Mr. Big Loves Slots

People sit at electronic slot machines at the Scientific Games booth during the Global Gaming Expo, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)


Mr. Big Loves Slot Machines!

Why, yes, yes I do love the slots. When my folks were still alive we would all go to Ho-Chunk Casino in Baraboo, WI, ( and we would play the slots for a few hours at a time. It was fun spending maybe $20 each. We never really won anything doing so but the few times that I stopped in by myself I won about $50. Since I didn’t just feed the money back into the machine afterwards, I was able to spend it on toys. I remember my dad once won $300 or so and he turned around and invested it into a new lawn mower. It was always a fun way to spend time with the folks.

My step father would go meet up with his pals from the VFW, sit around and play a bit…BS. They’d play a lot. Ho-Chunk went out of their way to be kind to the older vets that came in. And why not? The money they fed into the machines was just as valuable as anyone else’s and it more than made up for some free coffees. It cost them almost nothing to make these vets feel at home and it was nice to see. Nice, too, was seeing the non-casino businesses that the tribe invested in with the earnings from their casinos such as the free clinic or the health club that was open to everyone.
Just like any other casino, they made a ton of money. After all, that’s exactly what a casino is designed to do: Make money. Casinos know that the longer you stay, the longer you play and the more money the house makes. More than once here in Milwaukee, at the Pottawnmi Casino (, I was ahead a few $$ from playing slots but I ended up giving every penny (and more) back. My guess is that many do as well. (They should sell T-shirts).
Since they opened, this has expanded at least twice and it has done a lot for Milwaukee with little thanks back (I have stories).
Over the 100+ years of operating, casinos/gaming companies have spent God only knows how many millions of dollars on research on the psychology behind gambling. The gaming industry knows a lot about what rewards to offer compared to the time spent playing, how the lighting of the casino draws us in and how the machines themselves. There has been so much research pumped in this direction that we can only begin to imagine how much they know.
Of course, if they could get the player to put a few more coins into the machines (times the many, many players in the casino), then they have paid that investment back in full (and fast!).
 Nice thing, too, is that unlike craps, there are no rules to learn to play the slots. You just put your money in, pull the lever and watch the lights go crazy. How easy is that?
Turning our attention over to crime, let us not forget the early marriage of the mafia, slot machines and corrupt political leaders who protected them. The best example of early mob ties of this manner is Frank Costello (mafia) and Huey Long (the Governor of Louisiana). It was said that Long allowed slots in the city for a percentage. Another example is how the teamsters of the 60s-80s, the mafia and LDS banks then skimmed money from many of the casinos in Vegas. Slows have been seen as not only a fun way to pass a few hours but also as a way for forgotten tribes to make investments in their community and for shady crooks and shifty leaders to make a lot of money. A ton of money, in fact.
When the heat came down in New York and the slots of the mob had in the city came under attack, Costello knew he better move – to a far nicer place, a place where if you bribed someone they actually stayed bribed. It also helped to have a few ports under control (union control and hijacking) and many state contracts to give out. Louisiana had a governor with a bad reputation of taking bribes, major ports with little oversight and so much money being pumped into state contacts that the word oversight wasn’t even being used. BOOM, can you say slots? Suddenly there were slots everywhere and everyone wanted to have a few drinks and play for a bit. And look at that, suddenly you could have your booze and play your machines. How could you lose? Poor Mr. Jones who turned that nice guy offering the slots down… Why, just look at that, the state police just raided his joint? Oh no, then it caught fire? Gee, maybe he should’ve taken the slot machine after all.
More fun in Vegas was how coin scales got rigged so that the mob could get their fair share before the government got theirs. The take was in the millions in the ’60s, with only a few people having to be killed off to make it happen.
All that history and how gambling can be used to create jobs (and make a small fortune) is why I love it so much.
So very happy to have met Josua O’Connell of Know Your Slots Fame  on  Twitter ( @knowyourslots  )   and been able to pitch the idea of a joint project on basic slot play in Mr. Big Talks: Slots. A great, great guy.
Reading this basic guide will help you enjoy the machines and, with Lady Lucky on your side, win more than you lose playing. Just don’t forget: The House always wins in the end.
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