A player asked recently on a forum if there’s a difference in payback between slots in the smoking section vs. the non-smoking section.
STATUS: No difference at all.
Like other considerations when it comes to placement of machines like on the aisle vs. the center of a row or near busier sections, some think casinos place higher paying games to try to show more energy or activity.
Most of these beliefs came from a book that came out some time ago where a floor director talked about it. But it was very anecdotal and only covered the thoughts of that floor director.
A lot more time and anecdotes later, and a casino is more likely to have an even-handed approach based on their goal for payback on a certain denomination or type of machine.
So if you see an identical machine in one area of the casino floor vs. another, you’re unlikely to have any payback differences from each other.
More likely to impact payback would be things like the age of the machine (much older machines, which had a tighter, and higher, range of payback options, may pay better), the denomination of the machine and how much money is going into things like progressives vs. the base game payouts will have more of an impact of what you can expect on a session.
Also, as mentioned before, payback is over hundreds of thousands of spins; a single session could be a massively winning or losing one, but that alone can’t tell you the game’s overall payback.
If you take a beating on one machine and win a handpay on another, that’s not indicative of the game’s overall payback as it’s just a small handful of spins relative to the game’s expected lifetime cycle.
So if you’re having a bad day, chalk it up to luck, not whether you’re in a smoking section or not.