Disclosure: We’ve never understood why anyone plays slots. The odds are horrible, it lacks the comraderie of games like craps, and it involves no cognitive stimulus whatsoever. It’s marginally more appealing than a scratch-off ticket, if only because there’s all the blinking lights (actually, a lot of scratch off tickets are slot-themed, which demonstrates that they’re an inferior good).
Struggling casino operator MGM reported rough results today, but Kirk Kirkorian’s company has been so beaten down that the stock is actually soaring today. And while the Vegas gaming market continues to suck wind, casinos elsewhere, like in Detroit in Tunica, Mississippi are saving the day.
Casino revenue decreased 8%, mainly due to a decrease in table games volume of 13% at the Company’s Las Vegas Strip resorts. The table games hold percentage was within the Company’s normal 18% to 22% range in the current quarter and slightly higher than in the 2007 quarter. Slots revenue decreased 6% in the quarter, with the Company’s Las Vegas Strip resorts reporting a 13% decrease, partially offset by double digit increases at Gold Strike Tunica and MGM Grand Detroit.
It’s heartening to see that even slot players can be rational. Flying all the way to Vegas to play slots is like flying to Vegas to play a lottery ticket. But doing it in your local market — well then it’s just rational degerenacy.