The prime directive of casino operations is “Know your customer.”
At Circus Circus, it appears the prime directive is, “WTF were they thinking?”
Yes, questions can also be prime directives.
Circus Circus recently installed a half dozen coin-operated reel slots. The coins are $5.
Reminder, in case you missed the four references we’ve already made to the location of these $5 slots, it’s Circus Circus.
The decision to install these slots were no doubt influenced by the fact there’s a couple of banks of $1 coins slots that pretty much print money for Circus Circus.
The machines are always busy, and these are the only remaining coin slots on the Las Vegas Strip.
Coin slots are a throwback which can’t really be replicated by modern slots. Your hands get gritty, and when you win, you get to fill buckets with coins like you just found One-Eyed Willy’s pirate ship in “Goonies.”
The “clink” of a coin in a slot machine’s payout tray simply can’t be accurately simulated with sound effects, despite the best efforts of slot manufacturers.
When coin machines went away (they’re a pain in the ass for casinos), and TITO (ticket in, ticket out) vouchers became the norm, players wanted their “clink,” which is why when you cash out at a TITO slot machine (using no coins) you still hear a sound effect of coins falling into your grimy hands.
Anyway, coin machines are virtually extinct, but players flock to Circus Circus to get their fingers dirty on the $1 machines. That does not seem to be the case with the $5 machines.
See, it’s not just that these machines take $5 coins, the max bet is three coins.
That’s $15 a spin. At Circus Circus.
All due respect, the slot manager at Circus Circus needs to be given a firm talking to.
The $5 coins at Circus Circus are pristine. They must be purchased from an attendant.
Fair warning: The attendants who work the coin slot area at Circus Circus are some of the most beleaguered and exhausted and irritable slot attendants in Las Vegas.
It took giving one a $5 token just to get a mumbled “good luck.” We feel their pain, though.
Their days are filled with boneheads who can’t adhere to simple rules that shouldn’t even be necessary. You know, intuitive stuff like “One machine per player.”
Anyway, as for the $5 machines, they’re a hoot, despite the fact they feel really, really tight.
We blew $200 in roughly two minutes. Twice, we got no symbol on the payout line and received our $5 coin back. (Had we been playing two coins at that moment, we’d have gotten two coins back.)
We asked the attendant if anyone else had played the machines that day. We took the grunt to mean “no.”
This, despite the fact the machines are advertised as having 97.4% payback.
On the bright side, the $5 coins are extremely collectible, so if we can sell the one we kept for $205 on eBay, we’re golden.
Taking a $5 coin home is called “breakage” in the casino world, and it’s considered awesome. (Every chip or coin not redeemed is gravy for the casino’s bottom line.) Given the cost of many casino keepsakes in the gift shop, a sparkly, uncirculated (that would involve someone actually using them) $5 slot token isn’t a bad deal at all.
Circus Circus takes a lot of crap, but we like the place a lot. There are way too many kids at the resort, but they don’t tend to hang out much in the casino.
Five-dollar machines notwithstanding, the gambling is solid at Circus Circus, as are the values. There’s even a new food court, and there’s a Pick Up Stix. And, yes, there are still free circus acts.
While the $5 slot machines are a novelty, the $1 coin slots are a proven way to draw players to Circus Circus and once you have somebody in your casino, they often end up spending money on other offerings like restaurants and retail and slushy drinks.
Most of the local Las Vegas media cut-and-pasted the Circus Circus announcement about the $5 machines, but we’ve yet to hear anyone from those outlets actually share their experience. This, friends, is one of the reasons we are so beloved. Sorry, endured.
Our first-person experience says stick to the $1 machines, otherwise gird your loins for a quick, unsatisfying time. Which is something we’re very familiar with, allegedly.