Inside the slot machine is a microprocessor similar to the one in your home computer. Instead of running Word or Excel, it runs a special program known as the RNG. This generates numbers to correspond to the symbols on the reel of the slot machine and decides the outcome of the game cycle. You might say that the RNG is in perpetual motion. A slot machine with low volatility will allow you to win more frequently, with a smaller pay out. While high volatility games will reward you a greater payout less frequently. Let’s take a deeper look into how slot machines really work. Slot machines are known to be appealing, as they are based on luck and chance. They aren't called slot machines - lawmakers are still wrestling with how comfortable they are opening that door. Each machine taps into a database of some 90,000 past horse races and lets the player look at blind statistics to wager on unnamed horses that might win.
- Slot Machines How They Work
- How Do Pub Slot Machines Work In
- How Do Pub Slot Machines Work Without
- How Modern Slot Machines Work
Slot machines remain a mystery to many gamblers because you can’t see their inner workings. This differs from casino games like blackjack or roulette, where you can physically see how results are determined.
This has led to may slots myths, such as casinos flipping switches to change payback or machines running hot and cold.
The truth is that slot machines, and their results aren’t difficult to comprehend when you look closer at the matter.
Below you can see 10 important points on slot machines that will clear up many misconceptions. You’ll also see other info on the biggest slots jackpots, skill-based bonus rounds, and slots history.
1. Slot Machine Results Are Determined by Random Number Generators
One of the most important things to know about slot machines is how results are determined.
These games used to work on mechanical reels and levers. But now, almost every game is a video or online slot machine that features a random number generator (RNG).
The RNG cycles through sequences of simulated random numbers. Oftentimes the RNG moves at the rate of thousands of number sequences per second.
When you select the spin button, the most recent number combination determines your result. This means that the biggest determinant in your result is when you choose to spin.
Some players believe that they can produce desired results by “timing up” spins correctly.
This might be true if slot machines had more predictable RNGs. But given the speed at which RNGs move and how they continue working even when not played, timing up spins is impossible.
In summary, slots results are totally random. And you can’t do anything beyond developing an elaborate cheating plot to win guaranteed profits.
2. Slots Payback Determines Your Chances of Winning
Your odds of winning with a slot machine are determined by the payout percentage (a.k.a. payback).
Also called, return to player (RTP), this figure represents how much money you’ll theoretically win back from your bets. A slot machine with 95% payback would return $0.95 on every dollar you wager.
Many land-based casino jurisdictions require a minimum slot RTP. New Jersey requires a minimum payback of 83%, Mississippi requires 80%, and Nevada calls for at least 75%.
Most brick and mortar casinos have higher average RTP than the state required minimum because they want players to feel like they have a chance to win.
ThoughtCo reports that the average payback on Nevada penny slot machines is 90%, which is low in comparison to other types of slots in the state. But it’s also far higher than the state requirement of 75%.
Modern online slots payback between 95% and 97%. Online slots don’t have the same overhead costs as casinos, so they typically offer higher payback.
Obviously, you want a game’s RTP to be as high as possible. But the problem is that most casinos don’t advertise RTP on all of their slots.
This means that you’ll have to do research to find slots payback in many casinos.
This is easy to do with online slots providers because they usually offer a uniform payback across all of the casinos they serve. For example, NetEnt’s Blood Suckers slot has 98.0% payback at every online casino where it’s offered.
Heart of vegas casino slot machine gratis. Land-based slot machine RTPs are harder to come by because they vary from casino to casino. But you can often find a composite RTP figure by researching individual casinos and games.
3. Casinos Can’t Change Slots Payback Whenever They Want
Slots payback is tricky because it’s programmed to pay out over a long time period. Payout percentages may not actualize until hundreds of thousands of spins.
If you’ve played a specific slot for this long, then you’ll be close to the game’s specified payout percentage.
But most players don’t realize how long it takes to reach a slot machine’s RTP. And they often think that they’re being taken advantage of when they go through a cold streak.
This has led to the myth that casinos use a back office switch to change payback. But this isn’t the case in either land-based or online casinos.
Brick and mortar casinos order slot machines with a specific RTP. The game developer then programs the payout percentage into the software and stores it on a nonvolatile random access memory (NVRAM).
If a land-based casino wants to change payback for a specific slot machine, they must physically swap out the software. State/country gaming jurisdictions also require that casinos go through red tape before they change RTP on any game.
This means that it’s both time-consuming and illegal to randomly switch a slot machine’s payback whenever one feels like it.
Online slots providers control the payback that games have. Internet casinos license their software and feature whatever RTP is available.
This prevents tampering because the online casinos are merely licensing slots games.
Many gaming providers pay for third-party lab testing to ensure that their games are fair and random.
4. Slot Machines Have Fun Bonus Rounds
In 1996, WMS Industries created the first, second-screen bonus round in Reel ‘Em slot. Ever since then, slots creators have been adding more and more second-screen bonuses to games.
This creates excitement because you move off the reels and into a different type of game. What’s also fun is that you’ll find plenty of different bonuses across the slots world.
Bonus rounds usually have something to do with a slot machine’s theme. For example, Random Logic’s Millionaire Genie slot has a bonus round where you’re granted wishes that can turn into prizes.
Most bonus rounds fall into a broad range of categories, which you can see below:
- Choosing objects – This involves selecting items such as pots to reveal prizes.
- Fight – Select a character to battle an opponent.
- First person shooter – Allows you to move a cursor and shoot objects.
- Wheel – You spin a wheel to determine your prize.
- Board game – Move your character around a board to win bonus payouts.
None of these types of bonuses reinvent the wheel in gaming. But it’s still fun to trigger a bonus and do something different beyond spinning the reels when you get a chance.
5. Some Slot Machines Contain Skill
Slots players have been satisfied with spinning reels and winning prizes for decades. But casinos and gaming operators are now incorporating more skill into slot machines in an effort to capture younger players’ attention.
One way this is done is through skill-based bonus rounds. Let’s look at Scientific Games’ Space Invaders as an example:
- You have the option to choose a random or skill based bonus round.
- The skill based bonus takes you to a new screen, where you control a tiny ship at the bottom.
- You move the ship and shoot aliens as they travel down the screen.
- Your score (payout) depends upon how many aliens you hit.
Space Invaders is an old arcade game that’s been around since 1978. And most people would never play this game alone.
But it’s fun in the context of a slot machine because you’re doing something different and playing for real money.
Some companies are even developing gaming machines that are entirely based on skill. This includes GameCo’s Danger Arena, which is a first-person shooter that sees you blast robots for money.
Your score depends upon how many robots you can shoot within the allotted time frame. You earn the top prize if you’re able to destroy 10 bots and get a perfect score.
It remains unclear when skill-based gaming will take off in casinos. But the odds are that it’ll happen at some point within the next decade.
6. Class II Slot Machines Operate Like Bingo
Earlier I covered how slots operate based on random number generators. These are referred to as “Class III” slots in America.
But there are also Class II slot machines, which operate like bingo games.
These slots are popular in tribal casinos that don’t have a Class III gaming compact with their respective state. Many states have worked out Class II compacts with Native American tribes, allowing them to offer bingo style gaming.
A Class II machine looks just like a regular slot. But the results are determined as if you were playing electronic bingo.
What’s interesting is that the available number of prizes is capped to represent a real life bingo game. Once all of the prizes have been paid, the cycle starts over.
Essentially, Class II slots are just like the Class III versions in terms of randomness, payback, and jackpots. But they determine results differently to allow tribal casinos to still have slots like games.
7. The Largest Ever Slots Jackpot is Worth $39.7 Million
One really exciting thing about slot machines is that you can win huge jackpots. And the biggest ever jackpot is a $39.7 million prize that was won at Las Vegas’ Excalibur casino.
A 25-year-old software engineer from LA won this slots jackpot in 2003 while playing Megabucks. He put in $100 and never had to reload because he won the jackpot shortly after that.
Behar Merlaku thought he’d won a record $57 million at Austria’s Casino Bregenz in 2011. But it turned out to be a software glitch because the machine only offered a top payout of $6,500.
Merlaku took the matter to court and said that both he and his wife suffered emotional stress as a result of the malfunction. He also contended that his child was born with a cleft palate due to his wife’s trauma.
The couple was awarded €1 million as part of a settlement.
The largest online slots jackpot in history belongs to Jon Heywood, who won £13,213,838 in 2015.
The British soldier, who did tours in Afghanistan, was playing Microgaming’s Mega Moolah at the time of his win.
Heywood spoke with the Daily Mail about his windfall and said that he was going to help his father get a heart and lung transplant. He also planned to buy a yellow Bentley Continental GT car and decide what to do with the rest later.
8. Slots Jackpots Can Be Awarded In a Variety of Ways
Many slot machines have a specific symbol combination that awards a jackpot. Normally this involves getting the highest paying icon or wild symbol 5 times in a pay line.
But there are other ways that a slots jackpot can be awarded too.
One method involves awarded the jackpot randomly at the conclusion of a spin. It doesn’t matter how much you bet or even if you win because you’re always eligible for the jackpot.
Random progressive jackpots are good for low rollers who can’t afford to make maximum bets to qualify for the top prize.
Some slot machines only pay the jackpot on a certain pay line.
For example, you might have to play all 20 lines because the jackpot can only be awarded on the 20th pay line. Playtech has a few older online slots like this.
Another way that jackpots can be awarded is through bonus rounds.
Oftentimes this involves spinning a wheel to unlock a progressive payout. Microgaming’s Mega Moolah and NetEnt’s Mega Fortune are two examples of slots that award jackpots through the bonus.
Other bonus rounds may see you perform actions to win the jackpot. One example is Microgaming’s Hall of Gods, where you smash mirrors with Thor’s hammer to reveal jackpot symbols.
9. Some Countries Have Different Names for Slot Machines
Americans, Canadians, and some Europeans are used to calling these games slots or slot machines.
But other countries have different names for slots. And these games sometimes include rule differences too.
Australians commonly called slots “poker machines” or “pokies.” Pokie is just an abbreviation for poker machine, which has to do with slots history (discussed later).
Pokies operate just like slot machines in America and many other parts of the world.
The UK has lots of fruit machines (a.k.a. fruities), which refers to the common slots practice of using fruit as symbols. The Scottish commonly refer to a fruit machine as apuggy.
Fruities differ from traditional slot machines because they have hold and/or nudge features.
Hold lets you hold one or more reels in place while the others spin. Nudge lets you nudge one or more reels down a space to complete or improve wins.
Hold and nudge inject some skill into slot machines. But note that these features have already been factored into the overall house edge.
Slot Machines How They Work
Japan’s version of slot machines is called pachinko. This is a slots pinball hybrid that begins with shooting a ball into the field of play.
If a ball lands in the right pocket, then the slot machine reels in the center will spin. The goal is to line up the right combination and win a prize.
I mentioned earlier that Canadians use the term slots and slot machines.
But their state lotteries play a big role in the gaming scene and offer video lottery terminals (VLTs). Most VLTs work just like slot machines because they have RNGs and spinning reels.
How Do Pub Slot Machines Work In
The only exception is that a VLT prints out scratch-off tickets, instead of working like a slot machine.
10. The First Slot Machine Was Invented in 1893
Brooklyn based Sittman and Pitt created the first gaming machine in 1891. This is regarded as the precursor to slot machines, and it featured 5 drums that held a total of 50 card faces.
Players inserted a nickel into this poker machine and pulled the reel to play. The drums would spin and offer players a 5 card poker hand.
Sittman and Pitt’s game was popular at bars because it awarded free beers and cigars. But it was far from what we typically think of regarding slots.
Charles Fey and Gustav Friedrich Wilhelm Schultze, who worked together at San Francisco’s Electric Works, are credited with creating the first slot machines.
Wilhelm Schultze was first, inventing the Horseshoe slot machine and an automatic payout mechanism in 1893. Fey introduced a newer version in 1895 that actually paid coins.
How Do Pub Slot Machines Work Without
Fey would open a slots workshop the following year. It’s here where he developed the Liberty Bell, which became the most popular slot of its time.
Fey was unable to patent his device because gambling was illegal in California. This brought on lots of competition over the years and helped further the slot machine industry.
Another great development was when video slots were introduced to casino floors in the 1970s. Nowadays, almost every slot machine produced is a video slot.
Microgaming introduced the first online slots in 1994. The industry has since taken off, which thousands of online slots now available through PCs, Macs, and mobile devices.
Slot machines aren’t transparent in how they award prizes. But you’ll have a lot more confidence playing these machines when you understand payback and random number generators.
Furthermore, knowing about payback and the RNG clears up many of the myths surrounding slots.
Of course, the fun in playing slot machines isn’t in understanding how they work. It’s about the bonus rounds, jackpots, and cool game themes.
How Modern Slot Machines Work
Luckily, there’s more of these aspects in the gaming world than ever before. I especially enjoy the bonus rounds that are being added into games today.
It’s also exciting to see skill injected into more and more slots. It’ll be interesting to see how much the slots world changes when skill-based gaming takes off.