I spent last week at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, where 26,000 or so casino executives, slot manufacturers, Native American gambling leaders and anyone else connected to gambling gather each fall. Hours upon hours of hearing the ding-ding-ding of slots and new product pitches can make a guy a little loopy. I engaged in probably a hundred conversations, and to share all of them with you would provide you with so much detail your brain could explode.
So the way to best convey the information to South Floridians would be to have a conversation with someone with an eye out for all facets of gambling here.
Thankfully, I had a few minutes to interview myself.
Nick: So, each year there are new games. What might slot players see this year?
Well, there are all kinds of new themes based on TV shows, movies and personalities. “The Voice,” “Breaking Bad,” the campy sci-fi “Sharknado,” Tim McGraw and Betty White (?!). There’s even a machine based on the 1992 movie “My Cousin Vinny,” with symbols of the Southern judge and Marissa Tomei. If that’s not enough, you’ll be seeing “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” Mariah Carey and “Downton Abby.”
Nick: What’s new in table games?
Bonus bets abound. Blackjack players might be able to place side bets on “in between” — it’s a winner if, say, the player’s first two cards are a 2 and a 9 and the dealer gets a 7. There’s also a side “bust bet” that pays bigger money if the dealer uses five or more cards and hits 22 and above.
Nick: But the racetrack casinos have only electronic blackjack, roulette and craps, not the live stuff. What’s for them?
Electronic table games take up fewer than one percent of slot positions currently, but experts say it could grow to 5 to 10 percent. Beginning players like the solitude — there’s no pressure of taking another player’s 10 in blackjack, for example — and newer machines will offer similar side bets as mentioned above for the live table games.
Nick: How about the political side of things? That affects what we see in our casinos.
Well, Indian gaming experts say all Indian-state compacts are getting more complicated, and they used Florida as an example. How do you balance the wishes of the Seminoles, racetrack casinos and those opposed to gambling expansion? Everyone’s gotta give ground, but the problem is figuring out how much. The American Gaming Association president, Geoff Freeman, is leading a push for legal sports betting, but that’s likely five years away, at best.
Nick: Well, Nick, thanks for taking the time.
No problem. Anything for you.
Hard Rock Pinktober
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has long been active in “Pinktober” — Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The casino’s Blue Plate will feature a special Pinktober “DJ PJ” brunch menu from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in October. Pink drink specials will include a Pink Basil-tini available at Council Oak Steaks & Seafood, Plum Lounge and high-limit table game rooms; Pinktober Champagne Cocktail at Center Bar and on the casino floor; Watermelon Sangria at L Bar; Pink Lemonade Margarita at Beach Club and Pink Cranberry Peach Bellini at Blue Plate. Seminole Hard Rock’s Japanese craft kitchen, Kuro, will feature its sweet cocktail Ni and Beet Konran for dessert.
Pink cupcakes, pink parfaits and doughnuts will be available at Constant Grind, Blue Plate and in-room dining. A $1 donation from each item sold will benefit American Cancer Society. For additional information, go to seminolehardrockhollywood.com/pinktober.
▪ Hialeah Park continues its popular Saturday drawings, but with a twist for October: Those who wear pink receive an extra entry into the drawings. The prizes are $1,000 in free play hourly from 2-4 p.m., with $2,000 cash at 5 p.m. It’s back to $1,000 free play hourly from 9-11 p.m., then another $2,000 cash at midnight. Every 25 slot point nets players a drawing entry.
▪ Casino Miami offers “$100,000 Harvest Cash Giveaways” Fridays and Saturdays. Patrons can win up to $1,000 cash hourly from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
▪ Seminole Casino Coconut Creek’s poker room has a leaderboard with prizes who have the best month in tournament play. The top player receives entry into a $1,200 tournament.
▪ Gulfstream Park gives away up to $30,000 cash from 3-10 p.m. the next three Sundays. Drawings are every 30 minutes, and it takes 25 slot points to earn an entry.
▪ Mardi Gras Casino offers “Shut the Box Halloween” from 6-10 p.m. hourly on Fridays and Saturdays. Five players flip tiles to spell out “Halloween” for a share of over $200,000 cash.
▪ The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino boasts a $250,000 weekend. Three players will be selected every 15 minutes from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. to win $500 free play. A 4 p.m. bonus drawing will award one player $2,500 free play, and that escalates hourly to $20,000 free play at 8 p.m.
Get daily gambling news at SouthFloridaGambling.com.