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Are Slot Machines Rigged? Slots Odds, House Edge and Hit Frequency Explained

If you've ever contemplated spinning the reels of a slot or have, in fact, spun one (or a few!), you've probably asked yourself a few questions every serious player in the iGaming industry has - can slot machines be rigged to trick the player, what are the odds of winning slots, are slot machines honest, and do casinos manipulate slot machines at the player’s expense. 

In the light of your interest to know where things stand, the article before you is clearing things up once and for all. So, sit comfortably, read the below and get the facts on slots odds, house edge, hit frequency, slots fairness and more.

Can Casinos Control Slot Machines and Payouts? 

A question as old as modern-day gambling itself is do casinos manipulate slot machines and can casinos control slot machine payouts. 

Casino operators cannot control slot machines and their payouts unless the specifics they (try to) implement are in absolute compliance with gaming regulations of the jurisdictions wherein they are located or are operating in. For the most part, these gaming jurisdictions include laws which place an upper and lower limit on the payout return for slot machines. Casino operators must comply with legal gaming requirements in order not to get in trouble with gaming control authorities or even lose their licence.

Slot machines are, at a high level, controlled by gaming laws and regulations by the placement of payout percentage legal requirements. Still, these state-specific gaming regulations don’t always set theoretical limits on payout returns. In the wake of such circumstance, casinos are relieved of the legal requirement for setting payout returns. However, they must be careful not to set their payout returns too low if they want to stay open. 

Casino operators cannot control slot machines and their payouts unless the specifics they (try to) implement are in absolute compliance with gaming regulations of the jurisdictions wherein they are located or are operating in.

Even so, the odds of winning on slot machines are controlled by the state control board exclusively eliminating the option for casinos to cheat the players of their money. The board works with the player's interest at heart, relying on careful casino system approval processes that prevent any ill doing. If any casino decides not to be fully compliant, they are in for a world of hurt when they're caught.

While the casino gaming industry is closely monitoring scam sites to prevent them from harming players, it's your responsibility as well to look left and right before choosing a casino to play at. To avoid the whole can casinos control slot machines drama in your life, click on any AskGamblers casino featured on our website and indulge in safe and double-checked gambling sessio­ns. ­ ­

Are Slot Machines Honest or Rigged? 

The slot machines featured on reputable online casino sites are not rigged. Slots' random number generators (RNG) ensure there is no "machine memory" of previous spins as they are programmed to function on individual spins. Additionally, every new spin is an isolated event, with only casino managers and slot designers knowing the exact settings for that RNG. However, it's understandable for you to think how slot machines are rigged. After all, every slot machine is designed/programmed to have a mathematical edge over the player, in such a way, giving their manufacturers a chance to make a healthy profit without cheating whatsoever. Still, that's all math; no scamming whatsoever. 

So, next time you ask yourself are slot machines rigged, do know they are not. In fact, in most countries that have well-regulated gambling laws, all games are audited for fairness, checking things like are slot machines random and whether they feature impossible jackpots to win. 

Think of it this way: if you toss a coin five times in a row and get tails all five times, there's no guarantee you'll get heads the sixth time. Each throw is a 50/50 chance as each one of them is an individual probabilistic event. The same applies to slots.

If you want to get more information on how slot machines work, stay with us to get a more comprehensive explanation of the topic.

Slot Machine Odds Explained 

Whether or not you are using slot machine odds calculator principle for your successful gameplay, knowing odds of winning on a slot machine for sure is not actually possible. Calculating potential ways to win is likely, but that’s where that supposition ends. Wins predominantly depend on how the virtual reel is set up, with each stop on the reel potentially corresponding to more than one stop on the virtual reel.

When it comes to typical weighted slot machines, the top jackpot stop for each reel corresponds to only one virtual stop. The top jackpot stop is one with the highest-paying jackpot image. What does this mean for you, a regular player? 

Wins predominantly depend on how the virtual reel is set up, with each stop on the reel potentially corresponding to more than one stop on the virtual reel.

Essentially, it means that your odds of hitting the jackpot image on one reel are 1 in 64. If it happens that all of the reels are set up the same way, your chance of hitting the jackpot is 1 in 643, or 262,144. It usually happens that machines with a bigger jackpot have many more stops on their virtual reels. In this case, your chances of winning a jackpot get considerably slimmer. 

But, that's not where the slot machine odds story ends. Every player should know that slot machines are programmed to achieve a certain payback percentage. What is a payback percentage, exactly? It is the percentage of the money that is eventually paid out to the player. The casino wins over time with any payback percentage under 100. 

The majority of gambling jurisdictions follows a payback percentage that's around 75 per cent. However, as the competition is strong and casinos don't want to get a bad rep for having machines tighter than their competitors', most of them have a silent agreement to set their payback percentages in the 90 to 97 per cent range which is much higher than the minimum.  

Slot Machines with the Best Odds of Winning 

What are slot machines with the best odds of winning? Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer on this one. However, praxis shows that the simpler the game is, the higher the chances of a win appear to be. Although video slots are always more fun to play (they do include colourful signs and an engaging storyline, after all), due to the number of lines they feature, they slow down every player's winning chance. 

On the other hand, there are gambling experts who suggest that playing random jackpot machines over machines with progressive payouts increases a player's odds of winning. As indicated by some, progressive online slots could possibly result in less frequent wins so they can drive up the jackpot number. Contrary, random jackpots feature lower payouts. 

Once again, the answer to what slot machines have the best odds for winning is - virtually any slot machine you choose. As every roll is random and independent, players can be sure they won't be tricked no matter which slot they choose.

Make sure to also check out our podcast episode dedicated to how online slots work; it contains tons of useful information about the principles and mechanics behind slot machine software.

House Advantage: What is House Edge?

Also known as the casino advantage, the house edge is something that applies to every slot machine, table game, lotto, or any other game in an online casino or a land-based one. House edge tells you the average amount each game pays out over its lifespan. It's important to note that, unlike with some other casino games, the case with slots is that skill, experience and expertise don't do much for online slot players. The reason why these normally highly valued qualities in a gambler don’t increase a slot player’s chances at winning is that, with slots, every player is equal and every game – random. 

As opposed to the house edge that gives out the amount each game pays out on average, an RTP signifies the overall percentage of all money a casino game pays out as winnings to players over a long period of time. The return to player (RTP) percentage is meant to be a long-term measure of the fairness of a game. You can always inspect the highest RTP slots if you want to have a head start.

House Advantage in Slots 

In the world of gambling, the majority of casino games hold a house advantage of somewhere between 0% to 5%. The only game with a higher house advantage is slots, coming in with a 10% house. In fact, typically, the house edge for slot machines always rounds at 5% or 10%, where most machines deliver a payback percentage in the 90% to 97% range. 

But, can casinos determine the best house advantage for their bottom line using a precise formula? Yes and no. Casino operators agree that the price isn't marked anywhere when it comes to real slots and that the law of demand takes full advantage here. How so? Well, they believe that regular players can intuitively sense the "price" of the games they are playing, i.e., whether they are higher or lower. When the casino has too large of house advantage, the player will take their business to another casino with no regrets. 

Theoretical Hold Percentage for Slot Machines 

A theoretical hold percentage is the term gambling operators use in referring to house advantage on slots and VLTs. Essentially, a theoretical hold percentage for slots is the theoretical percentage of what the casino should retain. Although every slot play is independent and random, the overall results will, over a long period of time, drift toward the expected or theoretical hold.

What is Slot Machine's Hit Frequency? 

A slot machine frequency refers to the odds of a particular slot game forming a winning combination as opposed to a losing one. Despite their overall unpredictability, some slot titles seem to hit more winning spins than others, and that is what the notion of hit frequency represents. 

Players should keep in mind that hit frequency incorporates two segments: a) forming of winning combinations, and b) including rewards that are less than the bet itself. How so? Say you put down $2 on a slot spin and the machine returns $1; you have, technically, formed a winning combination but you haven't won anything in terms of your balance, as you are actually $1 behind.

Does a Time When you Play Matters? 

There isn't a single gambler – veteran or newbie – that hasn't asked themselves at least once in their gambling career whether there's a specific time of day/month/year when slot machines have the best odds to win, and if there is a way to always win on slots. 

Sadly, no such specifics have ever been revealed to the public, and the only thing we can say to your dilemma when to play slots is – anytime you like, whether it be day or night, just make sure that gameplay doesn't disrupt your health and daily functioning.

Over to You

Spinning the reels of your favourite slot is always one of the best ways to make your day super exciting, so why waste time fixating on calculating odds and wondering do casinos tighten slots on weekends. Instead, choose your favourite slot(s), let your hair down, and enjoy every second of it!