‘Guaranteed’ play’s coming

Aug 21, 2007 3:17 AM

One of the first applications of server-based gaming will be "guaranteed play," which sells a specific number of spins or hands for a fixed price.

IGT is already marketing its guaranteed play system, and its first versions will probably appear in Station casinos this year, even though the initial version won’t be part of a server-slot floor.

The system IGT is marketing features 75 hands of video poker for $20, or 200 hands for $40. The sessions will be delivered via a ticket, similar to the "cashless" tickets that are inserted into the bill acceptors.

Once a ticket is inserted into a machine, the credit meter would be set to zero. The meter will go down (negative) when a credit is played and no award is made, or increase when jackpots are won.

Whether the meter goes up or down, the players never have to pay out any more money. A the end of the session (or any point during the session), if there’s a positive amount on the meter, the player can cash out.

The obvious benefit to the casino is that a customer will be fixed on a machine for a specific time period, and that the tickets will probably bring new customers onto the floor.

The downside to the casino is that there might be less chance that a customer goes on a spending binge and keeps racking up the losses.

From the player’s perspective, she is guaranteed a specific amount of time on the machine with no risk of racking up big losses.

The downside is that the customer may have a larger "bite" taken out of a large jackpot than a traditional player.

For instance, if a guaranteed play customer and traditional play customer both get a royal flush on the first hand then cease playing, it would cost the guaranteed play customer $20 and the traditional play customer only $1.25.

But the difference in odds is so minute that most guaranteed play customers wouldn’t notice the.

The only customers who may not prefer guaranteed play are the very serious video poker players who would notice the difference and would prefer to play the traditional way.