How to Set Your Budget for Playing Slots

Slot Budgets

No matter how often you visit a casino, whether in person or online, it is likely that you play the slot machines. Most people who gamble enjoy these machines, as they are easy to play, fun, and offer the opportunity to earn a lot of money.

I know that playing slots can be a lot of fun. I enjoy the fact that there are many variations of games, and manufacturers have gone out of their way to create themed games that I am familiar with. There are machines based on famous movies, Egyptian themed slot machines, even ones based on video games I played as a kid, such as Pac-Man.

There is no doubt that they can be a lot of fun, but they can be a lot of trouble as well. If you have not taken the proper precautions, you can soon find yourself in a great deal of debt. However, you want to have fun, so how do you set a budget for playing slot machines?

Being Honest with Yourself

Before diving into some tips, I wanted to share something that I think is important for most players to understand. A lot of people enter a casino or sign up online and set a rather rigid budget. They are not going to spend more than $20, for example. That leaves them either playing games that bore them, because it is all they can afford to play, or they lose their money right off and are done for the evening. Neither of these situations is particularly appetizing.

I mention this first because I want you to understand that it is okay to allow yourself to have some fun. While I don’t want you to break the bank, leaving yourself in a significant amount of debt, I also don’t want you to restrict yourself in such a way that you can’t even enjoy playing. There’s nothing fun about that. So, as we go through these tips, I am providing them to you with both of these factors in mind.

Have a Bankroll

When deciding to play the slot machines, begin by determining what you can afford to spend. This is your bankroll. This helps you determine a few things. First, it lets you know how much money you can afford to lose and still feel like you can have a good time that night. You clearly don’t want to have a bankroll that is so big that a significant loss becomes a major problem for you financially.

Setting a bankroll also allows you to determine what games you can play and how long you can play them. If, for example, you are allowing yourself a bankroll of $100, then it is probably not a good idea for you to be playing $5 machines. You may be able to play some $1 machines for a while, but there is probably a limit on how quickly you can afford to lose and still remain at the casino for a while.

Your bankroll may also determine the type of machine you are playing. Some machines offer you several different lines to play with each spin of the wheel. If you are playing a $1 machine with seven lines and you lose on each of the first four or five spins, you wiped out 30% of your budget.


While you want to allow yourself to have fun, you want to be careful with your bankroll. Again, make sure you set a value that enables you to go home a loser and still feel like you had a good time.

Create a Long-Term Bankroll

Creating a bankroll is not a solitary event. What I mean is that, if you are a person who likes to go to the casino frequently, you should have an overall bankroll on what you allow yourself to spend in a given week, month, maybe even a year. This bankroll helps you to stay on task by paying for your daily life.

I see this happen far too often. A person goes to the casino every Friday night. They basically set their bankroll at what they have available in their checking account or on their credit card. Because they are not thinking long-term, they are not considering that a week from now, they may have a child who needs money for an activity at school or that the car needs to have the brakes replaced.

When you set a long-term bankroll, allowing you to determine exactly what you can spend over a certain amount of time, this enables you to protect your assets. You know what you can spend overall in a month or a few months period of time because you have figured out the finances of it. This ensures that an emergency doesn’t become a disaster.

Keep Track of Your Losses

I have found that this is one of the most common mistakes that people make. They don’t really monitor how well they are doing, including tracking their losses. All they pay attention to is the number of credits they have left.

Instead, you should be keeping a running tab of your losses. This is not only applicable for a single night at the casino, but should be kept for every time that you go.

There are some big advantages to doing something like this. First off, it is an honest way to look at whether you should be gambling at all. If you find that every time you go to the casino, you come back a significant loser, it may be time to reevaluate what you do on Friday night.

In addition, many states allow you to take gambling losses off your taxes.


By keeping an accurate account of how often you lose and the total amount you lost, you can actually get some of that money back when you file your taxes.

Most importantly, this helps you to set a budget. By knowing how much you are losing, this can enable you to adjust how much you are able to spend each time you go. You may also find that you are doing quite well, which may lead you to adjust your bankroll to allow you to play a little bit more. I can’t deny the fact that some people are really lucky with these machines.

Don’t Let Your Emotions Get the Best of You

This is one piece of advice that I cannot stress to you enough. Far too often, we let our emotions dictate our decisions. In the gambling world, that is terrible.

If you have not gotten enough sleep, are angry, or are trying to find some way to make yourself feel better, a slot machine is not where you should be at. The same is true if you are in a really good mood. If you are super excited about life and think everything is going your way, slot machines are not your friends.

Your emotions can get you to make some really bad decisions. They can get you to keep playing a game longer than you should. They can get you to walk away sooner than you should. They can get you to bet more than you should. You want to have a feeling of stability whenever playing a slot machine.

This is especially true when you are talking about the hunch. The point where you are absolutely sure that a machine is due to hit because you can “feel it.” Your emotions will steer you in the wrong direction in a situation like this, so keep them in check.

Playing Online Has Its Benefits and Pitfalls

There are many who are finding that the best option for them to play slot machines is online. There are incredible online casinos out there, which offer you the latest slot machine games available. They are fun to play, and you can enjoy the experience in your living room.

I like that aspect of them, but I want to caution you about this as well. It’s easy to step away from your budget when you’re playing at home. You start adding in factors like not spending money driving to the casino, not having to pay for drinks or food, and you start to increase your bankroll beyond your means.

Also, because it is so easy to play at home, you could easily find yourself playing all the time. Some online casinos offer you a maximum amount that you can wager each month. If that is offered to you, it is a good idea to use this as an additional safety guard to protect you from spending too much money.

No doubt that slot machines are a lot of fun, and options at the casino and online make this an extremely enjoyable activity. Just make sure that you keep these tips in mind, and they will help you to avoid getting yourself into financial trouble.

Petko Stoyanov
Get in touch with Petko
About Petko Stoyanov
My name is Petko Stoyanov, and I've been a gambling writer for more than ten years. I guess that was the natural path for me since I've loved soccer and card games for as long as I can remember! I have a long and fairly successful history with English Premier League betting and online poker, but I follow many other sports. I watch all big European soccer leagues, basketball, football, and tennis regularly, and I keep an eye on snooker, volleyball, and major UFC events.