Earl and I went to the local casino on Friday night. We left the casino with more money than we arrived with, so all was good. We enjoy the entertainment value of the casino; it’s prime property for people watching, there’s a decent selection of restaurants and of course there’s always the small chance that someone will give you more money than you anticipated.

That doesn’t always happen though.

Turning Stone Casino was the first casino to open in New York State. It opened in July 1993 and has grown in leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades. When the casino opened, it was illegal to have slot machines in New York State, more specifically, you couldn’t have gambling machines that required the insertion of money. Turning Stone found a way around this by instituting an ATM-card like arrangement; you deposited money on your casino card and then you inserted the card into the machine. So technically you weren’t putting money into the slots, you were putting a privately funded card into the slot machine.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Over the past couple of years a couple of “racinos” have opened up in the Empire State and these locations with slot machines were allowed to work like traditional slots; put your money in, pull the handle, get money back, etc. A couple of weeks ago Turning Stone converted all of their machines over to the traditional ways. Unfortunately, in doing so they replaced the vast majority of their slot machines. So what looks like a penny machine actually costs $4.00 if you max bet a spin. If I play slots I don’t want a machine so complicated: give me a quarter machine with three lines max and I’m content. 7 – 7 – 7, let’s make it happen. These types of machines are few and far between at Turning Stone. I’m better off playing blackjack or roulette.

After playing the new slots for a little bit I decided to just people watch and I found that activity to be much more enjoyable. People never cease to fascinate me and there was a wide selection of shapes and sizes to be fascinated with.

That was much more fun than trying to figure out how much a penny slot was going to cost.