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Slot Vocabulary: ‘Loose’ and ‘Tight’ Slots

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Written by Joshua

On this site I talk about slot machine payback and payback reporting quite a bit. Often times the more friendly terms of “loose” or “tight” slots are talked about in a similar context.

If you’re not familiar with the terms, it’s pretty simple:

  • “Loose slots” is a term used to describe slots that are generous payers, relative to the location they’re in. A loose slot will pay higher than the average payback percentage, sometimes by a considerable margin.
  • Conversely, “tight slots” are ones that aren’t as generous, also relative to the location they’re in. A tight slot will pay lower than the average payback percentage, sometimes by a considerable margin.

There’s no scientific or mathematical measurement for a loose slot, so there’s a variety of ways casinos will claim loose slots, and of course that means a number of ways to find looser slots.

A casino could be looser for their market, but not looser relative to other markets. A bank of slots within a casino could be looser relative to other machines nearby. This is where the marketing language and so on becomes key.

If you look at overall payback reporting, Reno has looser slots than Las Vegas. But the bank of 98 percent machines at Park MGM I’ve mentioned before would be looser, on average, than the casino paybacks in Reno.

Meanwhile, when you hear a player say a slot or casino is “loose” or “tight,” that’s what they’re referring – the overall payout, in their perception. But it doesn’t mean it’s based on anything scientific or factual either – the loosest slots can have droughts and feel tight to a player. And the tightest slot can award a jackpot to a player and they’ll think it’s the loosest game of their life.

As such, we can lean on reporting and other knowledge out there to understand where loose slots can be found on a casino or market level. And we can lean on certain casino marketing as well. But there’s no strict definition of a “loose” or “tight” slot so understanding the relativity of it will also go a long way to helping you know where to find them, and what it means.

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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