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Dear MGM Management, re: Speciality Slots

Discussion in 'Comps' started by nostresshere, Aug 3, 2012.

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  1. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    (letter also sent to corporate, but probably will be lost)

    Dear Money Manager:

    As a businessman, I understand your primary objective is to make money for MGM Resorts. Most people like me have no problem with your making a profit, even at my expense.

    What I do not understand is the logic regarding the Mlife club and what is often called "Specialty Slots". I am guessing that your hold, or margin on this machines is less than other slots. Someone has decided to make up the difference by lowering the value within your Mlife program to make up for that. Here is why I think this is foolish and there is a better way to maintain your margins and keep customers happy.

    Under your current plan, you require your staff to maintain a list and attempt to educate your customers. This results in lost productivity and upset customers.

    An alternative if you need to increase your margin would be to change the "take", "hold", "payback"or whatever you want to call it. If "Larry and the Idiots" slot machine has a lower margin, then change the casino edge by whatever amount you need. A percent of two would more than make up for what you have done to your players club, and MGM wins!

    Why change the players club system for just some machines? The resulting dollars must be small, and only upset customers and employees. And, by the way, you are not recovering ANY of this lost margin for those players that do not even use cards. How do you recover lost revenue for those players? Changing the hold instead would result in MORE money to MGM without customer issues.

    The logic is beyond comprehension. Except to an accountant who does not understand customer satisfaction, customer retention, employee job satisfaction, etc.

    Just plain illogical.

    By the way, most of us understand the difference in points for Video Poker. If you reduced the paytable additional vs the point issue, you would then have upset folks on that end. Slots are different. They should all LOOK the same in the players club.

    Thank You.

    And good luck!
     
  2. Reed

    Reed High-Roller

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    :nworthy: Well said.

    We shouldn't have to inspect every machine to see what kind of points we accrue.
     
  3. craps1

    craps1 Low-Roller

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    Consider the specialty machines will have constant play flow vs. other traditional machines with a "higher margin" so the true net income should be comparable. No need to reduce the points. My perception is a gimmic to gain an advantage on the player on the newer machines.
     
  4. JillyFromPhilly

    JillyFromPhilly Tourist

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    I'll never understand why people get so upset & complain so much about this [or for that matter, resort fees, 6:5 blackjack, etc] - seems to me the answer is pretty simple - just vote with your feet and play at a casino that does give the same points for "specialty" slots - it's not like Vegas has so few options that anyone is being forced to stay at a certain casino or play a certain slot. Bottom line is, If you don't stop playing the games or staying at the hotels whose policies you don't like, you're really not giving them enough of a reason to care or make a change.

    I also disagree with the logic that the casinos aren't making that much money by doing this - seems to me they wouldn't have opted to start doing this in the first place - for all the very same reasons you point out - unless they'd already crunched the numbers & figured out that this would be more profitable than the alternative you propose.
     
  5. Reed

    Reed High-Roller

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    I understand your point Jilly. The problem is I really prefer the MGM resorts vs Caesars. I agree with nostresshere from the point of just making the "payout" of machine in line with the others and not have to worry about checking whether it is "specialty" or not.

    It just seems to me that MGM is going to drive out a lot of their loyal players because of too much "bean counting" when they need to be focused on retaining as many players as they can - as opposed to those players deciding to play elsewhere. I do not gamble at near the level you or others as this board do, but I think I am a good player for Mlife as I bring 3-4k that I am willing to drop in a trip and all I care about is free rooms and a little food in comps. They definitely come out ahead on players like me, unless I happen to get lucky and hit a decent jackpot - which I have yet to do.
     
  6. JillyFromPhilly

    JillyFromPhilly Tourist

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    Oh, I definitely agree MGM is doing way too much "bean counting" at all levels of play - I mean, I was shocked to see how Natedog was treated by MGM on his last trip, for example.

    But as for the "specialty" slots, I actually do have theory as to why the are doing what they're doing instead of just upping the HA by a few % - and that is, I think that those machines are the ones that have the most appeal to newbies, casual gamblers, conventioneers, etc. - and we all know that the best way for a casino to turn a casual gambler into a repeat gambling customer is for them to win - so I think they want those machines to be as loose or looser [or at least not tighter] than the other machines so that there's as good or better of a chance that the first timer will win [or at least get enough decent hits to get their blood pumping & whet their appetite for more gambling] - and to make up for that and the revenue sharing & licensing fees on those machines, they'd rather ding the experienced, regular customers on the points on that card, figuring the regulars will eventually learn to seek out other machines that give full points akin to the way experienced VP players seek out the best pay tables, experienced BJ players seek out the best rules, etc. instead of continuing to play a machine that they know is not the best "value" for their gambling dollars.

    So if anything, I think short of just choosing to play at a different casino, those who oppose this should focus more on getting them to make it clearer to MLife members which machines have the reduced points than on trying to get them to change how they do it - especially since everyone who knows about this, complains about it, but ultimately still chooses to play those machines anyway only makes it clearer to MGM that people will still play those machines anyway [even if they're pissed] - and so, if regulars are complaining but still playing them anyway, then what's their motivation to stop doing it? Which leads me back full circle to the idea that the only way to make MGM realize the possible error of their ways is going to be if enough people actually vote with their feet & walk & stop patronizing their casinos [or at the very least, actually stop playing those games!] instead of just complaining while not changing their behavior, and still feeding money into those games anyway just because they like them more than the machines that they know will actually give them more points for their coin-in.
     
  7. Ezzy711

    Ezzy711 Low-Roller

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    What are the specialty machines? I've never seen a list. I assumed it was the mega progressives and some of the newer electronic ones.
     
  8. leo21

    leo21 VIP Whale

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    There is a slight problem with this idea. Those games already have high hold percentages. So they are making it hard to earn points on games that are hard to win on. For every guy that hits some great bonuses on the Hangover there are a ton of people that had their bankrolls hoovered up in five minutes flat. Instead of giving the consumer a hard time, maybe it's time the casinos did what CET did ages ago and stop carrying some of them until they get better participation deals from the slot companies. It's silly that smaller and less robust gaming companies carry specialty slots even at a greater percentage than MGM yet they don't shove the cost of those games on the customers.
     
  9. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    I don't mind the implementation of specialty slots as much as the fact that they say there's a list, but nobody seems to have ever been able to get their hands on one.

    At MB, I asked at the Mlife desk and they said they didn't know anything about it, sent me to the high limit slots room.

    High limits slot room said they didn't know anything about it, sent me to the Mlife desk. :Þ
     
  10. JillyFromPhilly

    JillyFromPhilly Tourist

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    Well, I guess that pokes a hole in the part of my theory that they don't want those slots to be tighter than the "regular" ones to help rope in the newbies. But I agree, because of the licensing & participation, it would seem the casinos need to do something to keep those machines profitable, or they'd probably stop offering them altogether.

    Although that also raises the valid question - would getting more Mlife points for the same coin-in really make the trade-off of [knowingly] playing a tighter machine worth it either? Seems like the player would essentially just be cutting off their nose to spite their face if they did...
     
  11. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    I guess if I took a minute, I could figure out the "cost" of Mlife for each type of machine. Has to less than a percent, right?

    Anyway, could you really tell the difference between a 88% machine and a 90% machine?

    And, if they took away the HIGH end wins to get to the lower percent, nobody would notice. Some of those $4-$6 penny slots do have some very high wins, though rare.
     
  12. JillyFromPhilly

    JillyFromPhilly Tourist

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    Yes, but wouldn't you think that increasing the hold from 88% to 90% would negate any financial benefit you'd be getting from having them give you more Mlife points in return? Considering comps/points are only a fraction of your theo/coin-in, wouldn't increasing the hold 2% take far more money out of your pocket than any possible benefit increasing the points tallied would give you? I mean at that point, what are you playing for, money or Mlife points - are the points really more important than actual money?

    The increase you're suggesting would mean for every $100 you put in, you'd be on average getting $2 fewer in return - are the extra points really going to earn you an extra $2 in comps per $100? Seems unlikely to me.

    Also, are they even able to go beyond adjusting the hold percentage to the level of specificity of dictating what level/size of wins those machines return more or less at?
     
  13. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    I do not know the exact math, and assume it would take way less than 2%, and probably way under 1%. In any event - why do the funny little stuff just to piss off the customer. Like charging for salad dressing at dinner. Just include it in the price of doing business. (okay, that was way off the mark...)

    As to changing the payouts, I do not know this for sure, but I believe they have adjustments as to paytables to do lots of little pays or less little pays, etc... as long as over the long haul it pays out the right percent.
     
  14. Ike

    Ike Low-Roller

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    I'm not sure you understand completely how slot machines work. Casinos can't just go out to a game and increase its hold 1 or 2 percent. The type of game and the manufacturer dictates how much a casino can increase the hold (also any applicable state regulations may have an impact on maximum and sometimes minimum allowable hold %). Most games have predetermined pay tables and once you reach the top hold, you can't go any further. Many of these games may already be at the maximum hold percentage allowed by the game. If you're talking about strip casinos at major corporations with leased slot machines, I would suspect they already are.
     
  15. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    After reading your letter thats pretty clear...

    They require? No... they don't.

    First off probably only a tiny percentage of their customer base has even heard of the term "Specialty Slots" of which most of them won't care, even if you sat down and explained it to them for an hour they still won't care.

    What you are basing this idea on is by looking at the users of sites like this where overall we are going to be much more informed about things like this than the general public.

    And even there you have it wrong: there is more than 22,000 members on this board but when this "Specialty Slot" subject comes up its really only about a dozen or so people that speak up against it... just that they are very vocal on the subject so it makes this issue seem like its more than it really is.

    And as well: if you really read what people are saying here and on other forums about this subject you will find that for the most part the MLife people and their slot attendants really aren't doing anything to maintain lists or educate people - people ask for an explanation or a list of specialty slots and generally they get nothing out of MLife on the subject.

    To them its really just "If you don't want to play that machine then get out of the chair so somebody else can"

    Yeah thats pretty well thought out...

    So under the current system if somebody runs $100 through a "specialty slot" they would lose $0.80 worth of Express Comps than if they ran that same $100 through a "regular slot"

    And your proposal is that they instead increase the house edge by 2% instead... so under your math you would rather lose $2 of real money instead of $0.80 in express comps.

    If you think your system is so much better then really all you have to do is whenever you run $100 through a machine is put $2 in your shirt pocket and then voila you have come out ahead because now you have $2 plus the 20 cents in Express Comps when normally you would have had only $1 in Express Comps: so you are actually $1.20 ahead!

    And on top of that: the extra $2 in cash you have, over the 20 cents in Express Comps, really put you ahead because you can actually take that money home, unlike Express Comps, or spend it at places that don't take Express Comps... actually, you can even use it at competing resorts/properties!
     
  16. matchu

    matchu Low-Roller

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    Because it's not the same. A big part of how MGM figures out comps/offers is based on "points". Ask any host or VIP agent and they'll tell you you need such and such amount of points per day to receive free rooms. So you have Guy #1 who only plays 3 reel slots and runs $2000 through a day, and Guy #2 who plays Wizard of Oz at max bet and runs $2000 through a day. Guy #1 deserves free rooms but Guy #2 doesn't, going by the way MLife is set up. Which is completely unfair.
     
  17. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Probably a pretty good assumption HOWEVER, in reading recent trip reports on TA - the exact same machine will be a specialty machine at one mLife casino & will not be at another.

    I wouldn't have a problem with it if they were at least marked. At our local casino they can manage to mark certain machines 'Free Play not available on this machine'. Seems like mLife could mark their machines 'specialty slot', etc. If someone wanted to ask what that meant, it could be explained to them. To a tourist, convention goer or one time visitor they won't care.
     
  18. Ike

    Ike Low-Roller

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    If a host told you that, they were pulling your leg or didn't know what they are talking about. Your room offers are generated by ADT. I'll make an educated guess and say the person playing the reel slot is playing a lower hold game than the person playing the WoOz slot. That means the person playing the WoOz slot is generating a higher ADT on their $2,000 coin in. Since they are expected to lose more money, they will get more/better room offers.
     
  19. leo21

    leo21 VIP Whale

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    That should be the case. But the way they present MLife, it sorta suggests that attaining the higher tier is the key to better comps. Hearing people talk about their interactions with MLife, it doesn't even sound like anyone working there understands ADT.
     
  20. matchu

    matchu Low-Roller

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    No. If you called Aria VIP right now and asked what you would need to run through the slots for a free night they would tell you "you would need to earn about 9000 points per day for a free stay."

    Besides, look at their Gift of Spending promo they're offering right now. You get $50 Gift Cards for every 5000 points earned. So, again the guy playing WOZ is certainly getting screwed compared to the guy playing a "non-specialty" Aristocrat game, even when spending far more money.
     
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