5 Slot Machine Secrets Casinos Don't Want You to Know
Gambling experts offer insights into one of the most popular casino activities.
Most of us get sucked into gambling through the fantasy of winning big—and that's certainly a possibility. But games like poker and blackjack take a while to learn and far longer to master, making games of chance a little more appealing for beginners. Slots are certainly more approachable and easier to play, which has helped turn them into one of the most attractive choices for newbies visiting a casino. If you find yourself camped out at the slots, however, you'll want to know everything there is to know—including the slot machine secrets that casinos would rather not disclose. To help you out, we consulted gambling experts to get insight on what you otherwise might be missing. Read on to learn the truth about slot machines before your next trip to Vegas.
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There's no real way to know if you're going to win.
Many people play slots under the assumption that machines are either "hot" or "cold." According to Know Your Slots, a hot slot is considered one that has been actively paying out winnings recently while a cold slot is seen as a machine that hasn't paid out recently. It's a common belief that playing "hot" machines will give you a better chance of winning big. But according to Mark Good, a former CEO of an online gambling business and founder of the new startup Bingo Sites Guru, this is all a myth.
"Digital slot machines are programmed to have a certain percentage of payouts. And digital slot games use a Random Number Generator (RNG) to determine the outcome of each spin," Good tells Best Life. "So the outcome of each spin is completely random, there are no 'hot or cold' slots, and there is no guaranteed way to consistently win. This means that the casino will always make money in the long run, regardless of how many people win on the machines."
Slot machines are placed very deliberately in casinos.
The spin outcomes might be random, but not everything is. Kevin Wang, a gambling expert, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Inyouths LED Mirrors, says that "no slots are placed at random" inside casinos. "While casinos would like you to believe that everything on the floor is arranged randomly for accessibility and aesthetics, this is undoubtedly not the case," he explains. "The casino gaming department inspects, measures, and records every square foot of the casino."
According to Wang, this department observes traffic patterns to choose which slots to put in certain locations within the casino "and value is assigned to specific casino regions," he notes.
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Certain deals end up requiring you to spend more in the long run.
This is not the only way casinos are making money from you, of course. Good says that many of the "deals" pushed by casinos are also designed to get customers to spend more in the long run. "They often use special promotions and bonuses to encourage people to play at their slot machines," he explains. "These offers can be tempting, but it's important to remember that the casino is still trying to make a profit."
According to the gambling expert, casinos claim to reward players with bonuses or free spins just to encourage them to play at the slot machines longer. "These bonuses, however, often have wagering requirements that must be met before any winnings can be withdrawn," Good says. "This means that players will need to bet a certain amount of money before they can access their winnings."
You're statistically more likely to lose than not.
Everyone likes to believe that they're going to be the one who ends up making a fortune when playing slots. It happens, sure, but unfortunately, hitting the jackpot in real life is even rarer than you think.
Leo Coleman, a gambling expert and editor-in-chief of Gambling 'N Go, tells Best Life that while it's possible for people to win a lot of money, it's nowhere near the likeliest outcome if you look at the statistics. "The average payout for slot machines is 97.2 percent," Coleman explains. That means that for every $100 you put in, you're most likely to get about $97 back.
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You can get kicked out of a casino if you try to capitalize on someone else's winnings.
Casinos are always trying to get people to stay longer and play more—but that doesn't mean people don't get asked to leave. "They can kick you out, any time they want, for any reason," Peter Hand, a former slot machine designer and current collector, explained in a Quora thread.
Many patrons don't realize that they can get kicked out for trying to capitalize on another person's winnings—even if that person has abandoned their balance on a slot machine. Michael Page, who works at San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino, said in a different Quora thread that this is commonly referred to as "ticket surfing."
"Collecting money that isn't yours, even if it's a small amount, can otherwise be viewed as theft by the casino," Page explained. "Will a casino pursue you if you cashed out 5 dollars someone left behind? Probably not. But if you're walking around looking for uncollected balances on machines, you'll probably be approached by security and shown the door."