Slot machines are the most popular casino game in the world, for brick and mortar, land based casinos, as well as for the increasingly popular internet casino. No other segment of the gaming industry has benefited more from the technology revolution that the slot machine. At one time, casinos placed slot machines on the floor to keep the spouses of table players busy. Most have probably played the more traditional coin operated slot machines, but the online slot machine has become increasingly popular and generates about 70% of an online casino’s revenue.
A privately owned company called Microgaming was the first to manufacture “genuine” casino software; however, with the increased popularity of internet casinos and games, there are now over 150 companies that also provide different software and solutions. Of course, no two slot games are exactly the same. Even though they all have a slot for the coins, flashing lights and a handle, they are far from alike. Experts also tell us to be wary of those mail order systems that guarantee slot wins. Of course, if you are looking for a game that you do have a better chance of winning by using a “system,” then check out video poker that seems to work, at least part of the time, both in the traditional and virtual casinos.
It seems hard to believe that around 20 years ago the slot machine accounted for about 30% of a casino’s revenue and now, especially with the increase in popularity for the online slot machine, they are responsible for approximately 70% of the profit. The jackpots that are offered are becoming increasingly higher; close to life-altering amounts. Of course, as with any type of technology, there are misconceptions and myths that abound about online slots.
If someone hits a jackpot on a machine that you just left, then would you have gotten it if you had stayed? No, because they have a computer chip that runs the random number generator (RNG), which continuously cycles through numbers even when the slot games are not being played. In other words, in the amount of time it takes to get a sip of your drink, the RNG has already cycled through thousands of combinations, so it is doubtful that you would have stopped the machine at the exact nano-second that the winning player just did.
Some believe that you can predict the odds of winning when playing online slot machines by counting the symbols on each wheel. That is also false because the RNG generates a number for each spin and the number corresponds to the symbols on the reel. There may be literally hundreds of virtual stops on each wheel, even though you may only see a few symbols.
For example, if you see 20 symbols on each wheel of a three reel machine, then you figure 20 times 3 equals 8,000 combinations, so your chances of hitting the jackpot is one in 8,000. In reality, the casino software may program 256 stops for each wheel, which changes the odds to 256 times 3, equaling 16,777,216 combinations. Being able to generate millions of different combinations is one reason why slots can offer large payouts.
Many people are under the impression that a casino can change the payout percentages as easily as flipping a switch. However, an online slot machine has a chip that the manufacturer makes and they set the payout percentages. In order for it to be changed, it has to be approved by the casino commission, which can be time consuming and expensive.