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Slots: Sights, Sounds & Questions with Gayle Mitchell

  • Published date20 July 2020

Over the years, I have answered many questions from slot players, some of which you will find here. While most questions pertain to land-based casinos, I have addressed some answers to online casino slots also.

1. What does coin in and coin out mean in the slot machines? A. This information is for casino monitoring and accounting of individual slot machines. Coins in is amount played through machine. Coins out are paid wins. With TITO, (ticket in, ticket out), the casinos can calculate quickly the total hold, however, the sound of ‘raining coins’ into a hopper is missed by some players. 1A) For online casinos, this calculation is called RTP (return to player) where total returns to players are divided by total amount bet. All reputable online casinos are independently audited and report RTP by percentage. Thus, the higher percentage revealed at casino sites is a better play.

2. Why would a slot machine be hot one evening paying out $1500 over an hour, netting $800, one night and then the next morning be cold, cold, cold only hitting one $60 with $300 put in? I don't understand how this happens with a RNG (random number generator). A. It's called the highs and lows of the average slot payout percentage. The programmed % payout (e.g. 95%) averages out over a period of time, usually monthly. One day or one month can be low payout time and the next month, yippee! Bottom line is that the programmed % at the end of the accounting period for casino management purposes will be maintained at 95% average, as in this example.

3. What is the best time to play and best way to choose a casino? A. This is a frequent question and I will deal with the best time first. There is a theory that at land-based casinos, the best time is early evening when people get off work or when a busload of players arrive for a casino day-trip. The thinking is that the more players, the looser the slots. This theory continues in that weekends are therefore, more profitable than week days. I do not agree in that the theory assumes that the casino can turn payouts on and off depending on time of day or day of the week. I refer you to Question 2 above in that casino management strives to maintain an overall payout % for each slot over a period of time regardless of day/time of day. Personally, I prefer the wee hours of the night or early morning for 2 reasons: it’s quiet and usually, the machines I like to play are available.

3B) Choosing a casino. When there are a multitude of choices in places like Vegas, Mississippi or Atlantic City, this is where you should factor in sights, sounds and thus answer this question. Strolling through the casino, do you hear ringing bells, players clapping, a surprised shriek, a broad smile on the face of a player or a crowd gathering around an area? I don’t mean the sounds of slots spinning, but rather the sounds of winners! Are lights above the machines flashing? Is there a line-up at the cashiers’ cages? Is a carousel full or nearly full around a certain type of slot? Benefits of players cards should be explored. Online Casino Choices: Does the casino audit and report the RTP? Can you play for free first? Bonuses, comps program? Speed of payouts and deposit methods? Recommendations from other players?

4. How do casinos share in the payout for Megabucks winners? A. Megabuck winners are paid by the slot maker; in this case - IGT. The casinos receive a share of the revenue passing through the machines, but the larger revenue share goes to IGT who in turn pays out all winning jackpots. This Q&A applies to both casinos online and off.

5. Are we allowed to track our own wins and losses in a diary while we're sitting and playing on slot machines? Do they mind people making notes about their machines? A. Certainly not. This is not illegal. As a matter of fact, it's a good idea to keep a record not just wins and losses, but this record will assist to determine any bankroll changes required. It reminds me that while playing video poker, there was a player next to me who would take a snap using his cellphone of any winning hand over 4-of-a-kind and he was never told to stop.

Lastly, 'Not only do you have good luck with a gaming education, but you are creating luck.'

Quick Facts: Short Win: A big hit jackpot payday after a small cash outlay. It’s a common thread among surprised winners. Onesies: Slot players who play one coin/spin on basics or progressives. While this maybe acceptable playing multi-lines with 4 level jackpots, it is a better play to drop down to penny or nickel slots and play maximum coin.