What edge does the casino have generally on a slot machine?

Casinos receive about 70% of their overall gaming revenue from slot machines.
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Believe it or not, casinos receive about 70% of their overall gaming revenue from slot machines.

That is an astounding number considering that slot machines at one time were viewed by casinos as simply a means to entertain women while men gambled the “big” money on the tables. This attitude has certainly changed and slots are now the money makers for the casino.

When slot machines are being manufactured they are set with a certain payback percentage. That means that the casino knows that after a period of time they are guaranteed to make money on EVERY slot machine. If a slot machine is set at an 80% payback, then the casino will make 20% of every dollar that is put into that machine, over a period of time.

Does that mean that slots are “fixed?” It depends on your definition of “fixed.” Slot machines in regulated jurisdictions (Atlantic City, Las Vegas, etc.) are controlled by a random number generator (RNG) that ensures that each spin is completely random. Therefore, they are not “fixed” to cheat any one person. However, even though each spin is completely fair the program will guarantee that the casino will make a certain percentage of money over a long period of time.

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Each state has its own laws as to how low the slot machines can be set. Slots can be set as low as a 70% payback in some states. That means for every dollar that is played through the machine on average the player will only get back 70% in wins and the casino will keep 30% in profit. A 30% house edge is very high and will mean heavy losses for most players.

The difficulty for slot players is the fact that you cannot tell the payback percentage of a machine by looking at it. In video poker, the pay table can be used to figure out the payback percentage of a machine, but with slots this cannot be done. You are at the mercy of the casino as to how high the payback percentages are set.

People love to play slot machines and the popularity of slots continues to grow. Casinos are very grateful for this because slots are their biggest sources of revenue. The average house advantage on a slot machine is about 10% which is very high in comparison to a game like blackjack where basic strategy can be used to bring the casino’s advantage below 1%. If slot machines are your favorite games to play at the casino just know that you are at a heavy disadvantage and will probably lose.

Tonya Hollows

A wannabe professional poker and blackjack player. Incredibly positive and an overall rock n' roll kind of girl. She moved from Canada a few years ago to find new horizons, more related to her gambling skills. Ended up working as a casino hostess in Vegas and then became a full time writer for Palace of Chance.

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