They have the highest house edge of any machines in the casino. In fact, no one has ever come out ahead playing them -- ever. They loom in the hallways and lobbies -- brightly lit machines with no conscience, who neither ask for nor give quarter -- or quarters for that matter. Many a player will rush to them and start pressing buttons, hoping to make a quick withdrawal. And the players pay a hefty, hefty price on these machines because no one has ever won on them. No one has even broken even on them. Ever!
I?m not talking about your garden-variety slot or video-poker machines. I?m talking about those ATM Credit Card Advance machines, sprinkled all over casino creation, that charge unconscionable interest rates of upwards of three percent on a single withdrawal, often adding fees of up to and over ten percent of the total money withdrawn. (Fees? Fees? Isn?t the interest the fee?) Casino players who use these machines are making the dumbest possible move they can make -- dumber than splitting tens at blackjack, dumber than betting Big Red at craps and dumber than playing Sic Bo.
What?s worse, using those currency-sucking monsters is so unnecessary! In fact, no smart casino player should ever give them a look much less a mention when right in the casino sits a flesh and blood human being who will give you money; who wants to give you money; whose job is to give you money, money for free -- with no interest and no fees -- and he or she will also give you anywhere from seven to forty-five days to pay it all back, depending on how much you borrowed. Now, casino players can?t ask for anything better than that other than a win the very next time they play. Yes, I am talking about casino credit.
Every casino has a special credit department whose sole reason for existing is to give away money. (Okay, let?s not be naive. They give it away in the hopes that you?ll lose it in the casino. But that?s so obvious I don?t have to say that, do I?) The upsides to getting casino credit are numerous and obvious. The downsides are small and even more obvious.
The first benefit to a casino credit line is that you don?t have to carry wads of cash when you travel by car, bus, train or plane to your favorite casino venue. The second benefit to credit is that the money you have in your gambling bank account can sit there for up to six weeks gaining interest before you have to pay back the casino what you owe it. (You do have a gambling bank account don?t you? Money tucked aside that is used strictly for playing purposes? If not, start one, now, even before you get credit.) If you win, you pay back your marker immediately. If you lose, the casino takes it out of your account. Contrast this with those awful Credit Card Advance machines that immediately dock your account and rip their pound of interest flesh from your economic carcass as well.
A third, generally unspoken, unpublicized benefit to getting casino credit has to do with how you?re perceived once you have, use and pay back a credit line. Although I could get no casino executives to state for the record that ?credit players? are viewed in a more favorable light than ?money players,? the fact is that they are. The casino assumes that credit players are willing to lose the amount of their credit line (which may or may not be true). A simple ?mind experiment? can prove this.
Two players enter a game and both cash in for $1,000. Joe gives cash and Joan takes out a $1,000 marker against her credit line of $10,000. Both Joe and Joan now lose their $1,000 in short order. Who would you bet on to go for a second $1,000 -- Joe, the cash player, or Joan with the $10,000 line? I pick Joan because I know (or think I know) that she has $10,000 in ?play money? she?s willing to gamble. I have no idea how much Joe has. For all I know, that $1,000 was for his kid?s braces and he?s in a powerful lot of trouble when his wife, Big Gert, finds out that little Lulu is still going to resemble Bugs Bunny when she hits junior high next year.
Casinos also think that ?credit players? are more motivated players. In fact, this is probably true. My experience tells me that credit players tend to come to casinos more frequently than other players. Casinos like that. Interestingly enough, between four and ten percent of table-game players have established credit lines and anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of the table game drop in Atlantic City, at least, comes from these players. Casinos that attract big action tend to have more ?credit? players than casinos that attract small to moderate action.
Even more interesting, only about one to two percent of slot players have established credit. Why so few? Because many slot players don?t know that credit exists for them as well. But it does. In the future you are going to see a ?big push? to get credit for slot players from the casinos.
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