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5 Reasons Why Slot Machines Are Terrible For Casino Parties

By Shawn Tinling

Over the past many years we've done hundreds of casino parties, one of the more common requests from customers (aside from blackjack, a timeless classic!) are slot machines.

Years ago when 21 Nights was first starting out, I was reluctant to offer slots for casino parties at all. I'll admit, my personal bias as a blackjack junkie used to get in the way of renting out slot machines to customers as I felt they went against everything I stood for. I've let all that go long ago, and for the most part I've given my slot-loving customers what they want. However, I have made the decision to stop offering slot machines at our events for reasons that go way beyond my personal dislike for them. In short, they do you all a disservice.

For starters, if you called 21 Nights Entertainment - or just about any other company - for slot machines...

1) You'd get slot machines - but not really

Slot Machine

When our customers think of slot machines when they book casino parties with us, they probably close their eyes and picture a machine that looks something like the classic three-reel, "one-armed bandit" style of slot machine, which has been a staple of pretty much every single casino, everywhere, since the dawn of time ever.

Pop in some coins, grab the handle and let it rip - what else could be more fun?

Except... the machines you'll get won't have a handle, but rather these three buttons in the front of the machine:


You see, this isn't an ordinary slot machine. The machines that most casino party operators carry are called pachislo machines, popular amusement and gambling devices in Japan. The three buttons in the front are to stop the reels manually - one by one - making these a lot more like games of skill than games of chance.  So, party guests looking to just pull a handle a few times and hope for the best are in for almost instant disappointment.

Players will usually regroup, and be game to trying their skill at this newfangled game that they've never seen before, until they discover...

2) Most (if not all) of the instructions on the machines are in Japanese

Pachislo owner's manual

The casino party setup guys probably get the best of things here, as the manufacturers are so kind to give us instructions as to how to set up the machines written in English.

And guests ask about the rules of the machine - or just dive right in and try to figure it out themselves - but all they see is this:

Japanese text

Unfortunately, our English-language booklets say little (if anything) about how to actually play these things - they simply go into some useful-enough detail about how to set them up.  That means, come event time we're left to stand there, try in vain to decipher some Japanese and pretty much guess what's going on - just like you are.  

At the end of the day, the mere thought that we not know absolutely everything about the very equipment we rent is a very, very bad thing.
But, hey, at least we've got that handy English manual going for us because...

3) These machines malfunction - a lot

Pachislo circuit board

Pachislo machines have very, very delicate electronics inside of them.  That's not so much a problem in Japan, where a machine gets unboxed, installed and stays put for months or years - as they were designed for.  

What they were not designed for were to be jiggled back and forth in the back of a truck as they make their way from event to event.  A speed bump, pothole or short stop can be all it takes for something important to a pachislo machine's normal operation to become misaligned, loose, or flat-out broken.  

There's no way of knowing until shortly after we plug the machines in at your event if they made it to your event in one piece. Many times it's the job of one person on staff to act as an attendant for the machines, making sure that they stay functional and play nice long enough to survive a typical 4 hour event - and the trip back to our office.

Guests at casino parties will inevitably tell us that they wish we brought 'regular' slot machines to their event - and we're absolutely with them! - but in most states...

4) Bringing a "real" slot machine is against the law

State laws in our service areas restrict the ownership of real slot machines to real casinos.  Not only is it illegal for casino party companies to have authentic slot machines for casino parties, in many of our service area states it's illegal to own one privately. You can own a blackjack table, but not a slot machine. Go figure. New York's gambling laws can be found here.

5) They're next to impossible to incorporate into the rest of a casino party

Even if the pachislo machines haven't acted up and many of your casino party guests haven't been turned off from them, they're usually part of a bigger casino night where other games like blackjack and roulette are around as well.

Tokens aren't chips...

Usually at these parties, prizes go out to whoever has the most in funny money at the end of the night.  This leaves a slot player to bring fake quarters to a fake $1,000 chip fight.

The math just doesn't add up! It would be virtually impossible for anyone to win a casino night from the slots It can be done, but you'd need much longer than 4 hours to do it.

In lieu of slot machines, we'd be happy to offer an extra one of our casino table games instead. We guarantee you'll have a much better time!

Shawn Tinling

Shawn Tinling is the founding president of 21 Nights Entertainment, and generally dislikes referring to himself in the third person.

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