24 March 2009

Penny Slots Aren't What They Used to Be

I am close enough to the leading edge of the baby boom (meaning, earlier in the 1946 - 1964 span of births rather than later) to remember the original penny slot machines in Vegas and Tahoe and Reno. They were no grungier than higher denomination machines (and most were pretty grungy due to the need to touch all parts of the machine to make it run as well as having to touch all the coinage going in and coming out, well, mostly going in) but the penny slots were almost always in a darker corner of the casino. And there were just a handful, seemingly just enough to serve the old men sitting at them. That's my memory: old men whom I might assume were penniless except they obviously had some pennies.

This week in Las Vegas, I cannot count the number of penny slots in the casinos. They are front and center. They are neon-lit and musical. And a wide demographic occupy the stools in front of the machines.

What I have not taken time to observe (because I have to get over to my quarter slot machine that has the spinning top piece for Bonus Spins, not to be confused with the Wheel of You Know What slot machines that beckon with their chimes but drive me away with their computer-generated crowd cheers) is whether casino waitresses tour the penny slot arenas offering free drinks. Surely that is the best measure of how the penny slot customers are valued by the management.

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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