Slot Machines Are Boring As Shit

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Slot machines are an extremely popular form of gambling. The premise is simple: you insert a coin, pull a lever, and reap in cash rewards if the symbols on the reels align in a certain way. Slot machines test your luck and intuition, and, despite the simple rules, they are not boring in the slightest.

  1. Market research studies show that the massive Millennial generation, those 21- to 34-year-olds who outnumber Baby Boomers, consider slot machines boring and table games only slightly more.
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  4. In the new slot machines, bonus games became interactive and now engage the gambler into the gaming process. Now you are not just hitting the button but influence the game result. In the new free online casino slot games, you may be asked to choose the box with the Free Spins, find the right way to the money or even play the small Battleship game.

Slot machines use catchy music, fun graphics, and interesting symbols to hold the player’s attention. But how slot machines work? What are they made of and how do they determine when to pay out and when to disappoint the not-so-lucky players?

This article uses advanced terminology. If you are new to slots, you may want to check out our complete glossary of slot game features.

The Anatomy of a Slot Machine

So how do slots work? In order to find that out, you’ll need to go through video slot parts. When playing a land-based slot machine, you will see the following components:

Coin Slot/Bill Slot

This is where you put your money into the machine. You can also insert a cashed-out ticket into a slot machine and spend your winnings on additional spins.


Slot machines usually feature three or five reels, but you can occasionally come across machines with as many as ten reels! Reels are the spinning mechanisms that make the vertical positions on a slot grid rotate. Each reel has a certain number of “steps” where it could stop, and each step either contains a symbol or is blank. A typical slot machine contains about 20 stops on each reel, but this can vary.


In older slot machines, the lever would actually set the reels in motion. In modern slot machines, however, the lever just triggers the casino game’s software, which, in turn, makes the reels spin.

Play buttons

Slot machines may feature several different buttons. The most common include “Spin Reels”, “Play One Credit”, “Play Two Credits”, “Bet Max Credits”, “Cash Out”, and “Request Change.”

Coin Tray

In the past, once you would hit the “Cash Out” button, your coins would cascade out of the machine and pool in the coin tray. Now, however, it is now more common for the machine to print you a cashout voucher. These are redeemable at a redemption machine or at the cashier’s cage. Alternatively, you can insert it into another slot machine (usually through the bill slot) and go for some more spins.


The payline is the horizontal line that you can see in the center of a slot machine’s screen. In order to land a winning combination, the symbols must align on an active payline. The number of paylines available can vary from game to game, but you can only win payouts on the paylines that you place a bet on.

If there are ten paylines available, and you only bet on two of them, you can only reap those two payline’s rewards. Some machines require users to pay one credit for each payline that they would like to activate. Other machines may require multiple coins to activate a single payline.

/slot-machines-in-cumberland-maryland.html. Some slot games allow players to adjust the payline’s direction, while others are fixed. Paylines can run left-to-right or take on a zig-zag shape.

If you’re also interested in how all of these parts come together, make sure to watch this How It’s Made feature on casino slot machines:

Pay Table

A slot machine’s pay table will display all of the game’s winning combos and corresponding payouts. It will also display any special bonus, wild, or scatter symbols. Furthermore, the pay table will show the game’s current jackpot and indicate whether or not the machine is progressive. You should always check out a slot game’s pay table to educate yourself on all possible wins, payline configurations, payout odds, and information for bonus events.


Every slot machine will clearly display the basic information relevant to its users. Some common displays include:

  • Credits played. This display shows the exact number of credits that the player is betting on each spin.
  • Credits. This will show the player how many remaining credits they have. When the display reaches 0, the player must deposit additional coins through the coin slot in order to keep playing. Keep in mind. each credit will align with the denomination the game requires. If a player is using a 25-cent machine and inserts a $10 bill, the display will show that the player has 40 credits available.
  • Insert Coin. This display shows that the slot machine is not currently activated. Anybody simply has to insert bills or coins into the machine to begin playing.
  • Winner Paid. This will show how many credits were won on the previous spin, which would be added to the player’s total on the Credits display.
  • Error Code. This display will only activate if a slot machine is malfunctioning. It will show a code that assists a staff member in identifying the problem.

Feel free to also watch a video guide on how a casino slot machine works below:

Types of Slot Machines

There are many different kinds of slot machines, some of which can be difficult to find. Here are some types of slots that you might come across and a short guide on how they operate.

Slot Machines Are Boring As Shita

Single-Coin Machines

These used to be very popular but are now much harder to find since most slots now accept dollar bills or require multiple coins per spin. Because these machines only accept one coin per spin, the house does not rake in as much revenue during a period of time as it would when using a multi-coin machine.

However, some old-fashioned casinos still use these types of machines. If you want a more classic gaming experience, and you want your credits to last for more spins, try out a single-coin machine.


Not to be confused with Multiplier symbols, a multiplier machine takes multiple coins and has a payout ratio that corresponds with the number of coins that a player uses on a spin. This type of machine was introduced in 1987 and is now the most popular type of slot machine found in modern casinos.

Multiplier machines still allow players to partake in single-coin play, but often players will choose to make the maximum bet.

Buy-Your-Pay Machines

Buy-Your-Pay machines allow players to bet between 1-5 coins on each spin. The number of coins inserted is what determines the game’s number of activated winning combos. For instance, if a player inserts only one coin, 3 “bars” would be a winning combo, but not 3 cherries. On the other hand, if they insert more coins, then both combos would be considered winning ones.

You can identify this type of machine by taking a look at the pay table. If it shows that more coins unlock extra winning combos, then you know it is a Buy-Your-Pay machine.

This kind of machine is not as common as multiplier machines. Many players avoid using them because it can be frustrating when they are just one coin shy of cashing out a great combo.

Multiple Payline Machines

Most slot machines only have one payline, which is in the middle of the game’s screen. On the other hand, a multiple payline machine has more than one active payline, as its name implies. This gives players a more exciting experience and offers more win potential.

However, players will typically need to pay an additional credit to activate each payline. When a payline is activated, it will light up.

Land-based casinos’ multiple payline machines typically offer 2-5 paylines, but sometimes more. On the other hand, online machines could have 50+ paylines!

Progressive Machines

Progressive machines are linked together by one jackpot, which can grow to gigantic proportions since it grows anytime a player inserts a coin into one of the network’s machines. When a player finally hits the jackpot symbol combination, the pool will reset. Some US gambling venues have linked together slot machines across entire states! Over the years, this type of slot machine has become very popular, since everybody wants to try their hand at winning a jackpot that would make them a millionaire.

Progressive jackpot slots have become especially popular in online casinos, and slots across various websites can be linked, as long as they use the same software platform.

Big Berthas

A Big Bertha slot machine simply refers to a machine that is gigantic and features 3+ reels. Some even feature as many as 8 reels, and each reel has 20 symbols! These machines are typically located near the entrance of a casino, to draw in attention. However, they don’t offer a great payout percentage.

Multi-Game Machines

A multi-game slot machine allows the player to switch between various games without having to sit at a different machine. For example, one multi-game machine might offer slots, blackjack, and video poker. In addition to this, multi-game machines will usually support many different currency denominations.

Other Useful Terms to Know

Hit Frequency

Hit frequency refers to how often a winning combination will land on the reels. If a machine has a high hit frequency, this means that winning combos will land more often. Machines that hit often don’t have a great payback percentage. Conversely, slot machines that have a low hit frequency will usually have a pretty significant payout rate.

Payback Rate

The payback rate, also known as payback percentage, refers to the amount of money that gamblers win, compared to how much they wager. Slot machines’ payback rates typically fall between 82% to 98%.


Each slot machine has a built-in Random Number Generator (RNG), which is an algorithm that ensures that each landing symbol is totally random and is not dependent on a player’s previous spin.

Now that you know all the details about slot machines, come try out some virtual ones at CasinoChan!

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GDC 2019

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SAN FRANCISCO—This year's Game Developers Conference saw two game makers emerge with a possible chapter in a future dystopian sci-fi novel: the story of making money by letting robots do the work. In their case, that work was the procedural generation of smartphone games.

A single 'game jam' event led to a data machine that ultimately pumped out a decent amount of cash: $50,000 over a couple of years. Years later, with that data (and money) in hand, the makers of this game-making machine, which focused entirely on 'garbage' free-to-play slot machines, used GDC as a wake-up call to an industry where the 'right' messages often revolve around listening to players, sidling up to publishers, and racking up critical acclaim. In their case, eschewing all of that worked a little too well for their comfort level.

Winning the “race to the bottom”

In 2013, two video game makers had been trying for years to make it in the burgeoning mobile games space. One of them, Alex Schwartz, had helped get the solid mobile swiping-action game Jack Lumber off the ground. (In a past life, I gave that game a good review at the now defunct tablet-only magazine The Daily.) The other, Ziba Scott, had put together a fine mobile-friendly puzzle game, Girls Like Robots.

/amazon-wild-free-slot-machine-game.html. The Amazon Wild slot is an exciting slots game with 5 reels (each four symbols tall) and 100 lines. Players will get to explore the Amazonian jungle to find fortune while enjoying exotic sounds, bright coloured birds, chameleons changing colours, big cats and a playful monkey. Amazon Wild is a beautiful 5-reel, 100-payline online video slot game from Ash Gaming. This game is professionally crafted to represent a tour of the Amazon. The game uses high-quality 3D graphics that make everything look real and vibrant. How to Win Amazon Wild Slot The slot has a theoretical return of 94.16%. Thus, players get back most of the funds they bet. In this game, you can gradually raise the bet until three scatters or a combination of the Black Panther symbols appear on the screen.

Both games operated in a pay-once, play-forever model without microtransactions. Both attracted awards, recognition, good expo showings, and publishers. Both failed to take off.

They looked at the meager income they were making doing it the 'right' way, as had been established by the old publishing guard. They then looked at iOS and Google Play marketplaces and saw that 'freewares, clones, and junk' dominate the general selection, let alone the actual money-making charts.

In one casual chat about the sheer weight of that business reality, the duo came to a conclusion: 'We could do better.. at doing worse!'

They teamed up during the 2013 Global Game Jam to push something out that resembled the 'race to the bottom' they saw on mobile platforms. Thanks to the time-restricted nature of a game jam, they opted to buy a 3D slot machine asset off of the Unity Store (a marketplace that lets game makers pay modelers and animators for unrestricted use of various 2D and 3D assets) for $15. They then spent the rest of the jam creating a system that would automatically generate the rest of the skinning needed to make this basic virtual slot machine just unique enough to be published as its own smartphone app.

'Let's customize these like other slot machine companies do,' Schwartz said. 'They make themed slots. What's the minimum set of things to change to make a different slot machine? Let's change the title. Change the one image on the reel that might be relevant to your topic. So, like, a dolphin slot: put a dolphin in there [as the jackpot slot logo] with a special icon. Then the background is a scrolling dolphin image.'


The original word list was hand-curated based on what the team thought was interesting but also generic and safe-for-work. The most scintillating name they went for at that point was '3D Sexy Librarian Slots.'

With the visuals knocked out, the duo went one step further: creating custom music.

'A crappy song would play, then use text-to-speech to sing the word 'dolphin' in the Google Translate monotone voice. It'd play that every time you won. It'd say the name of your game in the music,' Schwartz said.

As a result, with the press of a single button, a Unity script could put those steps together and essentially auto-generate hundreds of 'custom' slot machines. Schwartz and Scott confirmed that their automated system's scraping of public images exposed one issue: Google Image Search would throw up errors for exceeding the rate limit. 'We found a use for Bing,' Schwartz said in a phone interview with Ars. 'Its image search had a number of things that were looser. I'm not trying to knock them, but they have a reputation for being second class. That felt like a kindred spirit for what we were trying to achieve here.'

“A portal to a better world”

With that slot-creation template set, the team automated the process of feeding information to Google Play (a much easier marketplace to exploit than iOS at the time) and creating publicly available freeware slot machine apps with ads. One simple Selenium script later, and that process was done.

The duo could feed a single slot-machine keyword into their combined scripts, which took 'a few hours' in all to build, then watch on a 'ghost monitor' as its system faked like a human, clicked every appropriate checkbox, picked every country, agreed to every terms-of-service agreement, and filled in every appropriate text box—then took the auto-generated slot machine and uploaded it for anyone to play.

'The slots didn't have much to do with bowling.'

They attached mobile ad network Playhaven to the whole thing because the duo's philosophy was that they never wanted to take actual money from users who would download their bizarrely named apps. They then 'walked away' for two months. After that period of dealing with real-life work, they peeked at their income and advertising statement and were stunned: people were downloading their apps, and 27 percent of those people were clicking on their ads, driving roughly $211 of ad revenue per day.

The team came up with a theory: 'All of our advertising keywords were related to casino related content,' Schwartz said to Ars. 'We had an epiphany: our game looks so fucking terrible, but people downloaded it for some reason. When they see an ad for a much better slot machine or casino, they click it because.. of course you do! That's a greener pasture! A way better future you could be having! We think the quality was so low in our shit that the ads were a portal to a better world.'

Slot Machines Are Boring As Shite

Yet the duo incredulously admits that its average rating for many of the apps was in the four-star range and that reviews were quite kind. One review stood out to Scott, for the auto-generated '3D Bowling Slots' app: 'Someone wrote that they were disappointed that the slots didn't have much to do with bowling.'

Supervillain origin story?

The engineering half of their brains wanted to see how far this enterprise could take them. So they began tinkering with the existing template with things like the automation of slot-machine descriptions.


Google Trends seemed like a good idea, but that usually led to trademarked or public-figure names, and the team wasn't interested in getting out of the 'automation' loop by having to deal with a high volume of takedown requests. So they opted for a slightly updated app-name template: the word '3D,' plus an adjective, plus either an animal, location, or country, plus the word 'free.'

Examples included 3D Tremendous Face Pain Slots, 3D Rough Elbow Slots, 3D Mild Dogwood Slots, 3D Viceroy Butterfly Slots, and 3D Inexperienced Great Horned Owl Slots. (They eventually made T-shirts to commemorate the latter.)

Schwartz and Scott also paid a small Romanian studio a pittance to build a higher fidelity slot machine, which they eventually discarded. That happened in part because the duo's mix of newer full-time work and ethical concerns crowded out their excitement and availability.

'You have the worst users.'

'Someone said, you could raise money on this idea, or sell this data to someone else, or sell your company,' Scott said to Ars. 'We were at a crossroads where the joke was similar to the origin story of a supervillain. Do we abandon all creative pursuits to make the most intense money-making slot-creating enterprise? Or does this continue being a tiny background of 1/20 of our day?'

Eventually, the headaches of keeping up with Google Play caught up to the team. Apps were removed for violating an updated terms of service that gave Google more leeway to cut out apparent crapware. Google also updated the Web interface on a somewhat regular basis. Moving a single box a few pixels could throw a wrench into the Selenium robo-clicking works, which the team had previously designed to auto-upload 15 apps a day (Google Play's upload limit for a single developer account at the time).

At one point, the app network Playhaven called the duo with a flat declaration. 'We're seeing erratic data on your account,' Schwartz said to paraphrase. 'We're not sure what's up. We're not interested in continuing to serve ads to your slot machines. But we want to be clear: you didn't break our ToS. You're just, I don't know, inconvenient.'

Slot Machines Are Boring As Shitje

Playhaven then added, 'You have the worst users. People who come from your apps don't spend money.' The team switched to another ad provider immediately, Chartboost. 'They knew roughly what we were doing,' Schwartz said. 'They've been great.'

“Optimized to remove our content”

This many years later, all of the roughly 1,500 apps generated by this experiment are dead. And Schwartz and Scott think of the whole affair as a mix of a joke and a productive wake-up call.

Slot Machines Are Boring As Shit

'Our half-joking argument: by offering the largest target of low-quality garbage apps, these marketplaces became optimized to remove our content,' Schwartz said to Ars. 'You could almost say that our company trained their algorithm so that what we were doing could eventually not be possible. But we were the first to bring it to that level.'

Slot Machines Are Boring As Shitara

In their GDC presentation, Schwartz mostly left the data up for people to peruse in a laughing manner, but also with a human angle about the costs that might arise if you chase such a robo-generated app dream with profit, not laughs, as the goal.

'This whole project was an itch that felt so good to scratch,' Schwartz said at GDC. 'We thumbed our noses at the mobile market that had broken our hearts in 2013. We laughed the whole way.. The truth is I don’t give a fuck about slot machines. We’ve moved on. If there’s a business lesson in that, I’d say: scratch your crazy itches, give that insane idea a try. But even if it does work out.. be prepared to walk away because it may only have been the attempt that made you happy, not the result.'