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Ask the Slot Expert: Betting More Coins Increases Chance of Hitting Progressive

31 July 2013

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

I have heard Oklahoma casinos have no gaming regulations because they are all Indian casinos. Does that mean they can change the payout with the click of a mouse or if a machine seems to pay too much? Can they do whatever they want? Can they have on and off peak hours? The slots seem so tight lately. They are building a new hotel and resort. Many more of my spins are just plain zero now than in all the time I've been coming here, over a year.

It’s not true that there are no gaming regulations covering the Indian casinos in Oklahoma. All Indian casinos are covered by regulations specified in the Indian Gaming Regulation Act. The casinos can’t do whatever they want.

I get many letters like yours. A casino has some renovation project and players think the machines have been tightened to help pay for the project.

The machines in your casinos are most likely Class II machines, which means that they do not determine the results of their spins independently. Class II machines depend on a central system to determine their results. Class III machines determine their results independently.

It can be much easier to change the long-term payback on Class II machines. We can’t rule out a payback change at the casino. What is usually at work in these situation, however, is selective memory. Players think machines may have been tightened because of the project, so every losing spin is a confirmation of the theory. Your hit frequency may be exactly the same as before the renovations, but it seems like you hit less frequently now.

There’s one additional possibility we have to consider. You might just be having an extended run of bad luck.

Jackpots for all,

Regarding your column on 7/17/13 about random jackpots and number of coins played, I am not sure your answer to Doug on this subject was completely accurate. There are many machines that state on their screens that playing more coins increases your chance at a progressive.

I think what you're describing is different from Doug's question. Doug thought the he got more hits when he played max coin and wondered whether each coin played received a separate poll of the RNG. They don't. The number of coins played does not affect polling the RNG.

Your statement is about hitting a specific combination. I can think of one way playing more coins increases your chances of hitting the progressive. Say you become eligible for the progressive by betting full coin on one line on a multi-line machine. If you bet full coin on more than one line, you can increase your chances of hitting the progressive.

Progressive jackpots for all,

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