Are Slot Machines Fixed?

My Casino Lawyer
September 9, 2022
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There’s a lot of speculation out there about whether or not slot machines are fixed. After all, if they were random, how could casinos make any money off of them? The answer, it turns out, is both simple and complicated. Are slot machines fixed in the sense that their outcomes are predetermined? No. Are they fixed in the sense that the casino always has an edge? Yes. Let’s take a closer look at how this works.

How Casinos Make Money on Slots

Casinos make money on slots by offering gamblers the opportunity to bet more money than the odds of winning warrant. For example, let’s say a slot machine has a 90% payout rate. That means that for every $100 that goes into the machine, it will pay out $90 on average over time. However, the individual gambler only has a 50/50 chance of winning any given spin. So, for every $2 the gambler bets, he can expect to win $1 on average—but he’ll also lose $1 on average. Over time, then, the casino will make money because it’s paying out less than it’s taking in.

Interestingly enough, though, this doesn’t mean that casinos always make money on slots. In fact, there are whole websites devoted to tracking which Las Vegas casinos have loose or tight slots. This is because while the house always has an edge in the long run, in the short term anything can happen. A player who gets lucky can walk away with a huge payout even if he’s playing at a casino with mostly tight slots. And conversely, a casino can have mostly loose slots and still end up losing money if players get lucky and hit a streak of big wins. 

So, are slot machines fixed? In a sense, yes—the casino always has an edge. However, that doesn’t mean that players can’t win big occasionally. If you’re feeling lucky and you want to try your hand at hitting it big on the slots, go for it! Just remember to set yourself a budget and stick to it—that way, you can ensure that you’ll always walk away from the casino as a winner, no matter what happens during your session.

Author My Casino Lawyer