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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Coming Back with New Attitude

18 November 2004

It's been a long year that has had me sidelined with personal problems and trials and challenges that have had me more or less silent for months.

Another "silencer" was the response I got from the Reno newspaper's business editor when I called him to let him know about the "What Reno Needs" section of the RENO GAMING GUIDE because I was all hyped up thinking how different the What Reno Needs section was... and in less than 45 seconds he let me know that he doesn't care what visitors think about Reno. I sort of let it go for a while until somebody else called him about it and he got the message across in less than 30 seconds that time.

It was disheartening to hear that twice. I'm not used to apathy and generally avoid people who promote it. I stopped buying the newspaper.

Now I'm on the road back...and after the months of silence I have plenty to say. Plenty to say about the casinos, the ongoing mergers of the big boys on the block as well as the treatment and handling of gamblers.

With the ongoing mergers of Harrah's Entertainment and Caesars as well as Mandalay Bay and MGM-Mirage, gamblers are witnessing historic growth and the birth of a couple of monopolies.

Just weeks after the announcement of the MGM-Mirage-Mandalay merger, a $7 billion deal that made them the biggest casino company in the world, came news that Harrah's Entertainment is going to buy Caesars Entertainment for $9.5 billion.

When complete the "new" Harrah's will control more than 50 casinos in four countries producing annual revenue in excess of $9 billion. By comparison the MGM-Mirage-Mandalay merger will combine just over 30 casinos with revenues in the $7 billion range.

What is this going to mean for the gamblers? How is it going to work out for those of us who have at least had a chance to complain and barely be heard?

It means that if we want to complain or just voice our opinions in the hope that someone near the top will listen that we are going to have to be loud and we are going to have to "merge" our voices into one Collective Voice ourselves if we want to have an effective impact.

It's been my opinion for over 10 years now that we would have to "merge" at one point, I just didn't realize how long it would be before that day would come.

That's where the United Gamblers Association comes into the picture. Time to speak out about things like 6/5 Blackjack, lowered pay scales, vanishing or dwindling comps. Together we can make a difference!

The "UGA" is your chance to add your voice and your opinion. It keeps you posted with news and reports from across the country...and it is cheap to belong to. Membership comes with a logo'd tee shirt to wear to let the casinos and other gamblers know that you belong to an association that counts.

It also gives you a place to voice your specific complaints in hopes of resolution with the popular Gambling Gripes section. If you know that you are a good customer and you don't beleive that you were comped properly or if you were treated rudely by a slot host or a pit boss... here's your chance to put the power of the name UNITED GAMBLERS ASSOCIATION behind you. It's a members only section...so subscribe now.

Those looking for the perfect Holiday Gift can order 2 memberships and receive a $10 rebate check inside their tee shirt package. All tees are shipped priority mail.

I don't know about everyone else...but I'm tired of the casinos upping our ante without asking. I'm tired of games manufacturers and casinos playing us for stupid... and I do want to be heard. If I am not heard I have no one to blame but myself.

Recently I was walking around the Reno Casinos checking pay tables and games. Peppermill turned 20-line games into 9-line games and removed all the Game King Cleopatra Keno and Multi-card Keno games entirely. Snort...and they said "It's all about you..." Regular Keno paytables have been shorted in many machines in the Peppermill, Gold Dust West, Sands and others...since when does a solid 7 spot pay 325 coins per coin in? Well, you'd better look...in many cases it does. That is 6,675 coins short of what the regular pay of 7,000 coins per coin in is.

And since when does a thinking person think that the new Wheel of Fortune nickel progressive slots is a good deal? Seventy-five nickels max bet to win an amount that is usually less than what 3 quarters will win you on the quarter version of the game with the same name. Maybe it is time we sort of stood up together?