CLEVELAND - One of the most frequent questions/comments I get when the issue of Ohio's casinos comes up in conversation (second to the status of the downtown Phase II casino) is about how loose or tight the slot machines are at the different properties.
Those who lost money complaining about how tight the machines are; those who won pledging undying allegiance to that particular property.
The fact is the casinos and racinos post each month how much out of every dollar you wager they keep and the reality is, when all's said and done it averages about 8 or 9 cents across the board.
For the month of August, all six properties offering slot/VLT play in Ohio were within 2 to 3 percent of each other.
Horseshoe Cincinnati was the loosest paying back 93.08 cents of every dollar wagered. Horseshoe Cleveland was next 92.84 cents, ThistleDown Racino was third at 92.78 cents.
The lowest at 90.99 cents was Hollywood Toledo.
For those who say the Horseshoe Cleveland slots are looser these days, they would be right by a percent or two compared to when they first opened moving from around a 90 cent payback on every dollar last year to close to 93 cents now.
Neither Ohio nor Pennsylvania break down the percentage of payout by denomination, penny slots vs. $1 slots for example, New Jersey does which gamblers can check out each month on the Division of Gaming website.
As a whole though they vary widely from casino to casino with no real pattern emerging looking at the most recent numbers released.