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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask The Slot Expert

10 September 1999

I was recently in Tunica staying at Sam's Town. They had a bank of slot machines around a new Mustang and the slot machines were set up so the top prize was winning the new car. That got me thinking, if I understand the RNG properly, the first person to play has as good a chance to win the car as the 10,000 person. I wonder if this has ever happened, where a casino loses the top prize in the first few days of play?

That would be quite expensive to the casino since all of the slots had special "mustang " reels and they would have to be programmed for this promotion. The solution from the casino point of view would be to "turn off" the top prize for the first month or two, but this seems like it would be illegal.

Just wondering if you have heard of a casino getting burned on a promotion like this?

You're right about the RNG. Everyone has the same chance to win the car as everyone else on every spin.

Every gaming jurisdiction requires that every combination listed on the paytable be possible on every spin. It would be illegal for a casino to operate a new car bank in which it was impossible to win the new car.

I have never seen a new car slot bank in which there was only one car available. The casino would have to shut down the bank as soon as someone won the car.

Instead, the casino runs the new car promotion for a long period of time. Sure, they'll give away a number of cars--maybe even one on the first spin played after they open the bank of machines. But the casino has taken the value of the car into account in the overall payback of the machines in the bank. If the machines are programmed to pay back 92%, they will pay back around 92% in the long run, which is a million or so spins.

The casino can't get burned on the new car promotion. The casino may show a loss on the bank at times, especially if there are a number of lucky players early on, but over time the bank is almost guaranteed to be profitable. And that's one thing the casino has plenty of--time.


For more information about slots:

Break the One-Armed Bandits! by Frank Scoblete
Slot Conquest by Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker! by Frank Scoblete
The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison at slotexpert@home.com.
John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots