A penny for your thoughts. Or, make that slots

Apr 20, 2009 9:04 PM
by Ray Poirier | Forget the high rollers, say casino operators in Missouri, just send us the penny slots players. That’s where the money is.

After reviewing the results of gambling in the Show-Me State, officials found that more than half of all casino revenue came from penny slots.

Not that the customers play a penny per spin or hand. Actually, they play as much as they use to when facing the quarter and dollar machines. It’s just that the slot machines offer so many opportunities on the penny machines, that the players end up playing at the same level as they did with higher denominations.

Missouri’s 12 casinos hold nearly 11,000 penny slots, more than half their machines. Statewide, penny slots brought in $81.1 million in February alone which is about 55 per cent of the $146.6 million casinos won during the month, according to the Associated Press.

One executive at Harrah’s Casino in North Kansas City said the number of penny machines is growing because patrons prefer them. And he thinks that growth will continue as new technology makes no-coin play even more appealing.

Higher-denomination, three-reel slot machines will always be in demand among hard-core gamblers who play for large jackpots and not necessarily entertainment, he said, but their presence in casinos is gradually diminishing.