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Facts and Myths: 5 Things You Need to Know About Slot Machines

Slot machines are played and enjoyed in many parts of the world, both at bricks and mortar casinos and in their digital, web-based guise.

With more people gaining an appreciation for what they have to offer, there are also a growing number of misconceptions, mistruths and misunderstandings about how slots function. To clear up any confusion, and to give you some entertaining tidbits to share with your friends, here are a few irrefutable facts about slot machines.

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Each spin is an independent event

This is an important but often overlooked fact about slots, which should dispel the idea that they are fixed or unfair towards players. In essence, machines have no memory of the outcome of each spin, and so in turn this means that previous results do not hold any sway over subsequent spins.

The reason that this is relevant to players is that it means every single time you spin the reels, you have the same chance of hitting the jackpot, as determined by RNG. This is a legal requirement and creates a level playing field, although of course there are still odds to take into account, as outlined in this ultimate guide on how to win on slot machines.

The earliest slots paid out in consumable goods

While modern slot players may be accustomed to winning cash for successful spins, the original mechanical machines introduced in bars in the US during the late 19th century awarded prizes ranging from alcoholic beverages and chewing gum to cigars and beyond.

In some parts of the world, they are known as fruit machines in part because fruit was available as a prize, in addition to being featured on the reels as symbols.

Today we can see the traces of these older traditions because the symbols live on in many modern machines, even if the prizes themselves have fallen by the wayside.

RTP (return to player) rates represent an average, not a guaranteed minimum

RTP, also known as payback rate, is the percentage-based proportion of a slot machine’s earnings that are then returned to the players in the form of cash prizes. There are legal minimums for RTPs in many places, and the point is that as long as the RTP is under 100 percent, the operator of the slot will be making profitable revenues from the game itself.

Confusion arises when players learn that a game has an RTP of, for example, 95 percent and then assume that this means if they put in $100, they will at least get $95 back even if they do not manage to hit the jackpot.

Unfortunately, RTP is not a session-based statistic, but rather an overall average for the machine across a set number of spins, usually in the tens or hundreds of thousands. So the bulk of the RTP will be made up of big jackpot wins, as well as a larger proportion of smaller wins for lower paying symbol combinations. As such it is a bad idea to assume that there will be a fixed lower limit on what you can lose on a machine before you win; that is simply not how RTP functions.

Slot volatility can help you pick which machine to pay

While it is true that there is no way to predict when a slot machine will pay out, or to game the system by playing on games with a higher RTP, there are some things that players can look out for if they want to have a greater chance of walking away with some cash.

This is where slot volatility comes into play; high volatility slots offer bigger prizes but have lower odds of actually winning, while low volatility slots will feature smaller jackpots that have a higher likelihood of being hit.

For casual players, low volatility slots are a good option, as they will likely have lower minimum bet amounts which makes them less daunting. Whatever your preferences, setting a budget and sticking to it is sensible before you dive into playing slot machines either at casinos or online.

Casino operators make more cash from slot machines than table games

Last but not least, the pure profitability of slot machines should be something to note, since they overtook table games as the biggest money maker for casinos over a decade ago.

This proves that even with hundreds of millions of dollars being paid out to players annually, there is enough cash being pumped back into slots for operators to take home a tidy sum for their trouble.

 
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