Myths vs. Reality

Does How Much You Gamble Have an Impact on Your Machine’s Payback?

Players card inserted into a machine
Written by Joshua

On a slot forum, I saw a player hypothesize that the casinos look at how much a given person plays, and the payback of the machine is adjusted accordingly. Would they do this?

STATUS: They don’t do this.

This links to other suggestions I’ve written about in the past, such as using your players card would somehow have an impact on a machine’s payouts. The players card records your wagers and can do things like load credits from free play, but they don’t have a reach into the machine when it comes to payback.

In fact, there have been instances where the players card system is misprogrammed and gives players credit for a different payback percentage for comp dollars and tier credits than the machine actually has. This can of course work both for or against a player, but it just shows how disconnected the systems can be.

Using a players card does not change the payback, so using a specific players card does not give a different payback than using another card, for instance.

This also links to another topic, that if you’re doing well a slot will pay you less, or vice versa. The machine is not calibrating pays based on previous activity – it doesn’t need to.

The preset combination of winning and losing spins from which the RNG is determining outcomes is already built to ensure the casino wins money over time – it doesn’t need to further sway things in any other direction to make oodles of money for the casino.

So to the player’s suggestion, your budget will not have an impact either. Where you would have an impact would be your offers, since it is of course true that a player who spends more or does more coin-in would qualify for a better offer than a lower budgeted player.

So in that sense, higher level players are rewarded through the players club more, and have the potential to make that money work longer, but they don’t get preferential treatment on the machine’s payback itself. The only way they can really improve their payback chances is to go to a higher denomination machine, as casinos traditionally improve the payback on higher denomination machines, because the expectation is players will be larger wagers and more coin-in over time vs. someone betting on a lower denomination machine. Of course, nowadays that is far from guaranteed when penny machines can have a $10 bet while quarter machines could cap out at 75 cents, but so it goes.

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.

2 Comments

  • I’d add a quick caveat here that increasing your bet size on a given denom can increase the RTP for *some* games. Of course, it’s impossible to tell for which games this is true. More often than not, the RTP is the same across the bet size and awards are distributed proportionally but some games give back a little more if you’re willing to bet more.

    • Hey Brendan! This is of course true, and so if you’re talking on a per bet basis this makes sense. But presuming game choice and bet size is equal, doing $500 through that machine or $1,500 won’t change your payback percentage under the hood. Using the information at your disposal to ensure you’re not shortchanging yourself is always great advice!

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