Why Slot Machines Are Money Makers

It is said that slot machines bring in approximately 60 percent of a casino’s profits. On one hand, it is easy to see why. There are more slot machines than game tables on a casino floor. Slot machines don’t require a dealer. And it is easy for a player to get addicted, sitting for long periods of time dropping money into the machine.

Not So Random
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Players like to think that slot machines are a true game of chance, that each push of the button leads to a completely random result. The reality is that casinos and other slot operators are able to program the slot machine’s computer and control the odds of a pay out. Compared to other casino games, the odds of winning at slots are good. How good the return is depends on the denomination played. Playing a quarter slot machine will pay about 94 cents for every dollar bet. The five dollar machine has the best pay out at a little more than 98 cents for every dollar bet. Casinos realize that more money will be sunk into a larger denomination machine than a smaller denomination, so the pay outs are set up to be friendlier to the “big money” players. If a player wants to try and work his way to a 100%, oddsmakers estimate that he’d have to spend $26.75 in quarter slots, but $145 in $5 slots.

Two Myths about Slot Machines

Even though slot machine odds are kept fairly high in favor of the player, casinos cannot set the odds at their own discretion. Casino owners cannot set a slot machine’s odds at any old number. Most states have strict regulations that dictate what the minimum pay out can be, usually at 75 percent. Casinos do much better than this, of course.

Casino owners cannot tweak the machine’s computer once it is on the casino floor. Many people believe that casinos “fix” the machines to avoid too many big pay outs, but the computer chip is programmed before the machine reaches the casino floor. The only way that can be changed is to take the machine apart and replace the computer chip.

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