Casinos have more slot machines than all of the other games combined. But unlike many casino games, the slots still have some secrets.
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Here’s a list of 15 slot machine secrets the casinos don’t want you to know about.
1. Slot placement isn’t random
Although casinos would like you to think that everything on the floor is placed in a completely random way for ease of access and aesthetics, this certainly isn’t the case.
Every square foot of the casino is analyzed, measured, and reported on by the casino gaming department. Traffic patterns are monitored and value is placed on certain areas of the casino to determine which slots or games to place in that area.
Usually, the highest yield slots are placed in the most popular locations in the casino. On top of this, the most popular slots are also placed in these areas to attract players into the casino to play.
So now you know that those slots that are most prominent and visible are the ones that make the most money for the casino, which means they’re also the most disadvantageous for the player. Head towards the back of the casino next time you want to play slot machines to find a better value.
2. Some slots pay out more than others
Not all slot machines are created equal, and this means they all don’t pay out at the same rate.
Generally speaking, video slots pay out less than classic reel slots. This is because reel slots are cheaper to run and maintain, and aren’t as appealing to the player as the video slot.
Video slots are now extravagant and have pop-culture themes, which attracts more players. Because of this, the casinos can dial down the payout rate.
Alternatively, the classic slots aren’t as popular or appealing anymore so the casinos will dial up the payout rate to attract more players, and subsequently keep you at the slot longer. I suggest you do a bit of searching on the internet about slot payout rates as this information is widely available, particularly for popular gaming locations.
3. The slots club doesn’t exist to reward you
This is one of the biggest cons in the gambling industry. You know how the casinos promote themselves as giving back to the player and rewarding you for your play? This is all a lie.
Now, I’m not saying you won’t get some free play credits, access to promotions, and other comps for being a part of the slot or player’s club, but this isn’t why it exists. It exists to provide the casino marketing department with player data so that they can attract and retain you as a customer.
Yes, that’s right, all the free money and comps you get out of the casino are from the marketing department. They will analyze your play, movement, likes, dislikes, and betting patterns to determine how best to market themselves to you so that you return.
The slots club is a powerful marketing tool, and while it’s always a good idea to join and use your card whenever you play, don’t fool yourself into thinking that this is all done to reward you.
4. You can’t win at slots in the long run
People do win at slots all the time. They have big wins and small wins; the problem is that on a long enough timeline it’s impossible to win.
Slots are manufactured and programmed in a way to ensure that they only pay back a certain percentage of the money that’s placed into them by players. Usually, this is in the range of 70-90% but it can be far worse or better depending on where you’re playing.
No one would ever play if you didn’t win from time to time, so this is also built into the machines. Some casinos don’t want you to know this and in some US states, they don’t even have to tell you what the payout rate is. Fortunately, there are many states that do provide it to players, and I highly recommend taking advantage of that information.
Although it’s pretty common these days for players to know that you can’t win in the long run, some still don’t know, and those that are oblivious to this fact are loved by casinos.
5. Max betting is the best option
This one may seem counter-intuitive but it’s true. On most slots, max betting activates all the bonuses and jackpots and increases your odds of getting lucky and winning, which makes it the best option for players.
Although it doesn’t make too much of a difference, it still creates more favorable conditions for the player. The casinos don’t want you to know this because they want you to bet small and more often at a worse payout rate, which makes them more money in the long run.
One thing you certainly don’t want to do though is max-bet above your bankroll and burn through more money than you intended to. Playing more than you can afford to lose is playing right into the casino’s hands. If you can’t afford the max bet on a slot then drop down in denominations or move to a machine where the max bet is smaller and works within your bankroll.
6. Class 2 slots aren’t really slots at all
Sometimes you’ll come across slot machines that are classified as class 2 slots. These are usually found on native Indian reservations or racinos in the United States.
These aren’t traditional slots like what you would find in Las Vegas. Vegas slots are Class 3 slots and are proper slot machine games.
Class 2 slots are actually pre-programmed bingo games which present a slot face for entertainment purposes. Class 3 slots are usually illegal in the jurisdictions that have these slots bingo games, so game manufacturers and casinos combined their forces to come up with this alternative.
Sometimes you’ll see a small bingo card on the bottom corner of the screen which will straight away tell you that this is a class 2 slot machine. So, be warned, these machines are not slots at all and you’ll be effectively playing computer bingo when you start spinning on these.
7. Video slots pay out less than classic slots
Big fancy video slots will almost always pay out less than classic reel slots. This is because of the fact they’re more entertaining, draw more players and action, and cost the casinos a lot more to run and maintain.
These big machines often take up two to three times the amount of space compared to classic slots and tend to cost the casinos a lot more to keep them running. In order to maximize profits, the casinos will then dial down the payout rate on these machines so they still make enough money on them.
Immersive video slots are a huge moneymaker for the casino, so don’t go in thinking you have the same chance of winning on these compared to traditional old school slots. If you’re looking for better chances to win on slot machines, then stick to the classic slots.
8. Slots are completely random
Casinos don’t want you to know this, but slot machines are completely random in nature. Although they are weighted to pay out at a certain rate, this is still in line with the randomness of results that a slot will produce.
Each spin is completely independent of the previous spin. As an example, if you were to win the jackpot on one spin, then the likelihood of winning the jackpot on the next spin is exactly the same. No previous events impact future events. This isn’t how they work.
Casinos don’t want you to know this because they want you to think slots are “hot” or “cold”, because that will cloud your judgment in respect to how much you play and gamble. This works out better for them in the long run so they are happy for these myths to grow and spread.
9. All of your play is tracked
From the moment you sit down at a slot and enter your player card and cash, every movement you make is tracked automatically by the casino. Slot machines are now networked and have sophisticated hardware and software to track everything you do.
This information is collected, analyzed, and insight reports are developed and delivered to the casino marketing department so they can work out the best possible way to market their casino and slots to you so that you keep coming back and play more. If you don’t want your play tracked then simply don’t use your player’s card, but then you won’t get any casino comps.
In the near future, if it’s not being used already, casino marketing departments will start using security infrastructure to monitor and track your play irrespective of whether you use your card or not. Facial recognition programs will detect you, associate you with a player’s card or create a new player account and track everything you do on a video feed.
This is a bit scary and it shows the lengths casinos will go to. If you play online, everything is tracked under your player account, so it’s easier for online casinos to monitor what you do in this respect.
10. Payout tickets are more likely to be put back into a machine
Over the past 20 years, casinos have slowly phased out cash payouts at slots. These days you’ll likely receive a ticket when you cash out, which you then must take to a cash-out machine or the cage to exchange for cash.
While the casinos will claim this is for your convenience, one of the main reasons they’ve made this change is to disassociate you from the fact you’re holding money. This is similar to what they do with chips on table games.
Psychological studies have proven that people are far more likely to gamble more with a ticket or chips, as opposed to cash. So don’t be fooled into placing your ticket into another slot on the way to cashing out, they’ve done this on purpose. I’d recommend that you always cash the tickets out for cash every time, instead of keeping it for play later.
11. Slot arms don’t exist as much anymore because they slow down play
Back in the day, pretty much every slot machine had an arm, or lever, that you pull to activate the spin. These days it’s much harder to find machines that have these.
While there are a few reasons for this, the main reason and the one the casinos don’t want you to know is because using a lever is much slower when compared to pressing a button. Casinos want you to be playing as quickly as possible when it comes to slots because the more you spin the more the odds move in their favor.
So by having buttons instead of levers the game moves a lot faster. Some may even say they’ve removed the lever so people don’t refer to slot machines as one-armed bandits anymore, but that may just be here-say.
12. Games are designed to be played as fast as possible
As we touched on in the previous secret, casinos want you to play whatever game you’re on as quickly as possible. While one of the main measurements on a slot is the time spent playing, they also want you to play as quickly as possible.
This increases the yield on the machine for the casino, meaning they make more money. Consider this, if you have a bank of widely popular slots which many people want to play, and it takes 20 seconds per spin, that’s quite a lot of time.
If a spin takes five seconds then you’re getting four times the amount of play on that machine which results in much more money passing through. So, all the time the casinos are trying to think of ways to make games happen much faster. They don’t want you playing slowly, so make sure you take your time next time you sit down at a slot. After all, the more time you play the more entertainment value you get.
13. Slot sounds and graphics are designed to make you feel happy
One thing that casinos certainly don’t want you to know about is the fact that slot machine manufacturers have teams of psychologists and researchers that provide advice on what sounds, colors, movements and graphics to use in games in order to make the player feel as happy as possible.
This is both good and bad. Firstly, it’s good if you’re playing for entertainment’s sake and know your limits when it comes to how much money you’re willing to play with. If this is the case then why not play a game that’s designed to make you feel happy.
Secondly, it’s bad when it comes to problem gamblers who don’t know when to stop and are chasing that happy feeling that the games give them. So this is a two-way street; that’s for sure. Casinos probably don’t want you to know this because it isn’t a great look.
14. Sometimes a win isn’t a win
One recent trend on slots is to play a jingle and show an animation showing that a player has had a win; this used to be a good thing and it meant you were making a profit, but not so much these days.
Much to the ire of lawmakers and the regulators, slot machines now play this jingle and imply a win, even when the spin results in less money won than you actually wagered on that spin in the first place. So this is essentially a loss and it’s trying to trick the player into thinking that they won.
Regulators are trying to have this outlawed but it will take some time. So, next time you’re playing don’t be fooled by the animation and sounds and the on-screen advice that says you’ve had a win. Make sure you check how much you ‘won’ when compared to how much you bet, before you celebrate.
15. Major progressive jackpots are played across multiple venues
Have you ever walked past a progressive jackpot slot machine and stared in awe at the huge jackpot which is currently available and is running into the millions of dollars?
If so, then you may not be aware that these slots are actually linked nationwide and the jackpot is played across thousands and thousands of machines and the casinos actually have no part in this prize.
Casinos don’t want you to know this of course; they want you to think that it’s just that machine so that you sit down and play and spin away thinking that you’re the only person who could possibly win that prize at that time.
These major progressive jackpot machines actually take a small cut from each bet you make and divert it to the major jackpot. So you should never play on one of these unless your ultimate goal is to win the life-changing money, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.
Casinos are designed to make money just like any business. The slot machines are a big piece of the profit puzzle so the casinos do everything they can to make them more profitable.
Now that you know these 15 slot machine secrets the casinos don’t want you to know you can gamble as an informed player. If you love slots there’s no reason to stop playing, but you should know these secrets before you play again.