Every profession, hobby or sport has its own lingo. Gambling is no different. I’ve assembled a list of words and expressions that should, but may not always, be familiar to Atlantic City slot players.
Blackout — An entire screen of identical winning symbols, with or without any wild symbols. Some machines pay a bonus for blackout wins.
Bonus or Bonus Round — A free game or games generally resulting from a pre-determined combination of special symbols, or triggered randomly. The bonus could be free games, involve the selection of one or more choices which pay additional credits, or any of several variations which manufacturers have designed.
Cashback — A percentage of a gambler’s play — coin-in — which a casino may rebate in the form of free slot cash on a subsequent trip to that casino.
Cash-Out — Ending any session of play on a slot machine.
Coin-In — The actual amount a player puts through a machine — initial and subsequent cash bets — plus any additional play using winnings generated by those cash bets. For example, if a player inserts a $10 bill and wins $2 on his first $1 bet, but nothing on his next 11 bets, that player has $12 coin-in.
Community Gaming — A group of linked slot machines that pays jackpots to eligible players during a bonus round.
Complimentaries (Comps) — Meals, rooms, beverages, show and concert tickets, or an account from which an amount is taken to “purchase” these. Most players earn comps through their slot play. The amount they earn varies based on the type of machine they’re playing, how long they play, the denomination and how much they bet. Before the advent of loyalty programs which require players to insert a card into a machine, casino hosts controlled how much the casino would provide in the way of free rooms, meals, etc. While some casinos still allow their hosts to provide these discretionary comps, most require that players first exhaust their earned complimentaries.
Cost To Cover — The minimum bet required to win on every payline, for example, a five-reel, three-line video slot would require a minimum bet of 15 credits.
Gamble — On some machines, an optional bet once a player wins a jackpot, generally requiring the player to pick either the suit or color of the next card drawn from a virtual deck on the screen. A correct selection multiplies the player’s initial win; an incorrect decision forfeits the initial win. Choosing the correct suit — club, diamond, heart or spade — is more risky and will generate a greater win than picking the correct color — red or black.
Hand-Pay — Any win of $1,200 or more that requires the casino to pay a player in cash, though lower jackpots also may generate a hand-pay in the event of some progressive wins or machine malfunctions.
Host — An employee assigned to some players to act as their representative in dealing with a casino. Generally, a casino will require a minimum amount of play before assigning a host to a player. Hosts may make room, restaurant, show and event reservations, or try to accommodate other reasonable requests from their customers.
Jackpot — Any payout resulting from a winning combination of reels.
Main Cage — The area where cashiers redeem tickets, exchange other types of gaming vouchers, issue markers, and/or handle any monetary transactions such as breaking bills, consolidating coins for paper currency, etc.
Marker — A short-term loan or line of credit issued by a casino. Once approved, a player can go to the casino cage and withdraw a previously approved amount which must be paid back to the casino within a certain prescribed period of time.
Max Bet — The maximum number of credits which you can play on any specific slot machine, for example a five-credit, five-reel, three-line video slot would require 75 credits for a maximum bet. Also, the button on a slot machine which places a bet for the maximum number of credits.
Multi-Denomination — A type of slot machine which allows the player to determine the value of one credit, e.g., penny, nickel, quarter, dollar, etc.
Payline — The order of symbols on a machine that generates a win.
Progressive — A slot machine where a small amount of each wager goes toward increasing a special jackpot won when a certain number of like symbols appear in a predetermined order; the ever-increasing jackpot itself.
Random Number Generator (RNG) — The computer program that determine the symbols that appear in a certain order after a player makes a wager on a slot machine.
Slot Cash — Free slot play given to a customer in recognition of previous play or as incentive to players new to a casino. Slot cash may be in the form of a coupon which the player inserts into the machine, or it may be downloaded directly from a machine after the customer selects a PIN (personal identification number).
Taxable — Any win of $1,200 or more either from a single jackpot or as the result of a bonus game. By law, casinos are required to issue a W-2G to the player, as well as the Internal Revenue Service, and players are required to report these wins on their Federal, state and local tax returns.
Ticket — The generic term for gaming vouchers generated by slot machines when a player decides to end play and cash-out; also known by various trademarked names such as Fast Cash™.
Ticket In-Ticket Out (TITO) — Machines which accept gaming vouchers same as cash, and issue these vouchers as payment when a player cashes out. Tickets may be redeemed at specially marked kiosks on the casino floor or at any cashier.
Wild — A specified symbol which matches all or some of the other symbols on a slot machine. While there are exceptions, most wild symbols do not match any symbols which might generate a bonus round.
Here’s one email you might actually look forward to receiving. Every Wednesday in March Resorts Casino Hotel will send a playing card to those Star cardholders who registered their email addresses by March 2. The next day — March 6, 13, 20 and 27 — bring a copy of that email to the Promotions Booth to claim a free slot cash prize. Every email is a guaranteed winner.
Recreational gambler Darryl D. McEwen, a former professional journalist, is president of his own consulting firm that manages several small national and international trade associations, and provides public relations and fundraising services for a number of charitable organizations. Have a comment on this or a question specifically related to an Atlantic City casino, players club or other promotion? Email Mr. AC Casino at MrACCasino@gmail.com and he’ll try to respond to you personally. Your question — without your name — may appear in a future column.