Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Slot Machines - Know Before You Go

Today is the day the new casino in town is opening their doors. You have been saving those quarters because you heard from the local gambling expert that the casino is going to loosen up their slot machines because on opening day they want everyone to win. It's good for business you know.

This is only one of the many myths about casinos and slot machines. This article is intended to shed some light on the top three most popular myths regarding slot machines.

Myth #1. Slot machines are loosened up during grand openings.

Fact. Slot machines are programmed to hold a certain percentage of the money put into them. If you go into any casino in the world they should be able to provide you with the hold percentages for each denomination of machine they offer for play. You will find that the higher the denomination of the machine the less percentage is held. For example, a dollar slot machine may hold 8% of the money put into it, whereas a quarter or nickel machine will hold 9-10%. If a casino gives you an average hold ask for specific percentages for each denomination of machines, you will be surprised at the differences.

When you see all those jackpots on opening day, take a look around, all the machines are in use. The more the machines are being spun the more jackpots are generated. It has nothing to do with "loosening" the machines up.

Myth #2. Casinos have the ability to manipulate a slot machine at will.

Fact. The gaming business is a very highly regulated industry. There is no legitimate casino that does not have some sort of regulatory body governing and maintaining the integrity of the operations. Probably the most well known regulatory body is the Nevada Gaming Commission. These commissions are there to ensure that casinos operate their business in compliance with the rules and regulations established for the industry. Casinos that attempt to operate business outside these established practices are dealt with quickly and severely, usually with a hefty fine and in rare cases gaming licenses have been revoked.

Myth #3. If a slot machine has been pumped with a lot of money without a jackpot it is going to hit big very soon.

Fact. There is no guarantee when a machine is going to hit. As mentioned before, slot machines are programmed through a computer system to hold a specific percentage of the money put into it over a specific spin cycle.

Let's say for argument sake that a slot machine is programmed to hold 9.14% over a ten million spin cycle. The actual percentage from the very first spin up to the ten millionth spin can vary slightly or drastically depending on the machine. The only certainty is that when this particular machine reaches its ten millionth spin, it will have a hold percentage of exactly 9.14%. Then the cycle will start over again.

Just because someone has put a lot of money into a machine and the machine has not hit a jackpot, it does not mean it is going to hit soon without doubt. Maybe this particular machine paid out the top prize jackpot twice last week and is now holding a larger percentage of the money to adjust the hold closer to the percentage the machine was programmed for.

The same can be said for machines that have been holding a larger percentage than it was programmed for. These machines may jackpot multiple times in a single day in order to get the percentages back in place.

Just about every gambler has a theory about how slot machines work. Take the time to get the information you need from the right sources, those who work in the industry or from the regulatory commissions governing gaming in your area.

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