INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Chances are you might find Brownsburg real estate broker Pam Hostetter at a slot machine.
That's where 24-Hour News 8 found her at midday on a Wednesday. But we had to coax her to find out how long she'd been there.
"Oh, do we have to? My mother will be watching this," she said with a nervous laugh. "Over 12 hours. I got here last night around 11."
Hostetter is one Hoosier that with every passing hour, every max bet button push and every slot machine arm pull is helping fuel the growth of Indiana's racinos.
Indiana is one of 12 states to combine horse race tracks with casinos. And Indiana's racinos quickly climbed to one of the nation's best revenue-generating racinos after opening in June 2008.
Hostetter says gambling is her hobby.
"I like to play the games," she said. "I guess I don't really consider it gambling because I just like to play the games."
And her game of choice is a slot machine.
According to a poll conducted for the 2010 American Gaming Association Survey of Casino Entertainment, 59 percent of gamblers said they prefer slot machines to any other game on the casino floor.
The casinos use people's interest in slots and the lure of big jackpots to get you in the door. Indiana's casinos raked in $2.4 billion last year from slot machines.
Among those slot machines, the penny machines are most popular with more than $8 billion spent. The dollar machines were fed the second highest amount at more than $6 billion. The quarter machines round out the top three taking in more than $5 billion in 2010.
24-Hour News 8 wanted to know how much the casino wins and how much you win when playing slots.
The Indiana Gaming Commission makes the numbers public, but it takes some work to take their raw data and make sense of the numbers. So, we crunched the millions and billions of dollars spent and won to determine which Indiana casino has the loosest slots.
Loosest slots are determined by the amount of money that's paid out compared to what's put in the machine over its life.
Indiana law requires casinos pay out at least 80 percent of what's taken in. And the statewide average for payout is around 91 percent.
Hoosier Park Casino can and does brag it has the loosest slots. The casino's slot machines pay back 92.05 percent edging out Grand Victoria Casino and Shelbyville's Indiana Live. Both pay out just under 92 percent.
"For the last two years we've had the loosest or best paying slots in the state of Indiana out of 13 casinos," said Hoosier Park General Manager Jim Brown.
24-Hour News 8 went further to break down the payout percentage to every denomination available in slot machines.
We found that the lower the denomination, the less the machine pays out. The state's one cent machines average just more than 88 percent payout. The nickels average less than 91 percent. And the higher you go, the more the payout. The dollar machines average 93 percent. Five dollar machines and 100 dollar machines average over 95 percent payout.
But if you put $100 in a $100 machine, you're not getting back $95.
The casino sets the machine to pay out that percentage over the life of the machine. The casinos can adjust the payout, but state regulators have to approve the machine when an adjustment is made.
Gamblers like Pam know that the odds aren't in her favor and that's why she sets a personal spending limit.
She says she tries not to lose more than $200 in a visit.
"If I do anything more than that, and I have in the past, it doesn't usually work out very well," she said.
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