Introduction to Assessing Casinos for Success
Every year millions of people vacation to Las Vegas with an expectation of gambling. But, far more people visit a growing number of casinos near their homes. Either way, not all casinos are created equal. So, which one is right for you?
Below, I’ll discuss the best approaches for assessing available casinos, wherever they may be located. Visiting a casino is an enjoyable and entertaining experience for many people. Here, I’ll explain the basics of assessing available casinos. The other steps to learning to win at slots are:
Within the last few decades, gambling has become legalized in more and more U.S. states as well as abroad. This has resulted in a considerable increase in the number of gambling establishments available locally. In the following sections, I’ll explain:
- Different types of casinos (Casinos, Casino Resorts, Slot Parlors, Racinos, etc.)
- How to locate slot machine venues
- Making the most of state gaming commission information
- What to look for when physically visiting a casino
- Online resources for gathering useful casino information
Caution: When planning to gamble money playing slot machines, it is important for players to know how much money they can afford to spend without financial difficulty or hardship. They should be aware of the monetary risks involved, and only play games with money they can comfortably afford to lose at.
Casinos versus Slots Parlors versus Racinos
The word “casino” can be used specifically or quite generally. In general, casino is the word used to describe any gambling establishment. More specifically, there are several types of casinos which need to be understood before assessing casinos. Here are the types of casinos:
- Casino Resort
- Slots Parlor
Strictly speaking, casinos are gambling establishments legally allowed to operate table games involving cards, dice, roulette-style games, or video poker as well as video and electromechanical slot machines.
Casino resorts are just like casinos as described except that, at a minimum, they have their own hotel. More likely, they also have a golf course, and other guest amenities. Note that many casinos which are not resorts have made arrangements with local hotels for their guests, but shouldn’t be considered casino resorts.
Casinos that don’t have table games or racing due to licensing limitations are generally called slots parlors. Slots parlors aren’t generally licensed to have video poker machines, as this is generally considered a higher form of state gambling license only one small step below allowing table games.
For most states, in general the lowest level of state gambling license allows the legal use of slot machines by a casino. Exceptions are Alaska, where the state licenses are limited to community bingo halls, and Hawaii and Utah where gambling has not (yet) been legalized.
Racinos are gambling establishments not legally allowed to have table games or video poker, but are allowed to have video and electromechanical slot machines. Racinos also typically have a dog or horse track, or allow remote betting at such race tracks.
Finding Slot Machine Venues Near You
There are several ways locate a nearby casino, but most of them involve being online. Since you’re reading this, I assume that’s an acceptable approach. If not, then you can expect any relatively nearby casinos to advertise on billboards along most interstate highways.
Gambling establishments can best be found with a quick Google search. Try using keywords like “casino” and the name of the state you wish to gamble within. Useful search results will likely include:
- A map of casinos, slots parlors, and racinos listed in order of distance from your current physical location
- Wikipedia entry for all the gambling establishments within your state
- Link to the official state-run gambling board or commission
- Author webpages providing casino information as a service
As always with internet searches, be sure to verify any results. Frankly, some online sources are far better than others. Besides which, as mentioned, new casinos are always opening. So, not all of these websites are as up-to-date as they might otherwise be.
State-Run Gaming Commissions
Depending on your state, one of the most accurate websites are each state’s gaming commissions or boards. Unfortunately, there is no standard format to these state-run government websites. As a result, it’s a bit of a mixed bag of what will be available. But, whatever they have, it’s all priceless information certain to be helpful somehow.
Note: As a resource for my readers, I’ve begun a year-long weekly blog series on the overall gambling situation in each U.S. state, territory, and district. Included in each post are insights regarding each state’s gaming board website. See Slot Machine Casino Gambling: State-By-State.
Assessing a Casino Part I: Finding the Best Casino Experience … For You!
Whether it’s a nearby casino or one found while traveling, assessing casinos isn’t too difficult, and becomes easier with practice. First and foremost, remember our primary objective – to find a casino with the best possible odds of winning.
Be sure to read my Identifying Your Gambling Goals to help clarify, if necessary, what you are truly looking for in a casino. Knowing your goals will help with picking the best casino for you.
Remember, you’re not looking for the best slot machine. Not right now, anyway. That comes later, in Choosing Candidate Slot Machines. Right now, you’re looking for the best casino.
Assessing a Casino Part II: Performing a Physical Assessment
Certainly it is possible to perform a physical assessment of a casino one has never been to before, local or otherwise. To do so, a simple way is to look around for any slot operators paying out jackpots. How many do you see in, say, 30 minutes?
The easiest approach is to visit the casino’s high limit slot room on a busy night at the casino. How many jackpots do you see being won? Don’t have time to wait? Well, walk right on up to the high limit floor manager or slot attendant and simply ask them how many they’ve seen since they came on shift. They’ll usually tell you.
To be fair, you’ll need to visit all the casinos you’re assessing on equally busy nights, to be able to compare casinos. What you are looking for is one casino standing out in front of all the others with, say, twice as many jackpots. If they are all about the same number, then try other assessment approaches.
Assessing casinos via a physical walk-though is also helpful to determine if a casino has whatever is important to your gambling goals. Look around. What do they have? What do you want them to have?
Do they have a valet service? Smoking parlor? A restaurant you like? Consider asking for a tour of the facilities from a host, usually located at their station near the high limit area.
One final suggestion for the physical walk-through: Check for clean restrooms. It may be a bit messy because it’s a busy night, but you can tell if it isn’t being taken care of. A clean restroom is a beautiful thing – and shows they care about getting the details right.
I’ve created this free 1-page checklist to help you physically assess casinos:
Assessing a Casino Part III: Online Resources
Another approach to assessing casinos doesn’t require physically visiting casinos, but it does mean being online for a bit. Visit the state gaming commission or board or department available online. At the beginning of this page, we discussed finding your state’s gaming board.
Again, what is provided on state gaming boards can vary widely. For instance, Native American Indian casinos don’t always have a legal requirement to provide monthly statistics to the state gaming commission.
However, some state gaming commissions provide highly detailed information about how the casinos are performing. To be of minimum service, look for an overall payout percentage from each casino. What’s best is the most recent month’s statistics. You’re looking for the casino has the best overall payout percentage. That’s it. That’s enough. For those interested, sometimes different states break up that over payout percentages into those for table games and those for slot machines. Also good info!
So, in general, take a look and see what they offer. Remember, you’re looking to add a few percentage points to your overall payout percentage. Next, finding the best slot machine will add a few more points. A point here. A point there. Every point helps!
Otherwise, I’d be careful of online casino reviews when assessing casinos. They can be so subjective from honest people and you can’t know advertisements are honest. And telling the difference can be difficult. But, setting those cautions aside, sometimes reviews talk about various features you might otherwise miss. Consider them with a grain of salt, as it were.
The next step on your journey to improving slots performance is Choosing Slot Machines. Enjoy! My research indicates I’m the first to share this information and offer personal coaching for slots enthusiasts, and I sincerely hope you find it both enjoyable and useful. For questions, just reach out to me through any of my social media accounts:
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