With three racetrack casinos within 15 minutes of each other, it’s easy to understand that business is competitive.
And that helps the customer, notes Steve Bourie, author of “American Casino Guide.” Bourie’s annual research of slot payouts notes that Magic City Casino ranks No. 2 in the nation. His figures cite an average of 93.88 cents per each dollar played returning to patrons’ pockets. Casino Miami (93.45) and Hialeah Park (93.28) aren’t far behind.
Bourie’s entire two-part series, titled “Where are the Loosest Slots?” is available at Youtube.com/AmericanCasinoGuide. Because of the extensive number of casinos reviewed, his statistics are based on annual payouts through June 30, 2015.
“But casinos do not vary that greatly from year to year,” he says.
Never miss a local story.
The slot payouts are competitive, but the type of games also has something to do with it, Bourie notes. The Miami-Dade casinos have plenty of players who enjoy electronic blackjack and roulette, both of which have a higher payback percentage — often as high as 99 percent — than your run-of-the-mill slot machine. So they skew the payback math.
Plus, there’s also the game that’s a South Florida phenomenon: Diamond Lotto. The area has a large number of patrons from Cuban and other Latin American countries, and many of those players grew up on lottery-type games. Diamond Lotto lets players pick six numbers and pays out based on how many correct choices are made. Like electronic table games, Diamond Lotto, too, has a higher than usual payback percentage.
Gulfstream Park topped Broward County over the same period at 92.44 percent, followed by Mardi Gras (91.90) and the Isle Casino and Racing (91.67). A fourth casino in Miami-Dade, Calder, is on the Broward-Miami line and was at 90.86.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukees do not have to reveal their payback percentages.
Resorts World New York, the casino based at Aqueduct Racetrack, returned 95.05 cents on each dollar wagered. New York doesn’t allow live table games, and more than 1,000 seats at Resorts World are for electronic roulette, blackjack and baccarat.
As public interest has shifted from consuming information via print to more electronic options, Bourie has altered his game. He now offers a monthly consumer video at his site, which has drawn more than 13 million views, and has a phone app that gives detailed information on more than 700 casinos in 42 states.
Taking a ferry to Resorts World Bimini is an option again. The company is partnering with German ferry operator FRS Group for Bimini travel.
The 170-foot ship, called the San Gwann, holds 427 and offers seating in economy and business class, and the ferry service is initially scheduled to operate Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays.
Resorts World Bimini in 2013 began offering a 1,500-passenger ferry, but stopped in January this year. Resorts World, which opened a Hilton on the island in June, has flown passengers each way in recent months.
One-way promotional fares start at $69.98, plus taxes. For more ferry information, call 877-286-7220 or visit RWBimini.com/ferryservice.
Calder casino night
Calder Casino is hosting a “casino night” to raise money for the Conine Clubhouse at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, a place families can stay for free while their child is hospitalized.
The event begins at 6 p.m. Saturday and costs $75 in advance, $100 at the door.
Called “A Night of Soul, Slots, and Spirits!” the night includes slot and bingo tournaments at 7 p.m., prizes, a buffet, and a performance by the Blues Brothers Soul Band and.
First prize in the slot tournament is an all-inclusive trip to Las Vegas. Go to jdchcasinonight.org, or call the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation at 954-265-7241.
▪ Shang, who specializes in socio-political comedy (bet he has plenty to talk about these days!) headlines the card at the Sixth Annual Jokers Wild Comedy Challenge at Mardi Gras Casino. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $18.85 via MGFla.com.
▪ Magic City Casino is in the midst of “77 Days of Lucky 7’s,” which runs through Nov. 27. There are free slot play giveaways daily, and bonuses for those who swipe their card all 77 days, ranging from $25 to $777.
▪ The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has a $15,000 guaranteed poker tournament at 11 a.m. Saturday. Entry is $150.
▪ Seminole Casino Coconut Creek gives away $1,000 free play every 30 minutes from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday.
▪ Gulfstream Park gives away a Chevy Silverado truck Friday night. Slot players who earn at least 100 points earn entries into the drawing.
Get daily gambling news at SouthFloridaGambling.com. Twitter: @NickSortal