Connecticut. Less than four months after announcing huge plans to build a two-thirds-of-a-billion-dollar gaming facility in Bridgeport, CT, one of the executives behind the push is trying to build political backing for the plan. According to published reports, the CEO of MGM Resorts, James Murren, told a regional council of business that he wants an overhaul of many decades-old agreements with tribal councils and thinks they should be re-thought.
New Jersey. It is a case being closely watched by individual states that are interested in allowing more sports betting. The state of New Jersey has been challenging a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports. If the national law is interpreted as unconstitutional, it would affect gaming in more than 30 states.
New York. New figures show that three of the newest casinos in upstate New York have failed to perform as promised. One report noted that, “slot machine revenues from the Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier and Schenectady have fallen short of the rosy revenue projections operators produced when applying for licenses. For instance, Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady had gambling revenues of $105 million after nine months, putting it on track to finish short of its minimum $181 million projection.”
Czech Republic. The sports brand division of Europe’s Stars Group, Bet Stars, has become the first international sports betting operator to launch services in the Czech Republic. The company has been granted licensing by the Czech State Supervision of Gambling and Lotteries. It will now be possible for players to have access to nearly two dozen sports and specialized betting areas.
U.K. No longer will bettors in the United Kingdom be allowed to use third-party proxies to wager on the outcome of the EuroMillions Lottery. The group SBC News reported that the announcement “came in a market update issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport…and is part of an ongoing effort to ensure that the transnational EuroMillions offers the same levels of protection as currently govern domestic lottery draws.”
Philippines. The Hong Kong-based company, Galaxy Entertainment Group, says it wants to spend about half-a-billion dollars to build what is being touted as an integrated resort in the Philippines. Reuters reported an announcement by Alfredo Lim, the president of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation. Galaxy already operates the Galaxy Macau, Starworld of Macau and the Broadway Casino in that area.
Many players, especially those that play slots, have an uneasy feeling about playing video poker machines. They believe that casinos can somehow rig the cards in a video poker machine to make it harder to get a winning hand. If you believe that casinos can do this, you definitely need to read what I’m about to say about this.
First, let me ask you this question. If we were to play a game of video poker on a kitchen table with a deck of playing cards, how would we do it so that the game is honest? Suppose you make a bet and I take a standard 52-card deck, shuffle them, and then randomly select five cards from the shuffled deck and place them face up on the table. While you are looking at your five-card hand to determine which cards you want to hold, I’ll continue to shuffle the remaining 47 cards. Lets suppose you tell me that you want to hold the first three cards in your hand. I would remove the two cards in your hand that you want to discard and place them aside, stop shuffling, and give you the top card from the 47-card shuffled deck and place it face up in position four in your hand and the next card would be face up in position five in your hand. The hand is over. If your five-card hand contains a pair of jacks or higher, I’d pay you an amount based upon a pay schedule of winning hands that I would have shown you before we started playing the game. After I paid you (assuming you had a winning hand), I would collect all the cards, put them in one 52-card stack, and start shuffling them again for the next hand.
I think you would agree that the above procedure results in a fair game because each card in the deck has the same probability of being picked. Furthermore, if you discarded, say, a two of clubs, there is no way for you to get the two of clubs again on the subsequent draw. In other words, I haven’t rigged the game in any way.
The way I dealt the cards above is exactly the way the cards are shuffled and dealt in a video poker machine in a casino. In order to emulate the procedure I used above, video poker machines have a computer chip that is programmed to simulate the process of shuffling a standard deck of 52-virtual cards, and then randomly select the cards for each hand so that each card has the same probability of being selected. (For techno geeks reading this, video poker machines have a random number generator program on the computer chip that does all this.) The computer chips that are in the video poker machines are tested and certified by an independent testing lab to be certain they will do exactly what I described above. Furthermore, state gaming regulations mandate that the programs in video poker machines must operate per the above, and if they don’t, a casino can be fined, or worse, lose their gaming license.
Here’s another fact about video poker machines that is important to understand. The odds of getting any of the winning hands in a video poker game can be calculated with great accuracy since every card must have the same probability of being selected. This means you have the same chance of getting a royal flush in a Jacks or Better machine in casino A as you do casino B, or C, or any casino located anywhere on this planet. Since a casino can’t change the odds of getting the winning hands in video poker, the only way they can change the return on their video poker machines is to change the payoffs on winning hands. (That is why it is important that you look at the pay table on a video poker machine for a particular game before you play it.)
The bottom line is that you can rest assured that video poker games in major gaming jurisdictions are not rigged.
NOTE: Video Poker machines in casinos on some Indian reservations and in states that use Video Lottery Terminals work differently. The result of a video poker hand on these machines is predetermined based on either a bingo game or a lottery. The playing decisions you make on these video poker machines after the initial draw have no bearing on whether the hand wins or loses.
Henry Tamburin is the editor of Blackjack Insider Newsletter (www.bjinsider.com), Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack Course (www.goldentouchblackjack.com), and host of www.smartgaming.com. For a FREE three-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter, go to www.bjinsider.com/freetrial.com. To receive his FREE Casino Gambling Catalog, call 1-888-353-3234 or visit www.smartgaming.com.
Lucky Lotto News: Winner Gets Five Times the Money
Lotto Luck Strikes Twice… Twice
Two women recently won big bucks on not one, but two, lottery scratchers in the same day. Veronica Buchanan of Florissant, Missouri, and Michelle Shuffler of Granite Falls, North Carolina, were the lucky duo; Buchanan won $101,000 and Shuffler, $1.01 million. Buchanan bought a $10 Monopoly scratch-off ticket at a gas station and won $1,000. Later that day she returned and bought a $10 Fortune ticket and walked away with $100,000 more! Shuffler bought her first ticket—a Million Dollar Fever scratch-off—with her husband when they stopped at a gas station in Lenoir, North Carolina. She discovered she had won $10,000 and the two were shocked. They traveled 22 miles down the road and decided to stop at a convenience store near their home in Granite Falls and bought another ticket. “We saw that the game had a million dollar prize,” Shuffler said. “So we decided, ‘Why not try to beat the odds again?’” It was a smart move: She uncovered a $1 million winner. “It’s a miracle,” she said.
Ticket Thief Chased Down by Plow
A 26-year-old man accused of stealing $122 in lottery tickets was arrested after being chased by a store employee in a plow truck. According to law enforcement, the incident began when the suspect walked into a store in Michigan and asked for $122 in lottery tickets. After he received the tickets, he handed over an old lottery ticket and ran from the store. The employee found the ticket turned in was not a winning ticket, and proceeded to chase the man down the street in his plow truck. The suspect was struck by the plow, causing him to fall into a ditch. The suspect got up and tried to flee, but was tackled by the employee, who held the suspect down until deputies arrived on scene.
Multiple Lottery Claims Lead to Police Investigation
Thailand’s Crime Suppression Division has launched an investigation into five cases involving disputes over the ownerships of first-prize government lottery tickets. The move came after a former police officer from Kanchanaburi Province asked the Royal Thai Police to intervene in his case in which a teacher claimed to be the real owner of his first-prize tickets worth 30 million baht. Police Lieutenant General Thitirat Nonghanpitak, Commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, ordered an investigation into a number of similar cases. “I believe complicated stories are behind each of the cases and it’s possible they had been orchestrated,” Thitirat said. “I ordered the Crime Suppression Division to find out if there’s a connection.” The five cases happened in Bangkok, Buri Ram, Kanchanaburi, Suphan Buri and Udon Thani provinces.
Gaming Tech Company Honored
Scientific Games Corporation—a leading developer of technology-based products and services and associated content for worldwide gaming, lottery and interactive markets—announced that its $5 DC-7s game, created for the Washington, D.C. Lottery, received an Innovation Award for “Best New Instant Game” at the 2017 North American State and Provincial Lotteries Association’s annual conference in Portland, Oregon. In addition, the $100 Ultime game designed by Loto-Québec and Scientific Games was one of the two finalists for “Best New Instant Game” of 2017. In total, nine of the 13 games nominated by U.S. and Canadian lotteries were designed and manufactured by Scientific Games. Included in the nine nominations was a grouping of four games, with Scientific Games creating and producing the $5 and $10 games in the group.