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HOME > Gaming > Slot payouts are changing

Slot payouts are changing

23 February 2014

By John Grochowski

QUESTION: On slot machines that have a "stop spin" button, does it make a difference or will you get what you would have gotten if it completed its spin on its own?

ANSWER: It makes no difference. The reels are going to show what the random number generator tells them to, regardless of whether you stop them.

There are a few rare exceptions. Several years ago, IGT did a couple of three-reel machines in its Reel Edge series that gave players the option of stopping each reel individually. On those, there was an element of skill, and your timing did matter. Those games carved a very small niche, and IGT changed direction in its Reel Edge games. On modern games such as Blood Life Legends and Caterpillar, the skill element is confined to the bonus events, and not on stopping the reels.

QUESTION: I don’t get how casinos get away with paying you less money than you bet on a so-called winning slot spin. If I bet 20 credits and get back five, that’s no win in my book. Shouldn’t any winner have to pay you more than you bet?

ANSWER: There are slot machines that either pay more than your wager, or pay nothing at all. That’s how most three-reel slots work, and it is how slot fans played for generations.

However, in modern casinos, three-reel games with no bonuses or other frills have been eclipsed in popularity by bonus slots, especially video machines. Frequent wins that are smaller than the total wager are part of what game designers do to make the game playable and fun. Those small payouts help players stay in the game long enough to get to the bonus events.

If every payout was larger than the wager, then paying spins would have to be a lot less frequent. The games would be more volatile, and it would become more common for players to run out of credits without getting to the bonus events. Players who don’t get to the bonus events don’t get to see the most entertaining portions of the games, leaving less incentive for them to come back.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

John Grochowski
John  Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field. Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago.

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