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HOME > STRATEGY > Strategies & Tips > Ask the Slot Expert: Will all slot machines be video in the future?

Ask the Slot Expert: Will all slot machines be video in the future?

20 February 2013

By John Robison, Las Vegas Sun


Thanks for all you write regarding casinos and slots -- you have been a superb mythbuster in this area.

Here is my question designed to bring relief to many slot players -- I think: (A) Does the RNG function to first determine a certain payout for a spin on a machine, which is then reflected in the symbols that come up (which would naturally take into account the number of lines bet in order to show the correct result to be paid), or (B) Does the RNG determine the symbol placement first (which then results in a bigger/smaller win depending upon how many lines were bet)?

The reason I ask this question, and why it is important, is to determine whether I should feel bad when I bet my last 3 cents on a 30-line penny machine and the symbols which show up are a loser for my 3 lines, but would have paid me big bucks if I had bet all 30 lines (and hit the RNG at the same exact time, of course). I should not feel bad if “A” above is true; I should feel bad if “B” above is true. I hope this makes sense.

Thanks again and Happy 2013.


Dear Paul:

Thanks for the kind words about my columns.

I hope you won't feel bad, but B is the case. The numbers from the RNG are used to determine where each reel will stop. The program running the slot machine then looks at the combinations formed on the paylines you played and pays off any winning combinations.

Happy and lucky 2013 to you,

Dear John:

Will we ever see newer slots of the older type (3- and 4-reelers, such as Mucho Dinero, Triple Diamond, Ten Times Pay, Red-White-Blue, etc.), or are we old geezers stuck with the new type of penny machines that cost dollars and dollars to play and don't seem to pay off like the older ones mentioned above?

I predict that the slot machine with three or more spinning physical reels will eventually disappear. The physical reels will be replaced with their depictions on a video monitor. First, mechanisms have a tendency to break, so video slots require less maintenance. Second, physical reels do not add any value to the slot-playing experience. Ticket machines quickly replaced coin-based machines because the coins did not add any value to the experience (although some players did like playing Scrooge McDuck and running their hands through the pile of coins in the coin tray and getting their hands dirty). Coins, in fact, cost the casinos a lot of money in collection, counting, and hopper-filling and hopper-repairing costs.

The first video slots were not successful because players didn't trust them. Because they couldn't see the spinning reels, they didn't think the machines were fair. Now that video slots have been accepted and taken over almost the entire slot floor, the manufacturers can ditch the physical reels and go all video.

That doesn't mean that all the slots will be multi-line/multi-coin with dozens of paylines. There's no reason why new video slots can't be like the first video slots -- electronic representations of 3-reel machines.

That said, manufacturers still make machines with physical spinning reels. Let your casino know that these are the machines you like to play and maybe it will get more of them.

Jackpots for all,

Copyright © Las Vegas Sun. Inc. Republished with permission.

John Robison
John  Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming's leading publications. Hear John on "The Good Times Radio Gaming Show," broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoons. You can listen to archives of the show online anytime.

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