Are Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Video Poker and Slot Machines Fair?

My recent trip to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in North Carolina has left me with some major questions regarding their slot and video poker machines.

I’ve always felt that video poker and slot machines that were in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and even Tunica and Biloxi, MS were regulated and you had nothing to worry about.  I felt it was too much of a risk for a casino to lose their gambling license if they were found to have tampered with any of the machines.

I know casinos have been caught doing this in the past, but I feel the major casinos in these areas are on the up and up.  However, I’m not so sure about casinos that are on Indian reservations such as Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in North Carolina

Indian reservation casinos vary between class II and class III style video poker and slot machines.  Class III is considered “Vegas-Style” and are the same machines you would find in Vegas and AC and run on what’s called a “Random Number Generator” or “RNG.”  Class II are called virtual lottery terminals and all the outcomes are predetermined.  Any winning gambler should stay away from Class II machines.

One of my base casinos is Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.  I’ve been playing there for several years, but my concerns have begun to grow.  I do believe their Game King video poker machines are class III because I believe Game King only makes class III machines (Update: Come to find out this isn’t true Game King does make class II machines).  My problem is who regulates these machines?

How to win at Slot Machines

In Las Vegas, there is an agency that overseas casinos and sends people out to periodically test the machines and make sure they are in compliance.  In North Carolina I don’t know of such an agency.  I know there was a state law that kept Harrah’s Cherokee from having live dealers with real cards, the cards were computerized (law has been changed live dealers will be coming to Cherokee), but who makes sure their machines are not fixed?  I know there is a minimum payback percentage in NC, but who makes sure it is followed.

My personal concern is their video poker machines.  If they are class II machines the pay-table on the machine is basically meaningless.  Class II video poker machines should never be played, they are preset as to their payout.

I’ve been on a heavy losing streak at Harrah’s Cherokee, in fact it is the only casino I am in the negative for over the last several years, other than the Palms in Vegas which I only visited once.  Of course that could just be coincidental, but I’m beginning to wonder.

I’ve always said Casinos have no reason to fix the machines because they are already programmed to their advantage.  However, this case is different.  Video Poker payback percentages are supposed to be based on the pay-table and they have some high payback machines, so there is incentive to “fix” the machine.

Anybody out there who knows the gaming laws in North Carolina and who regulates and tests the machines to make sure they are fair and run on a Random Number Generator (RNG), please let me know.  Until I find some proof, I remain skeptical and will stop playing at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in North Carolina.

About Greg Elder

I was 37 years old, a husband and father, a former teacher, college and high school basketball coach, and a business owner, I decided to give it all up (Not the husband and father part) to take a shot at pro gambling. I was coming off a job I hated selling insurance, and I vowed to do something I was passionate about. For the next year I would spend 12-15 hours a day researching, studying, and practicing advantage gambling techniques. The goal was to see if I could sustain our current lifestyle as a professional gambler. I wanted to find out if casinos really could be beat. At the time, I thought it may be the biggest mistake of my life, but my intentions were to have fun trying. It has been an interesting few years since that journey began. My feature book GAMBLERS FIGHT BACK has been released and can be purchased on my author site at www.GREGELDERAUTHOR.com I would consider my pro gambling career to be a success on all fronts. I didn't win millions of dollars, but I was able to enjoy every minute of it. It brought an excitement and passion back into my professional life. It has helped lead me to a writing career that I had no idea I even wanted before this challenge. I was able to write a book that shared with others exactly what I learned along the way.. Gambling professionally is not easy, but there are certain things the average gambler can do to increase their chances of success tremendously. That's the information I try to pass along to my readers.

5 Responses to “Are Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Video Poker and Slot Machines Fair?”

  1. I am interested in finding out who and if someone regulates the Indian reservation casinos also. Please post if you find out any information about this. I would feel so cheated if they were not regulated!!

  2. I’m pretty sure that in order to have a tribal casino the federal statutes require that a “tribal” gaming commission be set up. I know at cherokee, nc Harrahs there is a ‘tribal’ gaming commission that regulates the operations. I think it is somewhat like the fox guarding the hen house but it is what it is. Years ago, when Gov. Hunt was in office the tribal/state compact dictated minimum slot payout percentages but those stipulations and laws were overturned at the federal level. There are no minimum payout levels required, the only limit is what the market will bear. An in Cherokee Harrah’s case, there is NO competition in the area so it will bear a lot.

    • Thanks for the great info. I had no idea about the law being overturned. There seems to be a lot of ambiguity around tribal gaming. I think people need to be made aware of the fact that they are self-regulated with no over-site. I’ll do my best to get the word out. Let me know if you come across anything else about Cherokee. Thanks again.

  3. I live in NC and I just returned from Cherokee last week and what is unusual, in my last two trips I talked with some major players (waiting in lines,etc.) and I think it is common knowledge that Harrah’s pays a fine (not sure if it’s monthly, annually, etc.) for not meeting the states minimum payout requirement…. if the above poster is correct and the law has been overturned, then I think that indicates to me to find a new place to play. It does appear to me as a player that Cherokee pays out the least … and I’ve often wondered why… Now I Know.
    I haven’t had the opportunity to check on the above as it’s not easy finding out information like this…. if it at all minutely true, I think there should be a conserted effort to make it public …after all, what better way to bring Cherokee up to ‘regular’ standards, is to hit them where it hurts, their pocket book….
    If anyone has any definate information about the above…. wud love to hear from you.

    • I’m with you, Rich. You’re right it is very difficult to get accurate information about this situation. That’s the only reason I haven’t put out a full-blown attack is because I want to make sure I have all the facts. I’m also trying to find out about other Indian gaming reservations, and see if this is just Cherokee or all Indian gaming. I have a book being published that exposes many of the casino’s tactics and I’ve thought about putting a chapter on Indian gaming and the lack of oversight (Cherokee in particular) to get the word out, but like I said I just don’t feel like I have all the facts.

      That’s stay on this and hopefully we will get all the facts. You’re right the best way to hurt them is in their pocketbooks, and that’s through negative publicity. I’m sure the Raleigh Observer or the Charlotte paper would be interested in what we find. Thanks for the info., keep in touch.

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