Myths vs. Reality

Can Players Cards or Hosts Impact Your Slot Payback?

Players card inserted into a machine
Written by Joshua

We’ve written a lot lately about whether slot paybacks can be impacted by:

  • Casinos wanting to earn more than legally allowed
  • If you tier up in a players club
  • The time of day or day of the week, at a casino’s whim

We also wrote about why we basically always recommend using a player’s club card (short answer: using it gets you additional payback in the form of comps). Some players really worry about this stuff. This worry is unwarranted – the games are designed to be fair, and a lot of third parties evaluate this. In this day and age, if people are being cheated somehow, the consequences would be dire for all involved.

But one urban legend comes up a lot despite this, and we addressed it briefly in that previous post: That casinos will pay you a different amount when a player’s card is inserted vs. not.

Status: No. Definitely not. Seriously. We mean it.

Players card systems are separate from the software and hardware that govern the slot machine systems itself. Slot machines are designed purely around mathematical formulas and a random number generator. PAR sheets illustrate how the math works out so that casinos can review. Regulators require third party auditing and validation before a game is approved in a market. Casinos have to be licensed and have strict rules with govern their ability to operate.

Do you really think casinos are going to put themselves in jeopardy because you (yes, you!) decided to put your card into a particular machine?

Some think because hosts find them on the casino floor, that somehow means the slot games themselves are impacted. Players card tracking systems serve more than just counting your play:

  • They tell casinos how long you’ve been on a machine, how much you’ve bet and how much you’ve won or lost.
  • They tell casinos if they have a big player in the house, and allow a more hands-on approach if they think you’re important to get to know.
  • They allow hosts who have many players they work with to know when their clients are on the floor, so they can come over and say hi.

I once arrived late in the evening in Atlantic City, which was my first visit after becoming a Diamond player in their system. Less than 5 minutes after my arrival, a host came up and introduced themselves to say hello and check in on me. That’s the only time I’ve ever had it done to me, but many others have reported this happening to them. That’s just good customer service, and using the data at their disposal to make sure important players feel important.

Hosts and players card tracking systems have no control over the payback of the slot machine. Imagine casinos giving that level of control to hosts! Chaos would ensue. But players card tracking systems at a casino are designed to capture a lot of information so they can superserve their players. Slots are designed to be able to share information about what’s happening during a game – what’s your wager, how much have you bet in total, won or lost, etc.

This data helps for other reasons, such as generating that win/loss report – they need that info from the slots to do it, so it gets passed along to the card systems. Card systems are unable in any way to pass information back to the slot that impacts the game. Think about how many times a card reader has been inoperable on a game, or you forgot to put that card in – the game still plays as normal. Slots are designed to work with or without card systems at all – the card system has no impact on the game itself.

So while data does help the casino be savvier about how they cater to you, it won’t change if you get a bonus or not, or how much you’re paid.

About the author

Joshua

My name is Joshua, and I’m a 30-something who works in tech as a marketer by day, and dabbles in casinos periodically during off-times. Know Your Slots will reflect my interests in understanding the various ways you can play slots, games that give you a potential edge, casino promotions and systems and how you can get the most out of it.

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