Poor Odds Run Free in Iowa Slots

In Iowa, slot machines that tender the worst odds for gamblers are on the rapid rise. Iowa’s 10 casinos now account for just under 25% of slot machine earnings.

In the last year, the number of 1 and 2-cent slots has doubled. This statistic stems from a review of Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission records. Known as penny machines, they allow players to bet up to $2 per spin and yield horrible odds.

As recent as two years ago, they accounted for only 4% of slot machine earnings, or $70 million. So far,  for the year that ends this June 30, casinos are on track to earn $184 million from the grouping that includes these penny machines.

Riverboat spokespeople state that the slots are still in high demand. They state that these machines include more entertaining games and make customers’ money last longer because they permit smaller bets.

Even two years ago, the Mississippi Belle II didn’t even have penny machines. As of January, 40% or its machines on the casino’s floor allowed penny bets, accounting for 66% of its slot earnings.

In January, though still less in number than 5-cent slot machines, the grouping that includes penny machines was a reported 2,339 machines.

Penny machines can vary to a great extent from traditional slot machines where, if a symbol pops up on three reels, it sets off a payout to the player. Instead, players bet up to 10 credits on each of 20 possible winning lines on the penny slots, setting off animated graphics and interactive bonus screens.

Many players to the wise know that penny machines are just another enticement for casinos to get people in the door. Knowing that a greater number of gamblers will move-on to more expensive machines.

Records illustrate that some casinos keep two times the amount of money from a $1 wager on a penny machine than from a $1 wager on a $1 slot machine.

Spokespeople for some of the casinos in Iowa say that they will even be providing 1/2 cent and 1/4 cent games in the future. Player be aware.