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SLOTS - FAQ

Below is a list of frequently asked questions for Pechanga Casino and Slots. Learn random facts of Pechanga Resort & Casino and get your questions answered.

Is the slot machine outcome predetermined before I play?

Generally, No. Each and every individual handle pull is random and unique. You could lose or win multiple times in a row. Luck is the only determining factor. The outcomes are not predetermined, but are decided only when you push the “Play,” “Spin,” “Max Bet” button or pull the handle (in most cases). Some bonus rounds are pre-determined at that same time, but some require your subsequent action (such as picking objects on the screen), to determine the final outcome. There are just a few exceptions to this on “progressive meters.” Most progressives are triggered by the random outcome of the slot machine jackpot. However, one type, known as a mystery progressive actually picks a winner ahead of time. More precisely, the computer progressive controller picks an exact “coin in” amount or “time of play” ahead of time. If you are the player who happens to be playing at that “coin in” amount or at that time; you win. Here’s an example. The progressive controller randomly picks a “coin in” number between $1 and $1,000,000. Let’s say it picked $234,876. If you were the player on the machine when the coin in from the last reset reached $234,876, you would win the prize displayed on the meter at that time. While it may seem like you could figure out when to play these games; remember that the random number is inside the progressive controller’s computer, and there is no way to learn what that “coin in” number or that “time” is in advance. It’s like drawing a ticket from a drum.

How does the California Lottery compare to casino slot machine odds?

It is not even close. If the lottery were operated by a casino, it would be illegal!!! (State regulation prohibits any casino game that is “tighter” than an 80% payback; yet the California lottery is 55% payback – and that includes the giant jackpot). You can check out the exact odds at their website: www.calottery.com . Despite the regulations; it is doubtful you could find any casino in California or Nevada that had any slot machine even close to 80% payback. The majority are set at 93% or looser. When you play $1 machines, those numbers are generally in the 94% to 98% payback range. However, in the spirit of full disclosure, there are no slot jackpots that reach the huge amounts like the big lotteries. We have many payouts in the million-dollar range and a few in the tens of millions, but none in the hundreds of millions. If you don’t mind losing one out of every 176,000,000 dollars you bet; then the Mega Millions lottery might be for you! If you want to win, and win more often, stick to casinos.

Why don’t we provide free drinks to gamblers like they do in Las Vegas?

It’s against the state ABC (Alcohol and Beverage Control) rules to provide any form of complimentary alcoholic drinks. Soft drinks and water are free, but not booze. We’d do this if we could, but we can’t.

Why don’t we use dice on the Craps table like everyone else in the country does?

The California constitution has a provision making dice games, roulette, Big Six and several other games illegal. It would take a constitutional amendment to change this. That’s why our “craps” game is played with cards. We also have Mystery Card roulette, instead of the traditional spinning ball.

Are the loosest machines located by the front door and by the restrooms?

This is a classic gaming “urban myth” that has some element of truth. In early Las Vegas and Reno where casinos were smaller and located next to one another on the same sidewalk; several “tricks” were used to make the casinos seem more exciting. One was to have “fake” guests, known as “shills,” sit and play at the machines with huge buckets of silver dollars in their trays (which were always re-filled by managers). The other technique was to put a few of the very loosest slot machines at the front door, near the buffet line, or by the restrooms to produce the appearance of more winners in high traffic areas. With today’s larger casinos, and more competitive environments, these practices are seldom followed. While you may not believe it; today’s slot machines are 10% to 50% looser than the infamous one-armed, mechanical bandits of the past. Generally, the loosest machines today in any casino are those with the highest denominations. In other words, the overall payback on a $100 machine will be better than on a 1¢ machine. (Of course you may get a lot more entertainment and “time on device” playing a penny game). If you are a skilled player, and know which machines to play, video poker is generally the loosest game in each denomination. Finally, as you might imagine, the machines offering the million dollar jackpots are not the loosest, but if you’re feeling lucky, “one pull could change your life.”

Does using a club card affect the slot machines odds?

Using a “player’s card” has absolutely no effect on a slot machine’s outcome, but it can improve your overall odds. Here’s the explanation (something that every professional gambler knows): Using a card will earn you complimentary food, EZ Play credits, hotel rooms, prizes and events. The pros consider this part of their total win/ loss experience when calculating the best odds. EXAMPLE: Imagine that you invested $5,000 in slot play without using your card. You won some small hits and one $1,200 jackpot, but at the end of your visit you were somewhat unlucky and left with only $4,500. You would have lost 10% of your money ($500) and therefore had a 90% payback. However, if you were using your “The Club” card at Pechanga you would have earned at least $15 in Club Dollars (that you could use in the slot machine or spend at the gift shop or hotel); you would get coupons the following month for an additional $50 in EZ Play and $30 in food credits, you would get a free mid-week hotel room valued at $99, if this was your only visit you’d be a Silver Card player and get $3 off at the, and (if you were born that month) you’d be invited to our Birthday party with an average value of $50 (food and drawings). In other words you would have still lost $500, but received $235 in additional value. Your net loss now is only $265 and the overall slot payback climbs to 95.3% payback. The player without a card would have a 90% payback, but using your card would get you 95.3%. Also you’d have a computerized record to offset some of your $1,200 taxable jackpot (without this information, you might get stuck with an additional taxes if audited by the IRS!!) In other words, there is no downside to using a card, and plenty of value to be earned. Play like a pro and always use your card…there is no downside whatsoever.

Can you cheat a slot machine?

Of course you can. You can also rob a bank. However, both actions come with a high risk of a jail sentence. Today’s machines are better than ever at stopping crooks, but the bad guys always seem to find a way. We’ve had cheats at Pechanga in the past, and probably will have in the future. Several of them are currently in prison. The best defense for us to protect against them is to carefully follow our policies and procedures. We look for “strange” or unusual behavior and monitor slot performance. If you wonder why we have to do things here in a certain way, it is probably because in the past, someone found a way to cheat and the new procedure was put in place to prevent it. Before computers, digital cameras, facial recognition software and the like; a bent coat hanger was pretty effective in getting a few extra nickels out of a mechanical slot machine. Today, it’s pretty hard to cheat a machine and not get caught!

When a guest left the machine she had been playing for several hours, another lady sat down a hit the Jackpot. Can the first lady do anything about this?

No. This is a common situation in every casino and is very misunderstood. Even if the first lady had continued playing; she may or may not have hit a jackpot. All current slots have a random number generator (RNG) residing on a high speed computer chip that makes your jackpots completely random. This process is so good, that it really comes down to individual luck. In reality, your outcome is controlled by time, measured in very, very small increments (think nanoseconds!). Whether you win or lose is determined by WHEN you play the machine (in other words the exact micro fraction of a second when you hit the button), rather than HOW or HOW LONG you play the game. In the example above, the first lady would have had to hit the button at the precise instant as the second woman to get that same jackpot result. Does this mean you can “crack” the timing routines on machines and figure out how to win by know when to hit the button? Not really! Thirty years ago, some early versions of slot machine RNGs where very crude and slow and a few folks using computers actually did manage to do some high tech cheating by breaking this code. But today’s chips are so fast; they have achieved nearly perfect randomness. The way to win today is hit the button just when Lady Luck sits on your shoulder.

What are the “best” or “loosest” games at Pechanga?

Video Poker machines are generally the loosest games in our industry. Here at Pechanga we have many video pokers with 99.5% to 99.98% payback Next, would come several of the table games starting with Craps and Blackjack. Both (if played well), hold 1% or less (99% payback). Next are the high denomination slots in the 98% to 96% range. Roulette (both electronic and live with cards) and electronic keno are in the 97% to 94% range; as are the $1 slots. Slots overall are in the 97% to 90% range, and can go up to 14% on a few of the multi-million dollar jackpot machines or those with national brand names or characters. While it is not legal here in California, live Keno played in Nevada is one of the tightest casino products at 28%. For reference, the California lottery payback is just 55% (the absolute worst payback). By regulation, California limits slot machines to no less than an 80% payback. It is worse in Nevada where they can tighten games to 75% payback. However, in everyday practice, both Nevada and California have some of the loosest slots odds in the country. The overall percentages in New Jersey are 2% to 3% tighter than here…likewise for Native American casinos in the east; the riverboat casinos and those casinos in the Midwest. Playing close to home is not only convenient, the odds are better.

How does the casino select the machines, the denominations, the odds and the mix of games on our floor?

We don’t select the games…you do. We measure your play using a little science, some guesswork and a little tradition. We have some very sophisticated analytical tools that allow us to measure the amount of money you play, the number of Games played, the odds, how long you play, the “Hit Frequency” and “Volatility” and a lot of demographics (i.e. your age, sex, address, time of day, day of week, etc.) Essentially, we add more games that you play more and reduce games that are losing popularity. The guess work part comes with new machines. We do look at some trial data and research in labs or other markets, but often we just have to try a game and then measure it’s performance. New games have about a 60% success rate. Often many games do well the first eight weeks, but then fall off rapidly. As far as the game mix; we survey the local competition, survey Las Vegas, attend tradeshows and seminars; read the trade publications and listen to all the Sales Reps that visit us weekly. It’s all an attempt to keep ahead of new trends. The tradition part comes from individual behavior. For example, the Bally S6000 Bonus Times Pay is one of the best performing games at Pechanga. Yet this particular game does not do well in Las Vegas or with our neighbors. Every casino generally has one or two unique situations like this. As far as odds, we try and maintain a competitive position, but it is difficult since most people in California keep this information private. From experience, I’d guess that we are very similar to the Las Vegas strip, which has some of the best machines in the industry. Locally, I’d guess (this is the opinion of our slot professionals, not fact) we are among the loosest alongside Pala, Valley View and Barona. Our slot experts also feel Harrah’s is the tightest (since they are everywhere else in the nation) followed by the Palm Springs casinos, San Manuel and Morongo.

Do guests have to pay taxes on small slot machine jackpots?

There is no way to escape Uncle Sam. Officially, all slot machine payouts, no matter how small, are required to be reported to the IRS on your tax forms. If you put 5¢ in a machine and won 25¢, you should pay taxes on 25¢ in income (you can’t even deduct your nickel bet!!). However, no one in their right mind does that!! Practicality, most gamblers only report on those jackpots that are $1,200 or more (this is the threshold that all casinos are required to use to issue W2G income statements to guests). Current IRS regulations state that you may deduct your gambling losses “ONLY UP TO” the amount of your winnings on your tax return. In other words; if you won a $1,200 jackpot; but actually lost $3,000 by the time you finished playing, you would have to report the $1,200 win, but could also deduct that amount (if you had good records). However, you could not deduct the additional $1,800 you lost. Because of this, it is a very important tip to always use their players card and keep records. The best defense during an IRS audit on Gaming revenue is a triple threat strategy: 1. - Obtain an automated win/loss statement from the casino based on your play using your players card; 2. - Maintain a personal diary of visits and estimated Win/Losses for each trip; and 3. - Keep hard copy records of financial transactions made at the casino (this is the reason we recommend cashing a check to start your trip rather than bringing or playing cash). ATM and Credit Card receipts are also excellent, but they can be a bit more expensive than cashing checks due to bank and other fees.

Do Indians Who Own Casinos Pay Taxes?

Of course they do. It is another myth that they don’t pay taxes; they actually pay more than most. All Native Americans pay federal income taxes on their income, including any profits from their casinos. They do get a tax break from California taxes if they live on a reservation. If they don’t live on the reservation, they pay the same sales taxes as you and I. They are not liable for state income taxes; however, they do not get many of the state services that others do. Native Americans are generally responsible for their own fire protection, paving their own roads, providing schools, recreation facilities, government buildings, sewer and water and the like on their reservations. The state does not provide any of those services. Additionally, the Pechanga casino is taxed by the state at a rate much higher than any comparable business. On average we pay from about 13% or 15% of our “gross” slot machine revenue to the state. No other business does this. Any other business pays taxes only on their profit, after their expenses! Indian Casino pay taxes on the gross revenue from players without being able to deduct salaries, utilities, supplies, expenses and the like. Finally, unlike Las Vegas casinos owned by corporations, the money earned by Native Americans is usually spent locally in Temecula and throughout Southern California. It is not distributed to stockholders living on in NY, China and elsewhere.

What’s the best time of the day, week or year to play slot machines to win?

It is totally random. However, there are some factors to consider. There are more jackpots paid on weekend evenings than any other time (of course there are a lot more people playing slots at these times…duh!). If you don’t like the excitement of a big crowd having fun; the slowest time in most casinos is between 7am and 8am on weekdays. Friday morning is generally slower than most other days; but Friday evening can be very strong. Unless it is a holiday, the busiest weekends are generally those that fall at the end of a month. The busiest weekends are three-day holidays and Sunday is usually the biggest of the three days. Fridays (which are generally the 5th best day of the week) are slow on three-day holidays? The slowest months of the year are November through January. However, the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays themselves are some of the busiest times of the year. Generally, the period from February to September is the strongest, slowing the rest of the year (except for the holidays).

Is it better to play in Las Vegas or at Pechanga?

Of course we have a bias and love Pechanga, but here are some things to consider. If you’ve never been to Las Vegas, you must go. They have the largest selection of must-see attractions in the world from dancing fountains, bigger than original reproductions (the Sphinx); hundreds of restaurants and thousands of hotel rooms and more spectacular signs than Times Square. You’ve got to see it to believe it… at least once or twice.

But if you want a more relaxing gaming atmosphere with great odds and personal service; you might find Pechanga more to your liking. Most of our guests are regular Las Vegas visitors, but they now choose to make the majority of their trips here, instead of there. We don’t have a four-hour longer drive; hustlers working crowded sidewalks; high prices; rude service, and the workers who make you feel like you are not worthy! We have just one great world-class golf course (not the dozen that Las Vegas has, of which you probably can’t get a tee-time). There are only nine restaurants here, but all are great values and seldom have lines.

Here are some hard facts: We do have nearly double the number of slot machines than the largest casino in Las Vegas, so you’ll find your machine much more often. Our odds are very similar to Las Vegas. They have many more video poker machines in Vegas; we have more Video Keno, Reel and Video Reel games. Nationwide, the slot machines odds in California and Nevada casinos are much better than the rest of the country!

Do “new” machines hit more than those that have been on the floor for a while?

This is another commonly held myth; and one that many players swear is true. New machines hit on exactly the same random basis as machines that have been there for years. Many think that because no jackpots have yet been hit, that a new machine will pay out sooner. Not true, but interesting. Another variation is that just after a busy weekend; machines have been “primed” and are ready to hit on Monday morning. Others feel that after a big weekend; all the jackpots are gone and that it is better to play early Friday before they hit. Take your pick?

Random Facts

Temeekunga – “place of the sun”
Pechaq – “to drip;”   Pechaa’aanga – “the place where the water drips”
The Pechanga Tribe was evicted from their original land near Old Town Temecula in 1875; their current Reservation was not established until 1882 .
Pechanga’s first gaming started in 1995.
Proposition 1A allowed legal Nevada-style gaming in March of 2000.
Today’s resort opened on June 24, 2002; followed by a major expansion in November of 2004.
Resort Acreage 146 acres; Golf Course – 299 acres;  Total – 445 acres
Hotel – 517 Rooms; 13 stories; 24-hour Room Service; AAA Four Diamond; Spa (6,200 sq.ft., includes 850 sq.ft. workout area)
Gaming Space – 207,000 sq.ft.
Level One – Total of 525,000 sq. ft.;
Level One Gaming – 192,000 sq. ft.
Level Two – 197,600 sq.ft.
Level Two Gaming -  15,000 sq. ft. (Poker Room)
Level One – Hotel and Ballroom – 60,000
3,800 Total Slot Machines; 158 Table Games; 54 Poker Tables
Nine Restaurants:
Great Oak Steakhouse; Paisano’s Italian; Seafood Grotto; Kelsey’s; Blazing Noodles; Pechanga Buffet; Bamboo; Pechanga Café; Journey’s End (@ the golf course)
Festival of Foods (Food Court): American Classics; Pronto’s; Agave; Little Wok; Deli; Caffé Cocoa
Bars:  High Limit; Round Bar; Acorn Bar; Cabaret Bar; (nightclub); Eagle’s Nest (nightclub)
Pechanga Theater – 1,200-seat; Casino Cabaret – nightly entertainment
Grand Ballroom – 25,000 sq.ft., 3,000-seat; 1,200 plated
Meeting space – 40,000 sq.ft. (include the Ballroom); 13 breakout rooms
Hummingbird teleconferencing theater – 125-seat
RV Resort – 168 sites (25 pull through); 160-person meeting room
Eagles Nest Night Club and Meeting Space – 13th story – 21,400 sq.ft.
The Comedy Club at Pechanga – 270-seats.
Phone:  (877) 711-2WIN;  Toll Free (800) PECHANGA; (951) 693-1819

Four Diamond Temecula Valley Pechanga Development Corp Responsible Gaming