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Real Surprises in Store for Players1 April 2007
Two big casino corporations have decided to change their philosophy of gambling to offer players a more "player friendly" experience. In a March, 2004 press release, the new CEO of Caesars Entertainment (formerly Park Place Entertainment) James Caruthers is quoted as stating: "Our volume of business is massive and we have decided to loosen both the table games and the machines."
The press release was admittedly vague, so I gave Mr. Caruthers a call to clarify just what he meant by his use of the word "loosen."
"Frank, we are going to revolutionize the gaming industry. We have so many properties that we are going to look at them as one enterprise and structure our games accordingly."
"Yes, but what does that mean?" I pressed.
"Okay, here is what we are planning. We are going to make the lowest denomination slot machines in our casino 98 percent returns, the quarter and dollar machines will be 99 percent return, and when you play a $5 or greater machine, you will play with a 99.9 percent guaranteed return. We don't think any other casino will be able to compete with us in this area because we aren't going to worry about whether this or that property is achieving some artificial monetary goal as long as our total revenues are strong nationwide. Our new slot payouts will go a long way towards making us the place to play slots in the country. We want to get every slot player in the country playing our machines and we have plans to create three times as much floor space as we have now to accommodate the rush of players to our properties once the word get out about how really loose are machines are."
On the table-game front, Caruthers was also enthusiastic. "We are eliminating all those single-deck 6/5 blackjack games and going back to single deck, stand on soft 17, and 3/2 blackjack payoffs. We are also getting rid of all the continuous shuffle machines on our six- and eight-deck games and going back to dealers shuffling. At craps, all games will have $1 table minimums and 20X odds. You'll have automatic buys on the 4, 5, 9, and 10 and we will give you quarters to make sure that the payouts keep the house edge at around 1 percent. All roulette games will be single-zero wheels with en prison, we'll just take half a losing bet on the even-money outside wagers."
Mr. Caruthers seemed positively elated by the new developments at Caesars. "I am a gambler from way back and I know these new games will bring in the customers. Caesars will be the market standard in gaming once we put them into effect next month [May, 2004]."
After my discussion with Caruthers, my head was reeling. Then I received a press release for April from MGM-Mirage that blew me away. Here is part of it: "In an effort to position MGM-Mirage as the market leader in player-friendly games, MGM-Mirage will institute dramatic changes in our slot, video poker and table games. When people come to Vegas, the standard will be our properties for the best games in the world."
I called the PR head, Milt Rosenswag, who sent out the press release and asked him if MGM-Mirage was responding to the direction that Caesars had pointed to in its March press release. He stated that his company was well aware of what Caesars was doing but that MGM-Mirage had "game loosening" on its drawing board for a year or more and they were just waiting for what they considered "an opportune time" to announce it and put the changes into effect.
I then pressed him as to what changes he was talking about. After swearing me to secrecy - "You can write about this in April for Casino Player but not before. We want that press release to hit first and cause a stir." - he outlined the most ambitious player-friendly gaming experiment ever tried.
When I asked him how he thought his casino could possibly make money giving such generous games, he said, "We are looking to increase the volume of traffic on our properties. People will buy in the gift shops and spend on other things. We'll make our money. More importantly, we will outmaneuver Caesars with this bold initiative."
Just as I was putting this article to bed, I received a call from Jack Binion, who told me he as building a brand new casino in Vegas. He was going to make both Caesars and MGM-Mirage "look like pikers."
"My plan," said Jack, "is to reverse the casino/player relationship. In blackjack, if the player busts and the dealer busts, the player will win! In craps, if a player bets $36 on a prop bet like 12 and loses, he will only lose $30, not the $36. But if he wins, he wins the whole $36! On slots, a nickel player will receive quarters for payout; a quarter player will receive dollars, and a dollar player will receive five dollars."
Then the alarm rang and I woke up. April fool!
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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