Although we are all aware of the fact that slots come in many different shapes, we’re not always sure how to distinguish them. Slot machines are usually divided into two groups, Class 2 and Class 3 machines, but how can we be sure to know the difference between them?
It’s easy - just take a look at the corners of the machine’s display and if you see a little bingo card, you can be certain you are looking at a Class 2 slot machine. Besides this obvious physical dissimilarity, there are many more differences that you need to pay attention to, so be sure to read our blog and find out more!
Class 2 Slot Machines: What Are They and Where to Find Them
Also known as bingo-based slots or bingo slot machines, Class 2 machines are created to replicate Class 3 slot machines in accordance with the regulatory guidelines. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) is issued by the Federal Government and clearly defines all machines, including class 1, class 2 and class 3 games. According to this Act, Class 2 machine is described as “the game commonly known as bingo", no matter if they are played on a computer or any other devices used, usually placed in the same room with bingo (or any other games similar to it).
As technology is getting more and more sophisticated, and software developers always tend to upgrade games to enhance players’ gaming experience, class 2 machines have evolved to become more casino-like. While they are very similar to Class 3 machines, you’ll easily spot a difference by looking at a Class 2 machine’s display which is designed more like a bingo table. That’s actually the main indicator you’re looking at a bingo kind game, different from a typical (Class 3) slot machine.
Once you are at a Native American casino, and you see a slot machine with a bingo card somewhere on the screen, it means you are looking at a Class 2 machine, and not a true, Class 3, slot machine.
However, the biggest difference between them is how each type of a game operates. When it comes to Class 2 machines, the game starts when the player hits the “Play” button, which is when a common draw is shown on the screen. Instead of betting against the house, you’re actually competing to win a share of the money other players are betting. In order for a draw to run, the game needs at least 2 players. And in case there's only two of you, one will win the game.
So, let’s think of it as if a video slot was brought into the picture. Once you pull the machine handle, the reels start spinning. From the moment you pulled the machine handle to the second before they stopped spinning, you sort of became one of the contributors in a multiplayer bingo game. It’s just that the outcome of the bingo game is shown on the reels, once they stop. Whether you’re lucky or not, the reels are just here to deliver the news whether you won, or you lost.
Most of Class 2 machines can be found in Indian casinos or slot parlours attached to horse racing tracks.
Class 3 Slot Machines: What Are They and Where to Find Them
Class 3 is more like a traditional Vegas or casino-style gambling sorta thing. Class 3 machines are also defined as “all category machines” as long as they don’t fall under the Class 1 or Class 2 games.
During the time that Class 2 slot machines were created, some class 3 casinos were also incorporated as the gaming options, but they faced some legal restrictions followed by a lot of issues. Still, all this time slot manufacturers have been working very hard to replicate Class 3 machine experience in Class 2 jurisdictions.
To ensure that the randomness and reliability of each machine is completely unbiased and fair, Class 3 machines go through rigorous testing.
On the other hand, Class 3 machines needed to go through and are constantly going through rigorous testing by the third parties and licensed organizations. This procedure has to be done in order to ensure that the randomness and reliability of each machine is completely unbiased and fair. Class 3 machines are more traditional kinds of games like slot machines, roulette, blackjack and craps.
Not to mention, Class 3 slot machines can make you a big winner which is not what we can say about Class 2 machines.
The rules are quite simple here - you are playing against the casino. The slot machines are set up in a way, holding a certain part of the money played while distributing the rest to the players. When you play slot machines, it is all about timing and it’s all about luck. Some tips and tricks on how to win at slots may come in handy, but in the end, it’s all about luck.
For further info, listen to our in-depth guide on how online slots work in the third episode of AskGamblers podcast.
Wait, What About Class 1?
For legal purposes, the IGRA designed 3 different class machines to be used for gambling. We have already explained Class 2 and class 3 machines, how they work and where you can find them, so let’s see what class 1 machines are all about!
Class 1 machines can be described as a simple and traditional social game where you can win small prizes. These are not controlled by the IGRA and you won’t be able to find any of them at casinos.
As stated in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, Class 1 Gaming means "social gaming solely for prizes of minimal value or traditional forms of Indian gaming engaged in by individuals as part of it, or in connection with tribal ceremonies or celebrations.”
Difference Between Class 2 and Class 3 Slot Machines
There are different types of slot machines. Class 2 slot machines are games of chance that are based on bingo but are also similar to lotteries. These kinds of games are most appealing to tribal casinos in Native American reservations, as they don’t need tribes to enter state agreements, plus tribes are not required to pay taxes on revenues generated from Class 2 machines.
Class 3 games, on the other hand, are under a “catch-all category” which stands for games that don’t fall under Class 2 or 3 class machines. Class 3 include traditional casino games like old-school slot machines, roulette, craps, etc.
As we said earlier, when you see a slot machine at a Native American casino with a bingo card somewhere on the screen, it means you are looking at a Class 2 machine, not a Class 3 slot machine. Likewise, Class 2 machines have an additional small window that displays the bingo patterns.
Whereas Class 3 machines work in an independent way, Class 2 machines are really just a sophisticated display for the bingo games that run in the background. Once you hit that “Spin” button, you enter a game of bingo.
Although everything that goes on in the background varies between Class 2 and 3 machines, your experience will be more or less the same. Both types of machines have a certain payout related to them. The truth is the outcome of the game is pretty much the same as in any slot machine, but you have a chance of winning more money playing Class 3 machines.
Electronic Bingo Machine: How Do Bingo Slot Machines Work
Electronic bingo games are quite similar to Class 2 slot machines. All machines are connected to a server, where all the money collected from them goes into a single pool. Then, a portion of it gets returned to a lucky winner who is a just random player. So, whatever amount of money you win, someone else loses it. Although it looks like a slot machine, it’s an instant win lottery card.
How to Read the Bingo Patterns on Slot Machines?
Apparently, players don’t enjoy looking at bingo patterns the way they love to look at 5 reels spinning and stopping, once a certain combination of symbols lands. That’s why VGT’s designers decided to display a bingo game on a smaller screen. But the question is how do we read them?
Bingo patterns roll out right before the reels start spinning. And while each slot may vary in its design, Class 2 games usually feature the same bingo elements - several players who try to match certain patterns on their cards compared to numbers centrally called.
The bingo patterns shown on the screen are sort of a cover up of your bets, which will be paid out to you if you win, in accordance to the amount of your bet. You can watch these numbers being generated on a small bingo screen, while the full-screen display is there for spinning the reels or video icons.
How to Win on Bingo Slot Machines?
Just like online bingo, players sit in front of their screens and are linked to the same game. They compete against each other until some lucky player forms a winning combination of symbols or numbers.
If it lands on the highlighted areas, and you happen to have the right number (which are the yellow numbers below), the machine will pay you that amount. It’s as simple as that. All you gotta do is follow the numbers and leave the rest to your lucky stars.
Once the winner announces he or she has matched winning symbols, the operators will verify their claims.
What is a VLT Machine?
VLT Machine, or a Video Lottery Terminal, is a type of electronic gambling machine. Some of you may know it as a video gaming terminal, video slots, or the video lottery, but it all boils down to the same thing. Such machines are usually located in casinos owned by Native Americans, as well as at licensed establishments like certain bars or restaurants where you can play games like lotto, bingo and scratch cards.
VLT vs Slot Machine
Just by looking at them, there is no big difference between VLT machine and a slot machine, as they look pretty much the same. When you play both machines you need to pull a handle or press a button to enable reels to spin.
What’s also similar in these two types of games are symbols, visuals, and audio effects, leaving many of us wonder whether these games are somehow correlated. However, VLTs and slots have some differences.
For a start, VLTs involve playing against other players until someone wins the main prize, while spinning the reels of slot machines means you are playing against the house.
Then, VLTs mainly offer games with low return-to-player rates, with an average payout rate of 88%. Modern slot machines, on the other hand, offer payout rates above 95%, some rare examples even go up to 99%.
VLTs can be found in the US, in Indian casinos, and almost never operate online, while slot machines are pretty much universal – you can find them both online and in brick and mortar casinos.