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Do the Odds of the Same Slot Machine Game Vary from State to State?

New York-New York slot floor
Written by Joshua

In a slot forum, a conversation was going on about slot paybacks and how online slots payback sometimes differs from physical slot machines. Then someone asked a question about physical slots: Do the odds or payback of a slot game differ from one state to another?

STATUS: Not often, but it can happen.

As written here in the past, when designing a slot machine, manufacturers and designers build games to satisfy multiple markets – being able to develop a game that can sell in a variety of places is just good business sense.

That said, there is precedent for marginal differences between versions of a game. The original Buffalo game was tweaked because in some states there’s a requirement of having minimum odds of reaching the top prize, something that wasn’t satisfied in the way one version of the Buffalo game was designed. So they tweaked the reel sets to make sure the game satisfied that requirement.

That said, those scenarios are likely not very frequent, so it’s safe to assume if you’re playing a Class III (Vegas-style) slot machine in a Class III market, the vast majority of the time the only potential difference will be if a casino selected a different payback percentage over another.

However, don’t forget just because you see the same slot theme, it doesn’t mean it’s exactly the same game either. If you go to a market that has Class II (Bingo machine) games, even though the machine and game may look the same, it will probably function differently because the way outcomes are determined function differently. Same goes for other types of slot-like machines such as Video Gaming Machines and Video Lottery Terminals, or Historic Horse Racing Machines.

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.


  • las vegas inside the same city has different payback for same machine at different properties.

    • Thanks for your comment! Payback can absolutely differ between casinos, and based on the fact each casino can choose from among an array of payback settings for a game, makes sense. But odds is not the same as payback – you can have two games with different odds of winning have the exact same payback.

      In this case, I’m talking about same game, same theme, but the top prize odds differ because of state regulations, for example. And with the top prize odds differing, it can cascade into the overall payback percentages and they can therefore differ. If it’s easier to win the top prize, and the payback stays the same, it may make it a harder game overall, so they may recalibrate other parts of the game to balance it out, and that in turn changes the overall payback.

      It doesn’t happen frequently but sometimes to meet a state’s regulation, the game you’re playing is just a bit different. Hope that helps!

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