Smarter Gambling

Can You Trust Casino Marketing Talking About Looser Slots?

New York-New York in Las Vegas
Written by Joshua

One of the ways casinos attempt to entice slot players into their establishments is via marketing that talks about the looseness of its slots. In other cases they use signage to encourage playing of certain machines.

Not all marketing is created equal, however, so let’s take a look at a few examples of language you might see, what it means, and whether that does anything for you as a player.

“Voted Loosest Slots”

Voted loosest slots example

In some markets with multiple providers, publications that offer readers polls will incorporate the casinos. One aspect of voting they may include is a category for Loosest Slots.

When a casino wins this, it’s simply the opinion of the readers who voted. While players can potentially perceive if slots at one casino are looser than another, there’s nothing scientific about it, and no data verified for such a designation.

This is just an opinion poll, so you aren’t necessarily going to have a better experience at one casino vs. another.

“Certified Loosest Slots!”

In many markets, casino reporting data is available. In markets where that data is available, casinos can validate through the public data they are the loosest slots in a market.

Other casinos whose data isn’t available, but can prove to a third party that their slots are looser than the competition, may use that validation to say they are loose.

And then there are publications like Strictly Slots magazine, that have criteria for who they designate as having Loose Slots, and that criteria is available for players to review.

This is a bit more helpful than the survey method, because there’s some data around it. But most of the time it’s based on casino-wide data or denomination-wide data, and so it doesn’t mean a particular machine is looser than another, for instance.

“Our Slots Pay Up to X%”

Some casinos will market that they have slot payouts up to X%, usually 98% or even 99%. But if they don’t tell you which slots they are, it’s not all that helpful when there’s potentially thousands of machines inside the casino. An example of this marketing is seen in the tweet from MGM Springfield above.

You can take a reasonable guess that the machines in question are high limit ($1 or more generally) and are limited to some handful of machines, based on how this usually works. However, there are exceptions and it can vary from casino to casino.

Can you find the magical slots? How many are there? Most vague marketing scenarios won’t tell you.

“This Bank/Machine Pays (Up To) X%”

At Park MGM in December, I found a bank near the front of the casino that promised 98% payback levels. In a more recent example, I found a game specifically marked 97% payback at Bally’s in New Jersey. When marked on a specific machine or bank, you have much more information to work with, and regulations that ensure that what’s promised on the machine is executed inside the machine. So if you see a sign that says “98% payback” on a specific machine, you can expect what’s inside to match.

In most cases it will be a bank or small set of banks. Many times it will be older mechanical or video reel slots. But if you find a machine marked that guarantees a higher payout, you can at least feel confident that’s what’s happening.

And with this sort of arrangement, you can choose to be a smarter gambler and play on machines with higher payouts than the norm. It’s doubly beneficial if comps aren’t impacted, but cash is king and having better overall payback is certainly great.

Watch the wording, however. If a sign over a bank says, say, “Up to 98%,” you have the same problem as the previous section – it could be just one machine inside that bank that’s set to the 98% setting. But if the words “up to” aren’t present, then you can expect the whole bank to be set that way.

Just remember payback is about long term performance, and on any individual slot session you could win a lot, or lose a lot, so the volatility of a game will have an impact on that session too.

About the author


My name is Joshua, and I’m a slot enthusiast 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, travel, casino promotions and how you can get the most out of your casino visits.

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