slot machine (American
English), poker machine (Australian English), or fruit machine (British
English) is a certain type of gambling machine. Classically, a slot
machine is a coin-operated machine with three or more reels that rotate
when a lever on the side of the machine is pulled, in online
slots you just need to click with you mouse. The machines include
a currency detector that validates the coin or money inserted to play.
(The slot machine is also known informally as a one-armed bandit
because of its appearance.) The machine typically pays off based on
patterns of symbols visible on the front of the machine when it stops.
Modern computer technology has resulted in many variations on the slot
machine concept. Today, slot machines have become one of the most
popular attractions in casinos.
slot machine was invented in
1895 by Charles Fey of San Francisco, California. The first machine,
known as Liberty Bell, had pictures of diamonds, hearts, spades, and
cracked Liberty Bells on three mechanical reels. Three bells in a row
produced the biggest payoff, ten nickels. Liberty Bell was a huge
success and spawned a thriving mechanical gaming device industry.
Another early machine gave out winning in the form of fruit flavored
chewing gums with pictures of the flavors as symbols on the reels. The
popular cherry and melon symbols derive from this machine. The "BAR"
symbol now common in slot machines was derived from an early logo of
the Bell-Fruit Gum Company. In 1964, Bally developed the first fully
electromechanical slot machine called Money Honey .
person playing a slot machine
purchases the right to play by inserting coins, cash, or in newer
machines, a bar-coded paper ticket (known as "ticket in/ticket out"
machines), into a designated slot on the machine. The machine is then
activated by means of a lever or button, or on newer machines, by
pressing a touchscreen on its face. The game itself may or may not
involve skill on the player's part -- or it may create the illusion of
involving skill without actually being anything else than a game of
object of the game is to win
money from the machine. The game usually involves matching symbols,
either on mechanical reels which spin and stop to reveal one or several
symbols, or on a video screen. The symbols are usually brightly colored
and easily recognizable, such as images of fruits, and simple shapes
such as bells, diamonds, or hearts .
games have a variety of
winning combinations of symbols, often posted on the face of the
machine. If a player matches a combination according to the rules of
the game, the slot machine pays the player cash or some other sort of
value, such as extra games .
are many different kinds of
gambling slot machines in places such as Las
Vegas. Some of the most
popular are the video poker machines, in which players hope to obtain a
set of symbols corresponding to a winning poker hand. There are
standard 5-card draw machines, all the way up to 100-play machines,
where you can play 100 hands at a time .
more popular now are the
9 line slots. Usually these are themed slots (Addams Family, I Dream of
Jeannie, etc.) with a bonus round. Most accept variable amounts of
credit to play with 1 to 5 credits per line being typical. The higher
the amount bet, the higher the payout will be .
course, there are the standard
3 - 5 reel slot machines, of various types. These are the typical
"one-armed bandits ".
of the main differences
between video slots and reel slots is in the way payouts are
calculated. With reel slots, the only way to win the maximum jackpot is
to play the maximum number of coins (usually 3, sometimes 4, or even 5
coins per spin). With video slots, the fixed payout values are
multiplied by the number of coins per line that are being bet. In other
words: on a reel slot, it is to the player's advantage to play with the
maximum number of coins available. On video slots, it is recommended to
play as many individual lines as possible, but there is no benefit to
the player in betting more than one credit per line with regards to
calculating the payout amounts. (There are some isolated cases where a
video slot machine requires the maximum number of credits per spin to
be inserted to win the largest payout, but those are the exception.) An
example: On the "Wheel of Fortune" reel slot, the player must play 3
coins per spin to be eligible to trigger the bonus round and possibly
win the jackpot. On the Wheel of Fortune video slot, the chances of
triggering the bonus round or winning the maximum jackpot are exactly
the same regardless of the number of coins bet on each line .
casinos offer slot
machines with denominations from $.01 (penny slots) all the way up to
$100.00 or more per credit. Large denomination slot machines are
usually cordoned off from the rest of the casino into a "High Limit"
area, often with a separate team of hosts to cater to the needs of the
high-rollers who play there .
the last few years has been
introduced the tokenization: 1 coin (token) buys more than one credit.
The benefit to tokenization is that a single slot machine can offer the
same game at whatever price level the player would like to play at. The
player selects what denomination level (penny, nickel, quarter, dollar)
they would like to play from a menu, and the machine will then
calculate how many credits they receive for their cash in and display
the amount of available credits to the player. This eliminates the need
for the player to find a specific denomination of a particular machine;
they can concentrate on simply finding the machine and setting the
denomination once they decide to play.
coin hopper is where the
coins are held in a slot machine. The hopper is a mechanical device
that rotates coins into the casino tray when a player wants his
credits/coins (press Cash Out button). Often hoppers are filled to
overflowing by players, so they don't only run empty they sometime are
refers to a payout made
by a slot machine, less than the amount indicated by the payout
schedule. Occurs when the coin hopper becomes depleted during a payout
and the remaining amount is paid to the player by a hand pay .
Pay is when the slot
attendant or cage gives the player a cash payout, rather than the
actual slot machine paying out from the coin hopper. A hand pay may be
automatically requested by the slot machine if the total credits on the
machine is greater than 800 coins .
hopper fill slip is a document
used to record the replenishments of the coin in the coin hopper which
are required as a result of payouts to players. The slip indicates the
amount of coin placed into the hoppers, as well as the signatures of
the employees involved in the transaction, the slot machine number and
the location and the date .
count is an American
casino term, referring to the dollar amount of chips and tokens removed
from a slot machine coin hopper and counted by the casino's hard count
team through the use of a weigh scale .
play is a payback
percentage based on a gambler using the optimal strategy in a
skill-based slot machine game .
Theoretical Hold Worksheet is
a worksheet provided by the manufacturer for all slot machines which
indicates the theoretical percentage that the slot machine should hold
based on adequate levels of coin-in. The worksheet also indicates the
reel strip settings, number of coins that may be played, the payout
schedule, the number of reels and other information descriptive of the
particular type of slot machine .
machine has a table that
lists the number of credits the player will receive if the symbols
listed on the pay table line up on the pay line of the machine. Some
symbols are wild and will pay if they are visible in any position, even
if they are not on the pay line. Especially on older machines, the pay
table is listed on the face of the machine, usually above and below the
area containing the wheels. Most video machines display the pay table
when the player presses a "pay table" button or touches "pay table" on
the screen; some have the pay table listed on the cabinet as well .
is a common belief that the
odds on a machine have something to do with the number of each kind of
symbol on each reel, but this is not the case. Modern slot machines are
computerized, so that the odds are whatever they are programmed to be.
For instance, if the jackpot combination is "7-7-7", slot machine
owners can fool/tease people by making "7-7-(non-7)" come up
frequently. In modern slot machines, the reels and lever are present
for historical and entertainment reasons only. The positions the reels
will come to rest on are chosen by a computer chip as soon as the lever
is pulled or the "Play" button is pressed .
machines are typically
programmed to pay out around 82-98% of the money that goes into them as
winnings. The winning patterns on slot machines, the amounts they pay,
and the frequency at which they appear are carefully selected to yield
a certain percentage of the cost of play to the "house" (the operator
of the slot machine), while returning the rest to the player during
play. Suppose that a certain slot machine costs $1 per spin. It can be
calculated that over a sufficiently long period, such as 1,000,000
spins, that the machine will return an average of $950,000 to its
players, who have inserted $1,000,000 during that time. In this
(simplified) example, the slot machine is said to pay out 95%. The
operator keeps the remaining $50,000. The payout percentages are set at
the factory when the casino orders the machines. Changing the payout
percentages after a slot machine has been placed on the gaming floor
requires a physical swap of the game software which is usually stored
on an EPROM but may be downloaded to Non-Volatile Random Access Memory
(NVRAM) or even stored on CDROM or DVD depending on the technological
capabilities of the machine and the regulations in each jurisdiction.
In Nevada, the casino is forbidden by law to alter the payout chip.
These chips are sealed with a tamper-evident seal and can only be
changed by the state Gaming Control Board. Other jurisdictions may have
different rules .
machines common in casinos
at this time are more complicated. Most allow players to accept their
winnings as credits which may be "spent" on additional spins .
machines are linked
together in a way that allows a group of machines to offer a
particularly large prize, or "jackpot". Each slot machine in the group
contributes a small amount to this progressive jackpot, which is
awarded to a player who gets (for example) a royal flush on a video
poker machine, or a specific combination of symbols on a regular or 9
line slot machine. The amount paid for the progressive jackpot is
usually far higher than any single slot machine could pay on its own .
some cases multiple machines
are linked across multiple casinos. In these cases, the machines may be
owned by the machine maker who is responsible for paying the jackpot.
The casinos lease the machines rather than owning them out right.
Megabucks may be the best known example of this type of machine.
Megabucks Nevada starts at $7,000,000 after a jackpot. The new penny
Megabucks video game has a jackpot that starts at $10,000,000 .
machines that are not linked
to a large regional jackpot such as Megabucks usually have better
payout percentages, as linked machines have to take into consideration
the large jackpot amount into their payout percentage calculations .
the United States, the public
and private availability of slot machines is highly regulated by state
governments. Nevada is the only state that has no significant
restrictions against slot machines both for public and private use. In
New Jersey, slot machines are only allowed in casinos operated in
Atlantic City. Several states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Missouri) allow slot machines (as well as any
casino-style gambling) only on licensed riverboats or permanent barges.
Native American casinos on reservations cannot have true slot machines
unless allowed by the state that the tribal casino is located in (per
Indian Gaming Act ).
states have restrictions on
the types of slot machines that can be used in a casino or other gaming
area. "Class III" slot machines are machines without restrictions, most
often seen in Las Vegas or Atlantic City (commonly referred to as
"Vegas-style slots"). Some casinos are in states that require them to
use "Class II" slot machines, which usually have a player skill
requirement attached. The primary difference between a Class III
machine and a Type II machine is that with a Class III machine, a
player's chance of winning any payout is the same with every play, and
each machine operates independently of each other. A Class II machine
mimics bingo or scratch-off lottery tickets in that all the machines
are linked to play against each other, pulling a predetermined number
of winning combinations from a central database and distributing those
to all machines .
American casinos offer free
memberships in "slot clubs", which return a small percentage of the
amount of money that is bet in the form of "comps" (complimentary food,
drinks, hotel rooms, or merchandise), or sometimes as cash back
(sometimes with a restriction that the cash be redeemed at a later
date). These clubs require that players use a card that is inserted
into the slot machine, to allow the casino to track the player's
"action" (how much the player bets and for how long), which is often
used to establish a level of play that may make a player eligible for
additional comps. Comps or cash back from these clubs can make a
significant difference in the maximum theoretical return when playing
slot machines over a long period of time .
referred to as poker
machines or "pokies", but officially known as 'Gaming Machines',
Australia has one of the highest concentration of poker machines per
head of population in the world, with changes in regulations leading to
a profusion of poker machine venues across the country. Various
objectors, including many branches of the clergy and also charities for
the poor, have criticized the spread of the machines, as they claim
that it has led to a huge rise in the levels of "problem gambling" -
gambling to a level that causes financial and social stress to the
gambler and their families, as well as the general levels of gambling .
use video displays to simulate (usually) five physical reels. These
machines also have additional bonusing and second-screen features such
as free games and bonus levels. They also allow for multiple lines (up
to 50) or multiple ways (up to 243 ways) to be played. This higher
level of complexity has meant that greater revenues can be obtained by
operators, but also that the potential for problem gambling to develop
is increased .
machines are found in
casinos (approximately one in each major city) as well as pubs and
clubs (usually sports, social, or RSL clubs). This greater
accessibility is also seen as a potential contributor to problem
first Australian state to
legalize this style of gambling was NSW in 1956 when they were made
legal in all registered clubs in the state .
problem gamblers attending
counselling through Gamblers Help report poker machines as the
problematic form of gambling. Due to this there is a significant focus
on the regulation of multi-hand poker machines, and many groups are
advocating for legislative change .
governing gambling in
Australia are controlled at the state level and as such, they vary from
state to state. In the state of Queensland gaming machines in pubs and
clubs must provide a return rate of 60% while machines located in
casinos must provide a return rate of 90% .
machines are often known as
fruit machines and AWP (Amusement with Prizes) in Britain. Slot
machines are commonly found in pubs, clubs, arcades, and some take-away
food shops. These machines commonly have 3 or 6 reels with around 16 or
24 fruit symbols printed around them. These reels are spun, and if
certain combinations of fruit appear, winnings are paid from the
machine, or subgames are played. These are very similar to slot
machines seen in casinos and elsewhere around the world, but the term
"fruit machine" is usually applied to a type of machine more commonly
found in pubs and arcades. These games have lots of extra features,
trails and subgames with opportunities to win money, usually more than
can be won from just the reels. However, the jackpots from these fruit
machines are strictly limited with many machines paying no more than a
maximum of £25 in any one win .
is known for machines to
payout multiple jackpots, one after the other, this is known as a
streak but each jackpot requires a new game to be played (circumventing
the maximum £25 pound per game rule). Private members clubs
are allowed "club machines" which have higher jackpots .
machines also operate in a
different fashion to American slot machines; whereas slots are
programmed to pay a percentage over the long-run, there is no reason
why a jackpot cannot be paid straight after one has already been won -
this is because over the long-run the percentage payout will be the
same. However, in the UK, a fruit machine takes on an amount above its
payout percentage before winning, so if a payout is 95%, a machine will
make the player lose £10 before paying out £9.50.
As such, it is sensible to watch for people playing these machines but
not winning as the likelihood of a win increases. This, however, is
called Sharking .
type of fruit machine is
popular across Europe (in the countries where they are legal), and very
popular in countries such as the Czech Republic, Russia, and Ukraine .
minimum payout percentage is
70% in Britain, with pubs often setting the payout at around 78% .
has been alleged by the
Fairplay campaign that UK fruit machines employ fraudulent techniques
in which gambles and chances which appear to be random are in fact
pre-determined 1 and cannot be affected by player choices. 2
this point, you'll have
gambled the win up to £25. However, the machine doesn't want
you to gamble any further. If from the 5 you select "High", the machine
will spin in a 3 and you'll lose. If, on the other hand, you select
"Low", the machine will spin in a 9 and you'll lose ...
claims centered around the
emulation of fruit machine hardware on computers, which allow for the
machines RAM state to be saved at a particular point and replayed
making a different choice. The fruit machine industry has hit back 3 at
the allegations 4. Currently the issue has supposedly been considered
by the Uk Gaming Board (now the Gambling Commission) and warning
and possibly modifications are to be put in place 5, though it is
unclear as to whether this has happened. As the Fairplay site has not
been updated in over a year, the current situation is unknown 6
has has a relatively new
history in slot machines, roughly since after the American occupation
during the World War II era .
machines are regulated with
IC chips, and has six different levels changing the odds of a "777".
The levels provide a rough outcome of between 90% to an astonishing
160% (200% if using skills). Indeed, the Japanese slot machines are
the many varieties of the
machines, there are certain rules and regulations put forward by a
commission. For example, there must be three reels. Also, all reels
must be accompanied by buttons which stop these reels, etc .
slot machines do not get
"hot" or "cold". The chances of hitting a winning combination are
exactly the same with every spin. (Exception: UK-style AWP machines are
progressive which means chances of winning will increase over time if
the machine has not paid any wins out. Many also "force" wins on
players in order to meet the payout percentage )
possibly in a few
jurisdictions, slot machines are never "due to be hit" if they haven't
paid out a jackpot in a while .
is a science to the
placement of slot machines on the gaming floor, but the highest paying
machines are not necessarily placed in high-traffic areas. Typically,
machines of similar payback percentages are grouped together, with 1%
or less difference from machine to machine in the group .
your slot club card does
not affect the machine's payout percentage .
most jurisdictions, casinos
cannot alter the machine's percentages by time of day, day of week, or
remotely via a computer. Changing the percentage payouts on these
machines is an involved process of physically replacing parts inside
the machine, and can't be done without regulatory oversight. (Exception
1: UK-style AWP machines can have their percentage easily altered via a
percentage key (inserted onto the machines motherboard) or by the
setting of dip switches. There is no requirement for this to be
supervised or reported in the UK .)
2: In many markets where
central monitoring and control systems are used to link machines for
auditing and security purposes, usually in wide area networks of
multiple venues and thousands of machines, player return must usually
be changed from a central computer rather than at each individual
machine. A range of percentages are preprogrammed into the game
software and selected by configuring the machine remotely .)
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