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Slot Machine Odds and Payouts

Instead of thinking about what a 97.4% machine might mean to you, think about what it means to the casino. Consider this: A moderately fast player can play fast enough to bring about a result every 7 seconds. That's 8.5 times per minute, which is 510 times per hour. Assume for a moment that the machine receives this level of play for only 8 hours each day. 365 days per month X 8 hours per day X 510 plays per hour=1,489,200 plays per year. Even if it was only being played for $1 per spin, and even if is was set to return 95% to the players, the casino would return $74,460 per year. If the pay-offs were set at a max of 90% the casino's take would amount to $148,920. If set at 85% it would be $223,380. At 80% it would be $297,840. Is it any wonder why casinos have so many Slot Machines?

Of course the companies which manufacture Slot Machines do not advertise the number of symbols on each reel. The total number wouldn't vary much, but the more often the symbols repeat on the same reel the more often winners are produced. More symbols=less frequent but larger jackpots. Fewer symbols= more frequent but smaller jackpots.

Example. First, you need to select to a few symbols. Like footballs, basketballs, and pumpkins. The top prize will be for aligning three basketballs. Your reels will look something like this:

First reel: 9 football symbols, 6 pumpkin symbols,5 basketball symbols

Second reel: 10 footballs, 7 pumpkins, 3 basketballs

Three reel: 11 footballs, 8 pumpkins, 1 basketball

Of course the lowest pay-off in this game would be for footballs

because there are so many of them. You have about a 50/50 chance of seeing a football on every reel. Pumpkins are only slightly less scarce. And, for all intends and purposes, basketballs on the last reel are nearly non-existent.

In the old, old days of Slot Machines, the reels were spring loaded and if you knew a little about mechanical stuff and could play with the springs, you could alter the true nature of the results. I grew up with a 1940's era ten-cent Slot Machine in our home. It was so old it actually displayed oranges, cherries, and plums. Friends and relatives loved to play it, for fun, as the dimes were supplied by my parents. When those friends and relatives complained that they never won anything, Dad took it apart and changed the settings so it payed about five times more often than it should.

But then those same friends and relatives decided they should be able to keep some of their winnings. So Dad changed it back. Took him all of about three minutes to perform the operation.


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