Penny Slots Bring In Big Bucks

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 31, 2009 11:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – Casinos are making big bank off the tiniest—and oft-most derided—denomination, USA Today reports. Gambling outfits have added penny slots at an amazing rate—in the last 2 years, Nevada has removed 12,000 more costly machines to make room for 7,000 penny slots—and the move has paid off. In Missouri, for example, penny bets make up 42% of the total and a whopping 63% of casino profits.

Not that penny slots take pennies, or are really machines for that matter: The computerized game takes dollar bills or pre-loaded debit cards. Patrons can, however, bet in 1-cent increments, and the machines are designed to pay out smaller amounts, but do so more often. While the rest of the industry was off 19% last year in Nevada, penny slot receipts were up 3%. “A consultant told us it was a joke to put all those penny machines in,” a casino exec says. “Then we showed him our revenue.”

A woman plays the slot machines at the grand opening of the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pa.
A woman plays the slot machines at the grand opening of the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pa.   (AP Photo)
Gambling patrons line up and play the slot machines at the grand opening of the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pa.
Gambling patrons line up and play the slot machines at the grand opening of the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pa.   (AP Photo)
Gamblers celebrate a slot machine win.
Gamblers celebrate a slot machine win.   (AP Photo)
New slot machines are seen at the MotorCity Casino in Detroit.
New slot machines are seen at the MotorCity Casino in Detroit.   (AP Photo)
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