Online slots articles 7

Slot Machine Payback Percentages

You don’t need to be a Math major to understand the jargon of the slot machine world. ‘Payback Percentages’ is one of those terms that sound a lot more complicated than they actually are.

What are Payback Percentages?

A payback percentage is the percentage of the total amount put into a machine that is paid back out again in winnings. These percentages may very greatly from game to game, machine to machine, casino to casino and state to state. The percentage pay back in one place may be just 75% whilst in another it may be 99%; it is rarely advertised what the percentage is, although on occasions a casino may mark a bank of machines at having a higher payback percentage than others. Some states regulate a minimum payback percentage, but not all; online casinos will often advertise their payback percentages as formulated by professional accountancy firms.

How are Slot Machine Payback Percentages set?

The payback percentage of a slot machine is determined by a physical setting, therefore to alter it the casino must open up the machine and physically change the settings. This will change in the near future with the introduction of server based slot machines that will allow casinos to make these changes at the click of a button. None the less for the time being at least, a machines payback percentage is more or less set, meaning that if you think you’ve found a loose machine, stick with it.

One thing that is often confusing regarding the way that slot machine payback percentages are talked about is that the impression is often given that the player will receive that percentage. For example a 98% return slot sounds like if you put in a dollar you will get back 98c. This is not the case and this is precisely where players get misled. A 98% payback means that that particular slot is set to return 98% of what is put into it, not on each go but rather overall. This means that one player might put in $100 and get nothing back, whilst another may put in $10 and get $100 back. In theory if you play that one machine enough you will see a 98% return, but how long ‘enough’ is, is really any ones guess.

Is a higher Slot Machine Payback Percentage more Profitable?

Really the difference between playing on a 94% payback machine and a 99% payback machine are negligible. Due to the fact that the percentage relates to the lifetime return of the machine rather than the return on an individual bet you could get lucky on 94% machine, and strike out on a 99% machine; basically a high payback percentage acts as a ploy to make you bet more on a particular machine but truthfully you are no more likely to hit a jackpot on a high percentage machine than on a low percentage machine. At the end of the day, casinos know what the payout percentages of machines are, but they will never tell you, so if you’ve got a winning machine; maybe it has a higher payout percentage, maybe not – it doesn’t really matter.

Theo Evans