Posted: July 5, 2022, 2:33 a.m.
Last update: July 5, 2022, 2:52 a.m.
Circus Circus Las Vegas is the only casino on the Strip that still offers coin-operated slot machines. And while traditional three-reel machines are long a thing of the past at most other Southern Nevada casinos and across the country, Circus Circus is making them even more of a part of its future.
Circus Circus officials detailed its roughly $30 million update last month. It will focus on bringing the famous casino popular with budget seekers back to its “glory days” of the 1970s and 1980s. Those times included coin-operated slots.
While Circus Circus has always offered coin-operated slots, the casino says its revamp will only bring more traditional terminals. The resort, owned by billionaire Phil Ruffin, who also controls Treasure Island and a 50% stake in Trump Las Vegas, has introduced higher denomination coin-operated slots to its gaming floor.
Visitors to Circus Circus casino can now play on slot machines with wagers ranging from $1 to $5 per play. The casino says traditional reel games are among the loosest terminals on the Strip, with a return average investment of 97.4%.
For many years, Las Vegas slots involved players inserting physical coins into the terminal and the machines dispensing chips when a winning payline was hit. Instead, today’s machines generally accept cash and dispense winning tickets which are redeemable at the casino cashier.
Customers who still prefer the nostalgia of gaming with real coins have limited choices. But with Circus Circus, Downtown Las Vegas offers one of the most iconic coin operated games in Las Vegas history.
D’s Sigma Derby horse racing game challenges bettors to choose which two horses from a five-horse race will finish first and second. Each horse is rated from one to five, with each horse’s odds changing randomly for each race.
Once the bets have lined up, the five mechanical horses race around a track to reveal the order of finish. Las Vegas tradition for decades said that visitors to Sin City would enjoy a lucky stay in town if their first bet of their trip was on a Sigma Derby race.
Once common in nearly every casino on the Strip, D Las Vegas’ Sigma Derby game is now the latest in operation. D’s owner, Derek Stevens, introduced the classic game to his downtown Las Vegas casino in 2012.
When we bought Fitzgerald’s, we wanted to give the second floor a vintage vibe. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Sigma Derby and it was perfect for the vibe we were looking for. Stevens said Casino.org today to celebrate the fact that the game has been in the D for 10 years.
“The game is followed by real fans, and we’re proud to have put the time, effort and mechanics into trotting these horses for 10 years,” added the owner of D and Circa.
Slot machines linger downtown
Although coin-operated slots on the Strip are limited to Circus Circus, two downtown Las Vegas casinos continue to offer the traditional games. In addition to the D, coin-operated slots and/or poker machines can be found at California and El Cortez casinos.
Coin-operated gaming has been replaced by ticket-in, ticket-out (TITO) technology, as the latter offers casinos easier monitoring of play and less operational overhead. But for many longtime players, a piece of paper just doesn’t have the same appeal as a bucket of metal chips.