor.

MGM Tower at Foxwoods - Right side.

Fox and Grand Pequot Hotels & Casinos

BARS –  When it comes to places for libations, there are two types in casinos.  First, the typical bar, sometimes with entertainment, usually offers great drinks and dining options. The video poker bar is an important gambling choice provided, usually including slots, keno and sometimes electronic blackjack.  Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun tied in this category, and why not with so many bars and VP bars available in their multiple casinos.  But it should be mentioned that MGM Springfield’s Walk-up Bar and Commonwealth Bar have terrific ambiance.  Now, if only they had playable video poker…….

Commonwealth Bar at MGM Springfield

BEST DINING OPTIONS & BEST DINING VALUE  – Our voters pretty much nailed this. Mohegan Sun offers the gamut on one property, especially in the area of lower cost eateries.  But, I also feel when considering just high end restaurants, Foxwoods would edge out the competition. However, even the fun establishments such as Sugar are in the hefty price range at Foxwoods. Since we visit all New England Casinos, some restaurants need some mention. Tiverton Casino’s Tuscan Chophouse and Italian cuisine at Trattoria Romana are great restaurants with local ties. When it comes to great steak houses, New England’s casinos offer a wide variety of excellent steakhouses.  Consider MGM’s Chandler Steakhouse, Jordan’s Steakhouse at Mohegan Sun, Cedars and David Burke’s Prime at Foxwoods, Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse at Twin River and Slack’s Oyster House & Grill at Plainridge Park for your next beef bonanza.

Again, NETG applauds the voters in selecting David Burke Prime as outstanding high-end restaurant.  It has everything you’d fine in the best eateries in Las Vegas.

David Burke Prime, Foxwoods

BEST BUFFET – Mohegan’s Sunrise Buffet is just the best, ’nuff said.

ENTERTAINMENT, BEST SMALL VENUE – The Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun is hands down the #1 favorite. The Sun offers outstanding free entertainment on the weekends. But free entertainment has increased at other properties.  Foxwoods raised the ante in the Atrium Lounge, Hard Rock Cafe and Centrale.  Plainridge Park Casino not only offers good entertainment at their Revolution Lounge, but also at the Loft – including Comedy. Twin River’s Lighthouse Lounge continues to offer great free entertainment. Speaking of comedy, Roar! at MGM Springfield’s Armory and Mohegan Sun’s Comix leads the way.

ENTERTAINMENT, BEST LARGE VENUE – Even with the addition of MGM Springfield’s MassMutual Center, Mohegan Sun Arena is still the best venue in New England.

Mohegan Sun Arena

BEST SLOTS – I think it’s simple – wherever you win is where your preferred slots are. No one knows the payback percentage, and a slot players play is very short play and really can’t give anyone a good idea on how high the payout is. Most casinos have the same newest slots.  But what I found interesting was the lack of Buffalo slots or Wheel of Fortune machines mentioned! Instead, Wonder Woman?  who’d a thunk it?

BEST VIDEO POKER – Mohegan Sun is the only New England Casino to offer full pay VP – Jacks or Better – at the quarter level up. As long as they offer it, the Sun will continue to be the best VP in New England.  We know from experience at their other properties that Wynn & MGM will never offer Full Pay VP, rarely even at $1 levels.  So, this award may be good through 2020.  Decent VP paytables can be found at Plainridge Park and Foxwoods.

TABLE GAMES – Players of all levels appreciate good rules & low starting limits, especially on traditional games.  In New England, Foxwoods and MoSun had this covered, but recently have raised minimums and introduced 6:5 Blackjack.  Maine casinos, while having similar rules, lack the amount and mix of traditional table & “carnival” games. Twin River & Tiverton offer table games with slightly higher limits, with most games starting at $10, and MGM Springfield has lowered minimums to be more competitive. While Mohegan Sun won this time, it will be anyone’s game in the future as all casinos seem to be offering the same games, same minimums and same rules.

MGM Springfield Poker Room – most comfy in New England?

An interesting change has been seen in two areas – favorite game and poker rooms.  Craps has taken over as the popular table game in the casino. And when it comes to poker rooms, MGM Springfield, with what is now considered the most comfy poker room in New England,  has made a great run at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun to the point that all thee poker rooms, as well as Twin River Casino’s poker room, are in a dead heat right now. Mohegan Sun is down-sizing its poker room and moving it to a different casino area, which could really change the feel of their poker room. You can bet that poker is alive and well in New England.

BEST RACEBOOK/SPORTSBOOK – The Sun won this category last year, with Foxwoods winning this year. Rhode Island’s legal sportsbook must have been too new for most to be counted this year. When Twin River open their real betting area, it could easily win next year, unless CT and MA approves legal sports-betting this year

BEST PLAYERS CLUB – Even with changes, Foxwoods continues to lag behind Mohegan Sun.  MLife at MGM Springfield could be a big players club in the coming years with properties on both east & west coast – especially access to Las Vegas Strip properties.

Thanks to all who participated this year.  It’s always fun.  What changes are in store this year?  We’ll just have to wait……

Binbin

 

 

2019 NEW ENGLAND CASINO AWARDS

SPONSORED BY

Our New England Casino Poll Starts in Five Days!

The time has come for all you crazy (or serious) New England Casino visitors to vote for this year’s favorites. You don’t need to live in New England to vote – New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey – let your voice be heard!

This is the 4th year for NETimeGambling’s annual Awards celebrating the best in our expanding gaming landscape.  This year, we will have one additional casino, four new hotels, and more restaurants than ever before. Time to compare the reward clubs as well – MLife, Choice rewards (formerly Marquee Rewards), Twin River, Oxford, Momentum and Foxwoods Rewards.

New England Casino Awards votes can be made by:

  1. Subscribing to our Website NETimeGambling.com
  2. Following us on Twitter 
  3. Following us on our Facebook page
  4. Following us on the New England Casinos Facebook group page

Our survey starts on Friday, January 19th. You can only vote once, so make your vote count!

For a look at last year’s winners, check out: New England Casino Awards 2018 and New England Casino Awards – Final Analysis of 2017

2019 NEW ENGLAND CASINO AWARDS – TIME TO VOTE IN FIVE DAYS!!! 

Binbin

6:5 Blackjack IS a Big Deal at New England Casinos

This past week, I was saddened to hear Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods are taking the plunge into lowering BlackJack pay-tables from 3:2 to 6:5 for a blackjack. With increased competition in table games from Twin Rivers & Tiverton Casinos, MGM Springfield and the upcoming Encore Boston Harbor, I thought keeping all of their blackjack tables with a 3:2 payout would be wise – setting them apart for recreational blackjack players and AP’s (Advantage Players) alike.  I guess that assumption was wrong. I guess they believe that lowering the bar to all the other casinos will save them money and the gaming public is too stupid to think it matters. Maybe their right.

Other important considerations in blackjack such as penetration, the number of decks in the shoe, and dealer rules will be in future posts. If you are new to the intricacies of blackjack rules, try our related posts below:

Blackjack – Which Casino Format is Best For You?

12 Tips For Blackjack Beginners

Introduction

Competition among casinos has always been thought to be good for the consumer.  According to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), “Competition in America is about price, selection, and service. It benefits consumers by keeping prices low and the quality and choice of goods and services high.”

Translated to casino terms, competition should:

  1. keep prices low  – such as dining, hotel expenses, show prices, amenities, parking
  2. keep the quality and choice of goods and services high – good gambling rules, great casino service on casino floor, good hotel service and rooms that are well kept and enjoyable to stay, dining and drink quality high

But what if EVERYBODY raises prices and cuts back on the quality of the casino experience?  Then, there IS NO competition – just a joint greed to rake their patrons over the coals – nickel and diming them much like the airlines have done over the years.

Sure, there are cost of living and inflation changes that come along that are expected. Casinos do compete with little pockets of offers such as rewards clubs tier matching, kiosk swipes and promotions to get you through their casino door. But compared to the negatives – paid parking, resort fees, raising the house edge on gaming rules and payout tables – competition doesn’t seem to be a friend of the gambling consumer.

Black Jack Changes

Which brings me to today’s post – good gaming rules continue to be compromised. It seems casino bean-counters don’t believe the mantra from the gambling masses – “Give us good rules and we will gamble.” So, to my dismay, when I started to hear the erosion of blackjack rules locally, I just couldn’t understand it….. but alas, it’s true.

Foxwoods recently added more tables in their Fox Casino, only to offer $10 black jack exclusively with 6:5 BJ payout, to accompany another terrible payout with it’s $1 6:5 BJ, with $.25 commission per hand. Cedars and Grand Pequot casino offers both. $25 is the cutoff to get 3:2 Blackjack. The Stadium Blackjack is 6:5 also. Rumors of even money coming to electronic blackjack has already showed its ugly face in New England on many video poker machines.

Mohegan Sun raised the minimum limit tables to $10 some time ago – no $5 BJ tables anymore. Much like Foxwoods, they have taken out slots to add more table games and especially blackjack tables with 6:5 payout.

MGM Springfield opened with the same 6:5 Blackjack tables at lower denominations of $10 & $15, with the $25 tables offering 3:2. On the Vegas Strip, MGM is one of many casinos that have put good table games rules on the endangered species list, along with casino “fun books,” free parking and keno.

6:5 Black Jack and House Edge

You get a BlackJack around 1 in 21 hands. So does the dealer. So around 5% of the time, you will be paid $3 less on a $10 bet. So around 15 cents per hand, or 1.5%. Under the proposed changes to 6:5 payouts, the House Edge will be 2.019% vs. the current 0.35% – a pretty big jump in edge from 3:2 to 6:5.

1.5%-2% is still pretty decent odds for a table game, considering the house edge in roulette and carnival games the likes of Caribbean Stud & Let It Ride. For a non-counting average player it’s probably not noticeable. But it certainly screws over Advantage Player’s, especially with other poor rules as mid penetration, no surrender, and dealer hitting on soft 17. Obviously these differences get magnified over the long term, as serious bettors make thousands of wagers over time.

Is this what casinos are counting on to weed out the counters, and keep the recreational gambler and newbie.?  The thing that casinos don’t get is that they will not make more money! The same amount of people will lose the same amount of money, just faster. And AP’s won’t bother with anything below $25 games anyway.

Here’s an very simplistic example. Newbie Norm knows basic strategy and plays for recreation. His usual bankroll is $200 which usually lasts 3 hours.  With the simple change to 6:5 games, his bankroll now only lasts 2.5 hours. Eventually, he finds his money doesn’t last as long and stops visiting all together. How can changing to 6:5 at lower denominations make a difference at the $5, $10, and $15 level?

No Judgement here – play what you want But Vote with Your Wallet

If you want to maximize your odds of having a good turn at the blackjack table, be on the lookout for 3:2 tables.  Spread the word to friends and family, educate them on the difference.  Let them know they have a voice and a vote with every dollar they wager. Let casino staff and dealers know why you play less at that particular casino. Better yet, switch your loyalty to a casino that has preferable rules to you . It’s your choice – no judgement here. Just be an informed consumer before you decide to spend your money wherever you want. You might be surprised how much longer your session will last and how much more fun playing blackjack can be as a recreational gambler.

Binbin