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HOME > > Owning a Slot Machine

Owning a Slot Machine

12 June 2022

By John Grochowski

QUESTION: Is it legal for me to own a slot machine?

I've turned my basement into a game room with a couple of arcade games, two pinball machines, a billiards table, a big TV and a wet bar. I thought a slot machine would round it out nicely, but I don't want to get raided.

ANSWER: That depends on where you live. Each state has its own regulations on private ownership of slot machines.

According to the U.S. Slot Machine Laws by State page at letsgambleusa.com, slot ownership is prohibited in Alabama, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The site says private ownership of slots of any age is legal in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

You may own slots at least 20 years old in Florida or 25 years old in California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Washington or Wyoming.

The cutoff is 30 years in Massachusetts, Missouri or New York.

Some states and the District of Columbia cut off at specific years of manufacture. The slot machine must have been made in 1984 or earlier in Colorado, with cutoffs at 1954 in Vermont, 1952 in D.C., 1950 in Georgia, Idaho or Kansas, and 1941 in New Jersey.

At the earliest dates, only mechanical slots are available to you. Electro-mechanical and computerized slots weren't yet invented. Where slots at least 30 years old are permitted, the slots may be computerized, but they'll be almost entirely three-reel games. Twenty-five years ago, video slots started to come into vogue, so in coming years we'll see increasing numbers available for private ownership.

Understand, it might be legal to own slots, but that doesn't give you permission to open your own private casino. Regulations may vary by state, but games must be used for amusement and not as wagering devices. No plucking the pocketbooks of relatives, friends or neighbors.

QUESTION: I've started playing blackjack online, maybe an hour or so twice a month. I live in New Jersey where it's legal, and it's been a nice way to play while staying home more and avoiding viruses.

The first few times I played, I approached it just like live games. Then it hit me. There was no reason not to have a basic strategy chart right next to me. I wasn't slowing anyone else down. No dealers were going to look at me funny.

I play basic strategy, but I'll admit I get a little lost on soft doubling. When I have Ace-2, which dealer cards do I double against, and how different are they when I have soft 16?

This has been a big help for me. I can just glance to my right and have the play. I find for me, it's quicker just to have the physical chart next to me than to have another tab or window open and click back and forth.

ANSWER: That's a good solution for a quick look at hands where you're shaky at strategy.

Another way would be to set up a tab with the Wizard of Odds blackjack hand calculator at https://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/hand-calculator/
You can click to set up the rules you're facing such as number of decks and split and double down conditions. When you're in troublesome hand, you can click card images to reflect the hand, then enter to show possible plays and average outcomes.

Just using a chart is faster. The calculator will give more specifics and pick up on differences in hand composition.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field. Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago.

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