South Florida Gambling

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Coconut Creek slots: They spill some information

A full-page ad in our Showtime section today served as likely the most information the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek has ever given out, and it shows what we suspected.


Twice as much as even the hottest state-supervised casino.

"No Other Casino Stacks Up," it read, with a graphic of gold coins.

Then it showed slot payouts for four casinos:

Coconut Creek: $221,452,536
Pompano Isle: $88,548,255
Mardi Gras: $51,499,299
Gulfstream: $36,562,236.

Now, the bottom three numbers are public. The Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering web site lists them each month, if for no other reason than to document how much tax money the state is getting (50 percent).

But the Seminoles never tell how much they make. Until this ad. They frame it as "slot payouts," meaning how much you and I win when we go there to play (I like video poker).

"We had conversations whether or not we wanted to do it, but it’s such a good story to tell that we’re having that kind of volume and paying out that much money," GM Steve Bonner said. "It’s a number we’re proud of."

He said the ad is a "positioning statement" for Coconut Creek, and that's why it didn't include the Hard Rock or the Hollywood Classic casinos (and everyone knows the Hard Rock will cream them -- and he has a point, that the Hard Rock is a whole 'nother game). Coconut Creek decided to do it now because it technically lost the "jackpot capital" claim this month when the Seminole Casino Immokalee had a $3.5 million payout, largest in the state, besting a $2.1 million payout at Coconut Creek last year.

The ad will run on billboards soon, too, Bonner said. Isle GM Michael Bloom, Coconut Creek's closest competitor, declined comment.

From their number, presuming it's true (and I do), we can glean:

If they pay out 92 percent (same as the Isle), they had almost a $240 million handle (amount of money put into their machines) in August. I get that number because the $221 million is about 92 percent of $240 million.

And they'd have a win of more than $19 million for the month (if they were a racino that'd mean $9.5 million to the state).

For their 1,500-plus slots, that'd be a "win per machine per day" of $400, almost double the Isle's and more than triple Gulfstream's and Mardi Gras'. Each Isle machine made $161 in August; Gulfstream's took in $122 and Mardi Gras' $101.

It also shows how far the other casinos are behind -- and that's Bonner's point, of course.

I need some comments here. I love numbers, but would like some thoughts as to what this means. Did you think they made more, or they made less?

Categories: Slots (49)

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Maybe you've made the right play, maybe you haven't. Your heart speeds up, your stomach rumbles.

That's why it's called gambling.

ACTION is a view of the numbers, the psychology and the flavor of gambling here in South Florida, through our lens.

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NICK SORTAL began playing 3-card "gut" and "Indian poker" on high school band trips, moved on to "night baseball" and "pass the trash" during a Dr. Pepper-infused midnight game in the 1980s at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, and now play in a regular neighborhood Hold 'Em game in Plantation. I have been given the assignment of writing about the gambling life in South Florida casinos for the Sun-Sentinel...which means sitting around watching poker on TV now counts as research.
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