The team at the American Casino Guide Book have been on a great roll with their YouTube content, and one of their latest videos is no exception.
This is effectively a sequel, of sorts, to a previous video Steve Bourie did with Mike Trask. He is VP of Marketing and Communications at Ainsworth, and someone I’ve spoken to over the years around the site, including a site visit to see new games at their headquarters during the height of the pandemic back in 2020, along with a visit to their G2E booth in 2021.
In a 40-minute video they manage to cover a lot of ground, including common questions their readers have had about slot machine, and areas we have covered here (although it’s always nice to have someone from a slot company on the record about these things!). Topics covered include:
- How a slot machine works, including the random number generator
- How casinos choose their payback percentages
- How multi-denomination payback percentages are chosen (and how Ainsworth specifically handles that setup)
- PAR sheets and what information they tell casinos
- When you play a machine with a specific payback, what that means for the player
- Are slots set to pay out at set intervals?
- Does a machine pay less after a big win?
- Is a machine that hasn’t hit in awhile “due” to hit?
- How can slot machines be both programmed and random?
- If you get up from a machine and someone sits down and wins big, if you had stayed, would you have won big?
- When you get to a bonus round, does it matter what you pick, or is a bonus predetermined?
- They mention this site (hi!) when it comes to picking bonuses that reveal the choices, but are predetermined.
- How Ainsworth handles picking bonuses
- How Ainsworth must hit by progressives work
- Do casinos loosen machines at some times and tighten on other times? And how does a machine’s payback get changed?
- Are machines on the end of a row set to pay more jackpots than those in the middle of the row?
- Server-based gaming, what it is, and its prevalence in 2022
- Do they follow you around the casino and flip a switch when you’re winning so you can’t win?
- Do casino put higher paying machines by the aisles or prominent locations?
- Casinos and their placement of popular games in popular locations
- Using the players card and whether it has an effect on payback
- Does volume increase the chances of a jackpot?
- Are wheel wedges weighted evenly?
- When you play a slot and hit a bonus round, and push round to start the bonus, is it a secondary RNG? Is the bonus round predetermined?
- And Mike’s best advice for slot players
As you can see it’s a very, very information-filled video with someone who’s been working in the industry for a long time. You can’t do much better than that in terms of official answers from an official source!
And of course, the American Casino Guide Book team is always working on new content, with lots of useful information for players, both on their website and on YouTube.
I don’t believe him when he says the must hit by progressive jackpots pick a random number between the starting and end point to trigger. I thought it was well known that these jackpots are biased toward the upper end, presumably to save the casino money in having to reseed the jackpot with their own money and instead have more of it funded by the players.
I think it’s fair to presume he can speak with knowledge to his own company. But for a third party correlation, the Wizard of Odds notes on his own write-up of Ainsworth Must Hit Bys that it’s believed that AGS does what you’re describing, but not Ainsworth. I trust someone like him, who gets deep into the mathematics of all this, to have a reasonable third-party opinion that concurs.
As far as the point of saving the casino money: If a machine is designed to pay back some percentage, that progressive is factored in. They don’t need them to hit less often to save the casino money, or build longer to “collect” money first. If they’re designed to pay more often, that money will just come from somewhere else in the game, like line hits or bonuses or whatnot, to balance it out, or the progressive increments will go up slower, etc. It all gets worked out in the design of the machine and the payback percentage the casino selects for it. The entire progressive is always covered by the players, because the machine is designed to make money for the casino, and the progressive is generally a small percentage of the game’s overall payout anyway.