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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Do slots pay back less today?

18 May 2011

I don't think I'm wrong, but it seems as if for the past six years the machines have been paying out a lot less than they used to. I noticed it when playing the Wheel of Fortune machine in particular. Used to be when you got the spin, at least you could wish for something more than 25 or 30. I know you're going to say no, but I think they were paying out too much, and they just decided to dial them back.

Too bad, at least you had a chance.

You might be surprised. I think you're right, in general, though maybe not for Wheel of Fortune in particular.

I think you're right in general because, judging by video poker offerings, I'm seeing fewer and fewer high-paying video poker machines in many casinos. Another reason you're right in general is because the center of gravity for slot wagers has shifted down towards the penny and nickel machines. Much more money is wagered on these low-denomination machines today than 10+ years ago. Even if today's penny and nickel machines have the same long-term paybacks as their ancestors, shifting play from higher-paying machines to lower-paying machines will decrease the overall actual payback on the slot floor.

Looking at Wheel of Fortune in particular, while it's possible that the odds have been changed, it's unusual to make changes to wide-area-progressive machines in the field.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

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