Fact

According to official data, slots account for more casino revenue than any other gambling game.

Casinos Make More Money on Slots Than Any Other Game

According to 2016 data, slot machines account for more revenue than all other casino games combined and penny slots account for more revenue than any other casino game.[1][2]

For example, an April to September 2016 NEVADA GAMING CONTROL BOARD GAMING REVENUE REPORT shows that the “total gaming win” (the casino’s win) from slots was $7,066,306,000 (about 7 billion) total, and the total table games win was $4,094,401,000 (about 4 billion). Even with sports gaming added in at $19,236,000 (about 19.2 million), no casino game revenue even gets close to slots.

Pair the above with the fact that there are more people addicted to slot machines than any other type of casino game, and you can see why slot gambling is such a big business. Below we explore facts and statistics on slot machines and offer some corresponding strategy for limiting your losses at slots.[3][4]

Gaming Machines: Facts and Myths. This British documentary on slots explains the basics of how slots work (or in British, “how pokies work”). If you are a U.S. resident keep in mind there are slight differences in regulations on payouts that differ by country and state.

TIP: To phrase this another way, the majority (over half) of all casino profits come from slot machines.

FACT: That “near miss” isn’t really a “near miss”, it is “fireworks” designed to keep you playing. Everything inside the machine is pure math, there is no actual spinning going on (even the old machines use PRNGs and not literal spins). When you hit the button a random string of numbers is chosen and that is what defines the outcome. There will be many strings that show “a near miss” by design. Every spin has the same odds, a win is never due (that isn’t how math and machines work)! These entertainment machines are designed to entertain at a cost while ensuring a “house win” via mathematics. Like the lotto, some will win, more will lose, by design, and the more you play the higher your chances are that you’ll manifest the loss. It is how the lights stay on.

FACT: From April to September 2016 Nevada casino’s made $2,901,542,000 on 54,548,000 penny slots with a win percentage (AKA “hold percentage”) of 10.13% (meaning the average return for players was roughly 89.7 cents on the dollar, or 10.13 cents in profit for the casino for every dollar spent). For comparison, 2,743,000 nickel slots paid out $82,404,000 for a win percentage of 5.76% (so a 94.3% return or 5.7 cents on the dollar for the house). The other slots are almost all like the nickel slots, they have a lower house hold percentage and pay the player back more on average. Whether it is “just a penny” or a “multi-denomination” machine with a penny option, it generally is subject to this truism (although multi-denomination machines show a better return on the chart, it is misleading, as this class of machines contains everything from $100 max machines and $1.50 max machines; meaning the higher denomination machines lift up the average of the lower ones). Consider also, some machines require “max bet” for a chance at the jackpot (and thus lower bets can decrease odds).

Slot Machines: The Big Gamble.

FACT: 800 – 1200 spins an hour, .50 cents a spin on “min bet”, 89.7 cents on the dollar won on average (although most players won’t manifest odds that good on penny slots)… do the math. It is entertaining in the same way an expensive rollercoaster or night on the town is. Don’t cross the line into addiction or thinking this is a job, it is entertainment.

Slot Machine 101 – Facts on Slot Machines and Slot Machine Strategy

If you look at the report, you’ll see a few things worth note. They are:

  • In the reporting only table games, sports betting, and slots are listed. The “slot” category seems to include games like video poker and video blackjack which have favorable odds for skilled players. This can potentially skew some data on house and player return.
  • Slots have a better win rate (AKA hold percentage) than table games on paper. However, this factors in people who don’t know basic strategy for table games (see below), those who take side bets on tables (which often have worse odds than many slots), and those who win jackpots on slots. Slots have fixed odds, table games have odds that can change based on how you play and what side-bets you take. The core odds of table games paired with perfect strategy are some of the best odds out there.
  • The only thing that has worse odds than slot machines are: 1. The lotto 2. Playing a table game without knowing any strategy 3. taking bets with poor odds (side-bets on table games or some bets in sports betting) 4. Keno. See a list of House Edges for each gambling game (house edge is the expected hold percentage if a game is played perfectly).
  • Slot wins have to factor in giant jackpots that barely anyone hits… so the average person will have a worse payout to account for this.
  • In general with slots, the higher the denomination, the better the payout… however, you have to factor in the number of spins you will take (as things like volatility and standard deviation matter greatly in the short term).
  • The longer you play, the more likely it is that you’ll manifest the theoretical odds… which is not a good thing on a slot machine where the odds are against the player.
  • Generally, table games offer better odds to those who play with skills, slots don’t. That said, with slots the skill is knowing how to find the right machine, understanding your bankroll, and then understanding what games will give you the best odds for your buck. With slots you can’t know for sure, but finding the right slot machine is the key regardless.
  • Slot machines use a PRNG, a pseudo random number generator. Everything that happens on the screen is “fireworks”. When you press a button, the win is calculated instantly. Nothing you can do, from saying a prayer to touching the screen, can affect a spin after it is spun due to the way the machine works.
  • Each spin is unique, no past spin effects a present one. The machine doesn’t know you, it hasn’t kept track of your luck, you are not due anything. See the gambler’s fallacy and commitment bias (the bane of gamblers).
  • Generally slots with smaller jackpots have better short-term odds. Whatever the progressive pot is, the odds are calculated to ensure the casino wins.
  • The casino can ensure wins by using the law of large numbers and probabilities to construct favorable odds. Why does the house always win? It is mathematics plain and simple.
  • The only control you have over slot machines is betting strategy and machine choice, PEROID. Thus, the best thing to do is to walk away before the rule of large numbers grinds you down. If you won money, you got lucky, the more you play… the more your odds increase of losing (generally speaking).

For more tips see About Slot Machines.

TIP: The rule of large numbers says “over an infinite amount of spins” “real and theoretical results converge”. If you have an infinite amount of time and an infinite bank roll you can really increase the odds that you will manifest theoretical long-term odds… if you don’t have infinite time and money (if you “are human”, or “work for a living” for example) you’ll want to focus on short term factors you can control, and you’ll want to respect luck. If you win big early. Walk away! You’ll want to play enough spins that you have a chance at a good payout, but not play so many your actual odds start materializing. This is why it is important to understand a basic betting strategy based on bankroll, expected payouts, and desired wins.

TIP: See how to win at blackjack… and why you shouldn’t try to put the strategy to the test for more than just fun.

How to win at slot machines – Interview with gambling expert Michael “Wizard of Odds” Shackleford. Very few gurus actually care about you, almost all are “in it for the money”. This is true for essentially everyone in gambling, from the player across the table to the floor boss. You aren’t chopped liver, but this is a business. However, there are a few exceptions, two of them are featured in this video, the other one is writing this article.

PERFECT SLOT STRATEGY: Play a table game where you can use strategy (black jack with basic strategy, three card with no side-bet playing Q-6-4 or 2, Hold’em with no side-bet betting faces A’s and pairs that aren’t 2s, baccarat bet the banker, pia gow let the house play, craps bet “don’t pass”; essentially follow basic strategy of any game via wizardofodds.com). If you don’t want to play a table game, play video poker with basic strategy. If you really, really, want to play slots… the best strategy for slots is to go somewhere favorable, including Vegas off-strip or Reno, and play anything except for penny slots. The bigger your bankroll, the higher denomination you should play. If you hit a mid-level win, walk away. So if the wins on a $1 machine are $1, $10, $100, $1,000, $10,000, $10,000… be prepared to leave the casino after winning $100. The truth here is that those top wins rarely ever happen. Move frequently, machine to machine, find one that is paying, then leave when you start losing. Aim to play simple machines and stay away from fancy ones that show lots of fireworks (someone has to pay the machine to do that). You have to become a walking probability detector. Knowing you can’t know, you must sense and sense correctly. You won’t and can’t sense correctly, as you aren’t magical, thus, over time, the house edge will manifest and you will one small part of the casino’s revenue stream… unless you get lucky.

Slot Machines – How to Win and How They Work – 2016 UPDATE. Good gambling advice is hard to come by, I strongly suggest learning from videos like this and being weary of ebooks and sure-fire methods.

MY ADVICE ON SLOT MACHINES: Slot machines are a blast… until you get caught up in one and hit a losing streak losing money at 800 spins an hour. Losing never feels good, and counting on making your loses back with slots means betting against the very math the Casino uses to keep the lights on. Gambling is entertainment (unless you are a star poker player or own a casino), so just set a win / loss limit and leave to fight another day when you hit either. The house always wins in the longterm, you must play for fun and short term gain (even if you play perfect strategy).

Slot Machines – How to Win and How They Work

The Slot Machine – When to Bet Maximum Coins. You don’t need an ebook to learn about gambling. Just watch americancasinoguide videos and read Wizard of Odds. Since this is all math-based there is nothing new under the sun. No strategy that doesn’t respect mathematics and how the machines and casinos actually work will do you much good.

Addicted: Ryan’s Story. Learn how to get help with gambling addiction. Feel free to comment below with questions.



Conclusion

Slots are interesting, they are very fun for a quick thrill but can ruin lives due to their speed and volatility… but this isn’t a lesson in morality, simply a reminder that Casinos are math-based… and the math says slots, specifically penny slots, earn casinos the most (thus they lose players the most). The math doesn’t lie, the casino factors this in, you should too!


Citations

  1. Nevada gaming control board – Statistics & Publications
  2. UNITED STATES COMMERCIAL CASINO REVENUES STATES WITH COMMERCIAL AND RACETRACK CASINOS,2001-2015 CENTER FORGAMING RESEARCH,JUNE 2016
  3. Slot Machines: The Big Gamble
  4. About Slot Machines


"Slots Account for More Revenue than all other Casino Games Combined" is tagged with: Gambling, Money, Probability and Odds, Randomness


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