Math Skills Not Required To Bake Pie Chart Ad

Anonymous Math Geek sent us this ad for the Stratosphere, a Las Vegas casino. The wizards are using tricky geometry to convince you that the casino gives you more bang for your Benjamin. AMG writes:

I found this ad in a Continental in-flight magazine, and I had to share it. I’ve added some shading and some figures to illustrate the absurdity of their math. Apparently, $20.04 is a larger part of a $100 pie than $79.96– who knew?

By the way, I measured the angles on the chart. For the “left over” portion of the graph to be accurate (given the figures for the expenses shown), the total value would have to be somewhere in the area of $175 to $180.

The ad designer may as well have taken the concept all the way over the top and made the $20 savings take up 95 percent of the pie. As they say in Vegas, go big or go home.


Edit Your Comment

  1. JHerrick79 says:

    In addition, $79.96+$20.04 is “precisely $100”, not “Less than $100” as the add claims.

  2. girly says:

    So you can take that ad in with you, give them $20.04, and ask for your $180 dollars worth of chips.

  3. Michael Belisle says:

    They’re just using the SAT form of a pie chart, where the numbers do not necessarily correspond to the diagram. When in doubt, always use the numbers; do not interpolate.

  4. the atomic bombshell says:

    Well…it doesn’t mean you’re limited to $100. It just refers to what they’ve listed being under $100.

  5. pimpybra says:

    $19.99 bottomless cocktails? $19.99 all day buffet?

    $40 to drink and eat all day? Count me IN, pie charts be damned!

    • rpm773 says:

      I presume it’s a $19.99 for a buffet that’s open all day. Once they wheel you out, it’s another $20 to get back in.

      • tkmluv says:

        No, you get a wrist band of sorts that gives you access all day.

      • pimpybra says:

        Hey, rpm, your avatar is on a sign in a small town where I live. Is that where you got it from, or…?

        I’ve always seen your avatar and been curious!

        • rpm773 says:

          It’s from a company that writes server back-up software: Lonestar Software. I’ve always liked it, and they way the promote themselves with it.

          I assume Lonestar wouldn’t be too cool with me using it for my avatar. But for the time-being it works.

    • Chmeeee says:

      Yeah, but it’s at the Stratosphere. One must have standards.

    • ahleeeshah says:

      The casinos in Louisiana (my home state) almost all have free drinks for as long as you’re in the casino. The one time I’ve ever been into a casino I went in with $20, left drunk as hell with $40 (someone else was driving, for the record).

  6. rpm773 says:

    All you can eat tacos in some back alley?

    Sounds dangerous on several levels.

    I do give them credit for the no-nonsense approach to the gambling part of it. You’ll have $20.04 left over to blow on the slots…with no pretense of that $20.04 landing any winning pulls for extra cash.

    • CTAUGUST says:

      Ya, Stratosphere is not exactly where you want to be eating all day, or at all. $19.99 for an all day buffet but you spend the rest of your vacation in the bathroom.

  7. nbs2 says:

    It’s like AMG read my mind. Looking at the pic on the main page, I wondered what the new total would be, and BLAMO! Of course, it could be that the in Las Vegas, the exchange rate fluctuates at Off the Charts:$75-80.

    Although, Phil, shouldn’t the number in the More to Play With section be $20.03. The ad does say less than $100, not $100 or less.

  8. Wickedly says:

    12:00 noon – Arrive at the Stratosphere with $100.00 in pocket, plan on spending $20.04 for gambling.
    12:01 pm – Tap into the $79.96 left for more gambling.
    12:06 pm – Hit the ATM for another 100 bucks.

  9. Varun says:

    Is it just me, who see the add as truly depicting what it intended to be? This being the add for a Casino, they’d definitely highlight that part. From what I see, it gives two points:
    1. Overall expense under $100.
    2. Value for the $20.04 in casino money in terms of “fun”, much more than the rest of the money spent. Now you can take that negatively, saying the rest of the 80$ are not well spent, but thats a different story.
    So in short the pie chart is for fun, not for money. And I do find it funny, and cheap to see $20.04 and not $20 and $80.

  10. FrugalBDevil says:

    If I am reading the OP correctly, he added the 79.06 and 20.04 graphics – they are not in the original ad. The fun they are describing does cost less than 100. It’s a little misleading, but not necessarily incorrect. They are just saying that of your overall pie you have more for spending, not of your $100.

  11. Trai_Dep says:

    I’m quietly impressed. In a Sith Lord, Ernst Stavo Blofeld fashion.
    Well-executed marketing bypasses the frontal cortex and sinks its hooks deeply in your gut.
    Still: evil!

  12. girly says:

    Now if the pie chart proportions relate to fun per dollar, then I’d like to see the ‘time required to spend it all’ version of the pie chart, where the 20.04 is gone in a tiny sliver of time pie!

  13. girly says:

    Another question, why 20 bucks for an all-day buffet AND 10 dollars for All-you-can-eat tacos?!
    And 20 dollars for bottomless cocktails and 10 dollars for a bucket of beers?
    If the buffet is all day, and the cocktails are bottomless, why the tacos and beer, too?

    • Tankueray says:

      The bottomless drinks thing is at the C-Bar and only for three hours a day. So it’s more like all you can drink from 4-7pm. The all day buffet is $20, so you can go back three times in one day. I don’t care for the Strat buffet so the tacos might be better for me. The thing is, all of these offers aren’t valid during the same times, and you have to be a players club member to get the buffet one. And I know the buffet one is more expensive on the weekend, like $25.

      Like every other casino, they give you free drinks while you’re gambling.

      I like the Strat, and stay there often. It’s clean and the rooms are nice. I’ve stayed up and down the strip. For the price (usually free) the Strat is where I go. I just stayed there for SEMA for five nights, and my bill was $150 total.

      I never spend enough time in my room to care if it’s got a Monet or a Velvet Elvis on the wall.

  14. Tim says:

    I’m not sure I understand the chart … for one thing it’s hard to tell what the OP added. I think he added the green and red shading and the big numbers, right?

    Anyway, I think it’s trying to say that all of the costs, which are in the part he shaded green, add up to less than $100. So if you brought $100 with you, you’d still have $20.04 with which to gamble, even after paying for the buffet, drinks, etc.

    And then of course, $79.96 ought to take up 79.96% of the graph, when it really takes up more like 46% or so.

  15. Aphex242 says:

    This reminds me of Fox News’ pie chart that goes to 193%.

  16. Tim says:

    The misleading bit is that the graph makes it LOOK as though the costs of the fun are about 46% of your $100 that you have for the day, and you still have 54% of it left for slots and such.

  17. jayphat says:

    “They’re just using the SAT form of a pie chart, where the numbers do not necessarily correspond to the diagram. When in doubt, always use the numbers; do not interpolate.”

    You know who else is notorious for doing this? Congressmen. Watch C-Span sometime and they pull this crap all the time.

  18. Smashville says:

    Wait…wait kind of second-rate casino charges for drinks?

  19. trujunglist says:

    the pie chart is graphing “fun” per dollar, not just dollars spent. everyone knows that blowing your money in a slot machine is more fun than bottomless cocktails.

  20. craptastico says:

    i really don’t see why people are complaining either. it seems to me they give the 20.04 the big part of the pie chart so they can put in a bigger slot machine picture, and considering they’re advertising a casino it seems appropriate. technically it’s $100 and not less, but this is hardly an egregious case of false advertising.

  21. CTAUGUST says:

    Stratosphere has lost money since it was built and changed hands many times. I have been there a few times and read volumes about it. Casinos like this one, not in center strip, have to try all kinds of “tricks” to get players to wander down the strip and try them. This seems to confusing to understand, but it’s just desperate Stratosphere in a desperate attempt to beg people to visit in a bad economy.

    Until the economy recovers and newer flashy casinos are finally build near Stratosphere (some are planned) to draw tourists down that far, Stratosphere will have to keep begging for guests. It could also use a major updating, BTW.

  22. luckyday says:

    I’m sorry guys you are missing the facts in this ad. It’s misleading, like any ad, but not as bad as you claim. Firstly, some of you don’t realize that the numbers $79.96 and $20.04 were not part of the original ad, they were added by the OP. With that being said, you are all assuming that the total pie equals $100 because of the statement at the bottom re: “total cost: less than $100”; however, in reality, the total pie is supposed to equal all money spent on the trip… and in the minds of the great Stratosphere, the money spent on gambling should not be included as a cost (and they have a point… what if you win?)

    In other words, the costs (which are claimed to be less than $100) are the 5 small pie pieces on the top left adding up to $79.96. The bottom right is all the money you are saving by going to the stratosphere instead of elsewhere (which savings could be hundreds and is not $20.04).

    Proof that the foregoing is correct… no casino is going to put out an add that suggest you only spend $20.04 gambling.

    Summary for those that don’t want to read the above… hang out at the stratosphere if you want cheap food and cheap liquor, and you’ll have more money to lose at the casino that you normally would if you had higher costs.

  23. kaceetheconsumer says:

    I’m not surprised. We lived in Vegas for 9 years and were routinely amused by ads that used math in a way that was supposed to be good but wasn’t, at least to us. My husband is a mathematician and I actually paid attention in school, so we both know that when the casino billboards scream, “98% RETURN!” they really mean, “2% LOSS!”

    We get it…and yeah if you want to play then maybe only spending 2% of what you intended to spend is not bad, but the WIN WIN WIN ads really do try to trick people into thinking that everyone wins. Anyone sensible knows that that simply isn’t true.

    PS: There’s a chain out there called Fat Burger that advertises their burgers as something like 84% fat free. That’s 16% fat. Math is fun.

    • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

      Bear in mind though that much of that 98% payout for slots is based on the large jackpots given out on rare occasions. If you never hit it, then the payout is probably closer to 30-50%. IOW, a very modest profit for the casino over the long haul on those machines, a terrible deal for the vast majority of 1-arm bandit players, and a fantastic payout for a very lucky few. Not really a whole lot different than if the casino offered a more typical 94% payout.

  24. Nick1963 says:

    They’re right, “Only at the Stratosphere.”

  25. brianguyy says:

    this is why art majors routinely flunk Statistics & Probability 101.