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Do casinos manipulate slot machines?21 November 2005
I don't put much stock in loose machine placement theories today. Most slot directors order roughly the same payback percentage for all of their machines of a particular denomination. I don't think you have anything to lose by playing machines in highly visible locations, but I also don't think you have much to gain.
Keep in mind that the Play One Coin Strategy works best on multipliers. It shouldn't be used on buy-a-pays.
I don't know when or where you stayed in Las Vegas, but I guess it was one of the high-end resorts. You have to expect high minimums all the time at high-end resorts and everywhere else too when a lot of visitors are in town.
Even though your expected loss may be less at the $25 table than at the quarter slot, you have to have the bankroll to see you through dry spells. A bad run of luck and your bankroll is gone and you're out of the game. Next time you go to Las Vegas, try Treasure Island or the off-Strip casinos for lower minimums.
I'm not sure what you mean when you refer to 60 to 70% profits. No machine has that high a house edge. It is true, however, that the slots can provide 60 to 70% of total casino profits.
As for manipulation, it's illegal. It's perfectly natural though, as you point out, to try to find a reason for why we have bad luck. Pure chance just doesn't cut it.
Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
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 send a reply to every question. Also be advised that it may take several months for your question to appear in my column.
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