The One-Armed Bandit
Do you prefer a roll of the dice or maybe a pull of a lever when it comes to your gambling vices? Chances are it's the latter. According to the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, 71% of tourists who gamble play some type of slot, while the remaining 29% prefer the tables. Slot machines account for 65% of the gambling winnings at Nevada casinos so it's no secret to why they dominate the casino floor of any resort, including ours.
Feeling nostalgic for the days when slot machines spit out actual coins? Our Director of Slots, Mark Seligman has seen it all and then some. We sat down with him to talk about how the slot world is changing and what's up and coming on our very own casino floor.
Where do you see the future of slots?
With a different generation comes a different player. Today's new gamer never learned video poker, so they tend to play more video slots. The average video poker player is about 40-60 years old. The penny slots trend has continued to grow in the slot world for the last ten years now. At the end of the year 2009 there were 37,943 penny slots alone in Nevada casinos, attracting $17.8 billion in wagers. In our own casino here at M, we have 1,180 penny slots.
Do you think players miss the one-armed bandits?
There's a very small segment of our older customers that prefer traditional reel slots versus video slots, which is why we keep a section of them on our floor. Even with today's technology, some of the most advanced slot machines still have an arm on their side. Some people still prefer the pull of a handle to the push of a button.
How do you stay on top of and ahead of the curve with it comes to slot trends?
At times it's as basic as a guessing game. You have to look at new themes and know what will work in your casino. You take into account the type of players you get and what they currently like playing. Slot companies will do studies on test bank slots, but at the end of the day it's what the guests like. It's always best to buy a few of a certain theme and buy more if it gains popularity.
What makes a good slot machine?
All that matters is how many of our guests like the machine. What might be a good slot at another casino might not be the right fit for ours. We want to have what our players are interested in playing.
How do you pick slots for us at M?
Trends come and go, which is why slot floors are constantly changing at every casino. When it comes to picking brand new slots in the industry, most of the time it comes down to gut instincts. It's not always scientific; it's about what's popular.
What's new with the slots at M?
In 2011 we added 300 new video slots most of which were new penny slot themes. By doing this it helps us keep our casino floor fresh with new and cutting-edge games. It's all about staying ahead of the curve.
Why do you think people are divided - either slot player or table games players?
A player's gambling preference in this aspect is based on comfort. Table games players tend to feel more in control of their money and slots/video poker players come for the entertainment and value not necessarily for the thrill. But, in the end they're both gamblers.
If you're wondering how Mark got such a cool job (picking slots for a casino and all) he actually started off studying airplanes and aviation. What slot does Mark fancy most? He says he's more of a video poker player.
With over 1,900 slot machines on our floor you'll find a wide variety of video poker, video reels, video keno and reel spinners all for your playing enjoyment. What's your favorite slot machine?