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Ask the Slot Expert: Can the Casino Control Who Hits Jackpots?27 February 2013
By John Robison, Slot Expert™
Each casino company has its own philosophy. As a general rule, though, location will have a great effect on the paybacks the casino orders.
Let's say a company has casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Tunica, and Illinois. Competition is toughest in Las Vegas, so the machines there will probably have the highest long-term paybacks. Tunica would probably be next in line because it has to entice people to travel there. Atlantic City has some competition, but isn't known for having good paybacks, so I think it would have the third highest paybacks. And Illinois -- or any jurisdiction with widely separated casinos -- would have the lowest paybacks because there is no competition next door.
A market leader will tend to lead in all markets, even though it might take 99% payback to lead in Las Vegas and 96% payback in Illinois.
Finally, you are correct that casinos rarely change long-term paybacks on machines once they're on the slot floor. Casinos usually just replace the machines with other machines with the desired long-term payback when the casino refreshes the slot floor.
Jackpots for all,
Rest assured that the casino cannot control the outcomes on slot machines. Being able to do so is illegal in the United States.
The perk that Sterling members get is priority handling when they need a handpay. If you and a Sterling member hit a jackpot that requires a handpay at the same time, the floorpeople will take care of the Sterling member first.
I don't know what you're definition of BIG is, but $1200 and $1500 are pretty big to me. Unless you're playing a dollar or higher machine, a $1000+ payout is going to be the top jackpot on a machine. Top jackpots don't hit frequently, so I'm not surprised you haven't hit many of them.
Don't give up hope. You never know when a machine is going to pay its jackpot. And the casino can't control it -- even if you're a Sterling member.
Jackpots for all,
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.