Introduction to Miami Valley Gaming
In southwestern Ohio near the small town of Lebanon lies Miami Valley Gaming. This casino has a racetrack and offers video lottery terminal (VLT) style slot machines. What follows is my review of this
This article has the following sections:
- Introduction to Miami Valley Gaming
- First Impressions
- Amberli the Slot Attendant and Mike the Fan
- Playing “The Gold” Slot Machine by Aruze
- The High Limit Slot Machine Area
- Suggestions of What to do Next
- Food and Entertainment
- Who Decides VLT Odds of Winning?
- Summary of Miami Valley Gaming
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Miami Valley Gaming is one of Ohio’s seven racinos. Meaning, it is a pari-mutuel wagering facility with slot machines. Here, you can either bet on galloping horses at their racetrack or play slot machines.
MVG, as it’s called, is mostly a new facility which has been open about five and a half years. It had been a horse racetrack for some time but grew to offer slot machines when those became legal in 2012. Right now, MVG has just over 1,900 gaming machines.
I’d been to this local casino before, although I haven’t yet to gamble much here. It’s not so far from where I live. I even pass by it every time I go to work and return home.
One evening last year, a local organization hosted a get together there for a work-related event. We saw the presentation and had our dinner at the buffet. Then, I took a few of my work friends out onto the casino floor to explain how playing slots worked at a casino.
I also knew of Miami Valley Gaming from a fan, Mike. Once a year, he comes to the Cincinnati area with his mom and family. Besides Jack Casino Cincinnati, he likes to play slots at MVG. I’ll go back to Mike in a moment.
Miami Valley Gaming is easy to access from the nearby I-75 Interstate and has a vast parking lot. It’s nearby to an outlet mall as well as two large flea markets open on the weekends. Either can be a nice place to go with your winnings.
I arrived at MVG before noon on Monday, Memorial Day 2019, and stayed around 90 minutes. As usual, the first thing I did was go to the Players Club Card counter.
As I was already a member, I asked for a replacement players card. Not being a new member, I cannot personally report on any promotional comps for new members. However, Miami Valley Gaming states their MVG Club is currently offering $10 in free slots play to new members
After that quick stop with no line, I looked around the casino for a bit. I wondered if there were any changes since I was there last. And, there were a few changes. For example, I recalled the high limit was remodeled just
At the time, I’d been there researching progressive slot machines for Winning Strategy 2: Progressive Slot Machines and podcast episode #25: Winning Strategy 2 and Massachusetts Slot Machine Casino Gambling 2018.
Otherwise, a second area for smokers is now available. Ohio prohibits indoor smoking at businesses. Since more than a few gamblers like to smoke, MVG had initially been built a small outdoor patio with slot machines on its south side near the main entrance.
But, it proved to be insufficient for Ohio smokers who also wanted to play slot machines. So, MVG created a new and much larger smoking patio with slots directly across from the front patio on the other side of the casino. That was kind of them, even if based on solid business goals.
Mike the Fan and Amberli the Slot Attendant
Okay, let’s go back to Mike. I’ve mentioned him previously, back in podcast episode #11: Why Do Slot Machines Say Bar, D.C. Slot Machine Casino Gambling 2017. Toward the end of that episode, I mentioned Mike as someone who had left a podcast review on iTunes.
Afterward, we got to chatting back and forth via email, which is what is essential here. Because, about a year ago, Mike told me about a winning slot machine he’d just played at Miami Valley Gaming. He even sent a video of a winning $437 jackpot on this penny machine.
I have ever told somehow else how to find a specific slot machine within a casino? Mike told me how to find it rather clearly. He gave me to name of the machine and, further, said it faced the smoking patio. Naturally, I made a note to find it later.
I’d tried to find it last year but was unsuccessful. There are several of the same game
That is, until Amberli the slot attendant showed up. I’d sat down and was slowly putting $20 bills into the machine. Twice, the slot machine seemed to be having a problem. It would cycle into a verification mode for a few seconds.
That’s when the very helpful Amberli showed up. She told me that sometimes the door didn’t fully close, which can cause the error I was seeing. Then, she stuck around for a little while to make sure everything was okay.
And, we got to talking. We discussed Mike’s instructions about whether I should be facing the smoking patio or if the machine should be facing it. I was at the slot machine where I was facing the patio.
We decided Mike meant the same slot machine game on the other side of the round carousel. I tried my 5-pull method on this slot machine and, on the third bet, got a $2 jackpot. I wasn’t impressed
So, I swung around to the other side and played the same slot machine game theme. On that machine, the machine was facing the original, small smoking patio where I had my back to the patio
It is a penny slot machine with a maximum bet of 300 credits or $3. This slot machine I’d heard so much about from Mike is called “The Gold” by slot manufacturer Aruze Gaming, Inc. Aruze is one of the fastest growing slot machine manufacturers in the world.
Playing “The Gold” Slot Machine by Aruze
Mike suggested playing this slot machine because he’d won over $400 once and over $200 another time. Mike’s $437 jackpot occurred during regular play. But, I had the most success with bonus rounds
Bonus rounds start by getting at least five gold bars during regular play. That awards the player with seven free games. During those games, regular jackpots are worth their usual amounts. However, each gold bar is now worth something itself. And, there are more gold bars during bonus rounds
Once a bonus round starts, the first thing that happens is the machine determines how much a gold bar is worth. During regular play, getting 5 or more gold bars gets you into a bonus round
So, at the start of the bonus round, the slot machine selects how much a gold bar is worth during bonus play. There are 12 possibilities, some duplicates, starting at $2 and topping out at $75.
However, getting more than five gold bars means making a cumulative selection of how much a gold bar is worth. If the original gold bars totaled six, for example, then the player has won the usual seven free games but how much a gold bar is selected twice.
I got three bonus rounds, but each was due to winning only five gold bars. My understanding of the game rules is that winning six gold bars would have meant bonus rounds would have gold bars worth the cumulative value of two selections.
For example, if the first selection came up at 200 credits and the second at 300 credits, then each gold bar would be worth 500 credits, or $5, during the seven free games. The maximum number of gold bars during regular play was ten.
At the start of the bonus round, that means the player would get seven selections. At a minimum, if the player got only 200 credits each time, then each gold bar would be worth $14.
In about 15 minutes of gameplay, I got five gold bars three times during regular play. So, I got seven free games three times. For each of my bonus rounds, the penny slot machine determined a gold bar to be worth:
- Bonus round #1: 300 credits per gold bar
- Bonus round #2: 200 credits per gold bar
- Bonus round #3: 200 credits per gold bar
I won small jackpots, perhaps as much as $28, during regular gameplay that didn’t involve bonus round winnings. Here’s how much I won during bonus rounds with regular jackpots and gold bars:
- Bonus round #1: $49.50
- Bonus round #2: $38.50
- Bonus round #3: $60.50
My bankroll for this casino trip was $200. I only allowed myself to drop to $100 when playing these The Gold penny slot machines. Of that $100 spent, I ended up walking away with $89.50.
So, how did I do? For March 2019, MVG had an actual payout return percentage of 91.65%. Getting back $89.50 from $100 is about average, perhaps won after long-term play. That means multiple casino trips over, say, a year
That I got it after 15 minutes of gameplay shouldn’t be a typical result. What do I think? I like this slot machine. I wonder what would happen if I brought $500 and played maximum $3 bets for a couple of hours.
Would I win something like what Mike won, worth several hundred dollars for each jackpot? My feeling is, I think I just might. When I have the opportunity, I should give this slot machine a chance to do just that.
The High Limit Slots Area
As I mentioned, I had a $200 bankroll. I only needed a $100 bankroll to learn what I needed to for you. With my interest in high limit slots, I brought another $100 in bankroll just for them.
Bring a $100 bankroll to play high limit slots is ridiculously low. I wasn’t there to play high limit slots. I’d estimate a $1,500 or $2,000 bankroll would be a good start if I felt the Miami Valley Gaming high limit slots area had potential
The $100 bankroll I did bring into the high limit room was for a spot check. I know of several ways to win at slot machines, assuming the casino has set them up that way. I’ve already gone over these methods in several articles and previous podcast episodes.
On this visit, I was there to try to spot if any of my known winning slots strategies exist at MVG. Here are my observations:
- Five people were playing slot machines in the high limit slots area.
- A third of the idle slot machines were showing a jackpot win.
First, let’s consider #1 in greater detail. Even though it was a slow day at the casino, there were five people playing slot machines in the high limit slots area. In my experience, that’s far higher than usual.
Second, never I have seen so many winning jackpots on idle slot machines. I thought maybe it was deliberate, that slot attendants switched them to wins. But that’s not possible
Technically, there’s no standard way to do that. To be sure, I went up to several of them and looked at the “last bet won” indicator on the gaming console. Each console confirmed the last bet had been a jackpot.
So, there are jackpots won in the high limit area of Miami Valley Gaming. This circumstance is intriguing and worthy of further investigation. Personally speaking, of course.
As it happens, one of my quick winning strategies is to play a slot machine showing a win. As I have explained elsewhere, this has worked well for casinos that provide a taste to a player if the slot machine hasn’t been played for a while.
And, slots players avoid playing idle slot machines showing a win. So, naturally, my winning strategy is to instead play it. Play it, but with only one bet. So, I did.
On one idle slot machine, a $5 denomination with up to 5 credits, showing a winning jackpot, I made a maximum bet of $25 with my $100 bankroll. And I won $25. Lucky! Or, was it entirely luck? As I mentioned, this is worthy of further investigation
I also tried a second idle slot machine showing a winning jackpot, a $5 denomination with up to 2 credits. I bet the maximum, which is $10, once and didn’t win anything. I was one-for-two.
If I’d budgeted a $500 bankroll for all this, I would have made a single bet on each of the idle slot machines showing a win. Well, maybe I would not do this on all three of the $100 slot machines showing a win. Perhaps one of them? Two?
Suggestions on What to do Next
It seems straight forward as to what I should do next. There are several somethings. The only question is, will I choose to do them? Here they are:
- Play that specific “The Gold” slot machine with a $500 bankroll.
- Budget bringing another $500 bankroll to play idle high limit slot machines showing a jackpot win.
- Play another penny slot machine which I saw was performing well.
For the first suggestion, I’ve already explained why I should do this. That slot machine is doing well. While there’s no direct proof it’s a slot machine I would win money at, I did mostly break even on it.
I’d say it’s a candidate slot machine for two reasons. First, I could earn quite a few rewards credits with the players’ club program at a relatively cheap cost. I wonder, do they have any promotional comps I’d like? If not, why bother?
Second, giving that slot machine a chance to play longer may mean more than cycling my bankroll. In addition, with more extended gameplay, I might win a significant jackpot. This scenario has happened a lot to me in the past.
Also, as I’ve mentioned, those idle high limit slot machines are intriguing. I could test them out with a $500 jackpot, perhaps even the same $500 jackpot I used on The Gold slot machine.
If I am successful at cycling bankrolls on that The Gold slot machine, or even won a few jackpots, that means I’d have my original bankroll when done. After playing The Gold, I could spend that $500 bankroll in the high limit area
Do you see it? I may not need two bankrolls of $500 each. By using this strategy, I may only need one $500 bankroll. I’ll have to let you know if/when I go back to do this.
As I’ve mentioned, I have a full-time day job and a second full-time job building up this business to, someday, start charging you for this slot machine advice. Slot machine gambling, all by itself, is at least another part-time job. Who has time for that? Me, maybe. We’ll see.
My third suggestion came right out of the blue. As I was leaving the casino, I saw a slots player winning on a penny slot machine near the entrance. Miami Valley Gaming puts its newest slot machine game themes by the door
As Amberli the slot attendant told me, their newest slot machines usually do well. I don’t want to get Amberli in trouble or anything, but putting her observation into how I look at casinos running their business, this casino sets up new slot machines to be winners
That’s fascinating and, maybe, a slots advantage play. As I mentioned, I saw someone winning on one of these new slot machines. I won’t say which slot machine, in part because I haven’t tested it out.
But, also, because maybe I leave that slot machine for me to play. After all, it is a local casino I drive by everything time I go to and come home from work. If this review was of a casino located somewhere far away, like Indiana, then I’d certainly tell you which one it was.
But, maybe I don’t need to tell you which slot machines are winners when it’s so close to me. For now, anyway.
Food and Entertainment
Whenever I do one of these casino review trip reports, I always try to include something about the food and entertainment choices. This casino is sufficiently large that big acts can visit. For example, Billy Ray Cyrus is visiting in mid-June 2019
But, the food here is just okay. Not enough people were at the casino around Noon on Monday, Memorial Day 2019, for the buffet to be open. Their little grill was open for lunch, but that was about it.
I have been to their buffet during other visits, however. It was okay. I may be a bit picky, as I love a great buffet. In a word, again, I would say it was okay.
There’s also a steak and seafood restaurant, also closed so early in the day, called Cin City. It’s a variant of the name of the largest city nearby, Cincinnati, sometimes also referred to as Cincy by locals.
Who Decides VLT Odds of Winning?
The type of slot machines found at Miami Valley Gaming are video lottery terminals (VLTs). When I’ve thought about playing slots here, the question on my mind has been: How does the Ohio Lottery control these slot machines?
More specifically, what level of control do they have over these VLT-style slot machines? Not all of them are video slots, by the way. Many of them have physical reals. The Gold slot machine I was playing has both, where regular play is on physical reels and the bonus rounds shown on a video screen.
Are these VLTs like those in Oregon, and regulated by the state lottery without bets decided upon by the remote lottery server? Or, are they like the VLTs at tribal casinos in the state of New York, where the remote lottery server does determine the outcome of every individual bet?
In Ohio, I’ve come to realize the VLTs at its racinos are like Oregon’s VLT machines. The Ohio Lottery regulates them but does not control them remotely on a bet-by-bet basis. The casino decides on which VLT game themes they want.
Further, the casino even gets to decide what settings to use on its VLTs. In this way, the casino controls odds of winning on each VLT-style slot machine. But, the casino does have to follow the gaming regulations set forth by the Ohio Lottery Commission.
That means they have to follow state regulations for Ohio’s seven racinos per the Ohio Lottery Commission. To read more about payout returns for casinos and racinos in Ohio, see my blog article on Ohio Slot Machine Casino Gambling or listen to my podcast episode #51: 2019 SGC Review | MT, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, MP and Ohio Slots 2019.
Summary of Miami Valley Gaming
With this review and casino trip report of Miami Valley Gaming in southwestern Ohio, I continue to apply my understanding of winning at slot machines.
By talking with other slots players at MVG and candid conversations with knowledgeable slot attendants, I learned a lot. And, I shared nearly all of it with you.
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