Slot machines are literally cash cows for any casino, where they bring in about two-thirds of the total revenue. Everything about them is virtually free of any expense, bar the initial set up cost. They never phone in sick, they are never late for work and they never have to leave work early. They do not need to be paid and they require no insurance benefits. They make the most perfect employees! In addition they are easy to play, they are always available – if one is broken, there are usually another couple of hundred on which to play – and because they are computerized, players can slot in as much money as they like as fast as they like! Players rarely realize the huge profit the casinos make from their hard earned money.
Slots are one of the most popular casino games after Roulette and Blackjack. A testament to the popularity is the fact that they are also found in hotels, airports and bars. There are a variety of slot machines to suit everyone’s pocket, ranging from five cents up to twenty dollars per spin. For many people they are the perfect outlet for an evening of fun and excitement as the high-dollar card and Roulette tables can give them a feeling of intimidation. The slot machine also requires no skill or knowledge; you can just sit there, feed it money and wait in hope for the thrill of the big jackpot!
The mechanism that drives the slot machines is really rather easy to understand. When the player presses the ‘Spin’ button, the reels of the machine do just that until they stop. What causes them to stop? Well, after the machine has spun a certain number of times it is programmed to stop. This is known as the Random Number Generator (RNG) selection. In years gone by, the slots worked mechanically, but now they are controlled electronically. The software is programmed to produce an RNG which causes the reels to stop spinning. In no way does the player influence the outcome of the spin. Every second, hundreds and thousand of random numbers are being dished up by the RNG. At the same time that the player presses the ‘Spin’ button, a number is produced and that is the number of times the reels spin. And of course, there is a catch – these numbers are repeated according to how the machine has been programmed, and are known as Pseudo-Random Number Generators (PRNG). So, the number of spins is not really incidental. Slot machines can be custom-manufactured so that they never repeat the same number.
Now you are wondering how it is possible to ever win the jackpot on the slot machines. This can – and does – happen! The slots also have a programme that pays out a percentage of what the player has put into the slots. This is known as the Return to Player (RTP) and naturally, it is the lowest percentage possible. The RTP percentage can be changed in the software of the slot machine, or sometimes there is a Slot Manager who changes the numbers by remote control, thus ensuring that all players get the correct percentage payout in relation to the amount of money they have put into the slot. Whenever the percentage payout is changed, the players are told by way of an announcement. To enhance the jackpot that can be won, some slot machines are linked to each other and each machine provides a certain amount of that jackpot. Sometimes, whole casinos are linked to other casinos providing a whopping jackpot!
As mentioned, slots have to be the easiest game to play with absolutely no mental effort required on the part of the player. You start off by picking your slot machine according to how much you want to bet each time you spin, and how much you want to win. Some machines have 3 reels, others have 5 reels and they also have varying payout lines – sometimes up to 15! Other slots are known simply as the ‘fruit machines’. You put your money into the machine, the reels will spin and each one will stop at a different time but within seconds of each other. You will win if the symbols on the payout line match up, or if one of the ‘special’ symbols shows up with 2 other matching symbols. Different combinations produce different amounts of winnings. Most machines have a list of the winning combinations printed on them together with how much the player has won.
A number of machines have the option of doubling or quadrupling your bet – remember the more you bet, the more you lose too. Some machines offer bonus spins when a certain winning combination of symbols comes up and others have progressive jackpots where each spin is linked to a bigger jackpot amount. The one rule to stick to when playing Progressive Slots is to always play the maximum bet – if you don’t you have no chance of winning the jackpot. Someone can win it in a minute or it could take months until someone finally hits the winning combination. After a big win, the jackpot goes right down again, but never lower than about $100. With these progressive slots you feel like you are playing the lottery instead of a simple game in a casino!
Nowadays there are modern slots available at some newer gambling establishments where you exchange your money for tokens. You buy up to the value with which you wish to gamble from a central cashier. Tokens are all one value – there are no different denominations. You can still vary the amount of your bet depending how many tokens you use for each spin. Using the tokens eliminates the risk of criminals prowling the area as there is only one point on which to concentrate security staff and cameras. They also cut out the coin handling costs, and prevent the need for slot machines having to identify and convert different currencies.