CLASS II SLOT MACHINE STRATEGY TIPS

In previous articles, we examined the difference between ‘Class III’ and ‘Class II’ slot machines. Now, we’ll talk some specific strategy tips for Class II games. Actually, ‘strategy’ might be a misnomer. There’s precious little strategy involved with any slot machine and to the extent there *is* any there’s less in Class II machine. Ironically, the fact that there’s so little strategy in any type of slot machine (or video keno machine) is the only thing that makes ‘Class II’ games playable at all. Video poker is also available in ‘Class II’ jurisdictions but you really shouldn’t waste your time playing them. Strategy *is* important on legitimate casino ‘Class III’ video games but that element is not relevant to ‘Class II’ machines.

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CLASS II SLOT MACHINES DEFINED

The best way to explain ‘Class II’ slot machines is like this: they’re an attempt to replicate the traditional ‘Las Vegas style’ Class III slot machine experience while staying within regulatory guidelines that only permit bingo. The various gaming ‘Classes’ is defined by the US Government in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Most ‘Class II’ games are found in Indian casinos though there are some that can be found in slot parlors attached to horse racing tracks. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act defines Class II gaming as “the game commonly known as bingo (whether or not electronic, computer, or other technological aids are used in connection therewith) and, if played in the same location as the bingo, pull tabs, punch board, tip jars, instant bingo, and other games similar to bingo.”

This class of gaming was originally intended to allow high stakes bingo games on tribal land. At one point, many native American tribes held high stakes bingo in warehouse sized halls. Bingo is still popular though it’s usually offered as part of a casino. That being said, there are still some traditional ‘Tribal Bingo’ halls around the United State usually in states with very restrictive gambling laws. Many tribes, however, wanted to generate more revenue from their gaming offerings than the limited bingo demographic would afford. That led them to upgrade their gaming offerings to a more ‘casino like’ environment. In some states, they fought a legal battle to offer ‘Las Vegas style’ table gaming and slots. In some areas, the political climate was such that this was not an option. It was in this environment that the ‘Class II’ slot machines were born. The Seminole Hard Rock properties in Florida have been at the forefront of these games and spared no expense to replicate a Class III experience in a Class II jurisdiction. They hired engineers that had worked for major slot machine manufacturers like IGT to develop the in-house computer system to make it work while their casino operations side worked with slots and video poker manufacturers to create games that would work within their system.

SHOULD YOU PLAY CLASS II GAMES AT ALL?

That’s a good question but one without an easy answer. It depends. If you’re strictly a recreational player that likes the slots in Las Vegas you’ll probably enjoy the Class II games. If you’re a lottery enthusiast–video or otherwise–you’ll also enjoy the Class II games. In fact, many gambling experts suggest that Class II games have more in common with lottery scratch off tickets than with traditional gaming machines. No one thinks that lottery scratch off tickets are printed randomly–the prize distribution is determined before the tickets even get printed. Class II games might have a shorter ‘lead time’ but they’re definitely not ‘random’ like their Class III counterparts. When you pull the slot machine handle the determination of whether you win or not and, if so, what ‘prize’ you win has already been determined. The slot machine reels just deliver the news.

Class II gaming devices may have more in common with video pull tab machines than anything else. Not surprisingly, paper based pull tabs have also been reborn in video form and they also have a strong resemblance to slot machines. That resemblance may make them more entertaining for the player but just as with ‘Class II’ slots there is no true randomness. The prize you win (or not) is determined before you press the button to activate the game. As we noted above, this won’t really bother lottery enthusiasts and a good many slot machine aficionados. It likely will bother more serious gamblers who worry about odds and won’t be able to get around the fact that the games aren’t ‘truly random’.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST CLASS II GAMING

For a gambler the best argument against playing any Class II games is that there’s no way to determine the odds you’re receiving. This is true with any slot machine–even ‘Type III’ games that use random number generators. It’s not true with video poker–you can determine video poker odds just by looking at the pay table on a ‘Class III’ video poker machine. On a ‘Class II’ video poker machine strategy doesn’t matter. You can throw away a good hand and a ‘genie’ will zap the cards back into your hand (seriously).

It’s also important to keep in mind that much of the ‘back end’ technology that allows companies to comply with Class II regulations is proprietary. You simply have no clue what sort of game parameters are happening under the hood, let alone what sort of odds you’re dealing with. Fortunately, there’s not many Class II video poker games but there’s plenty of Class II slots and keno games.