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9 Interesting Facts About Slot Machines

Slot machines are my favourite way to relieve stress.  These types of games are not only calming, but they are very entertaining. Additionally, they can bring along some decent profits if you are playing them for money.

Have you ever wondered what goes into making slots so successful?

Well, today, we will take a look at these machines, and learn about their operations whether on online or land-based casinos. 

What makes slots the easiest yet most profitable games in casinos?

Casinos Make Most Of Their Profits From Slot Machines

Back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, slot games were considered to be games for tag-a-longs or dabblers. The industry considered real gamblers to be those players who sat at the tables!

Fast forward to 2020, and slots are now the top trending casino games of all time.

In 2020 a Mr Green bonus code is available and you can use the bonus for getting free spins and extra deposit.

If you have been in this industry for a while, you may remember how casino layouts and designs used to look like back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s.

The slot machines were fitted with wide aisles, while space and room were quite huge for ease of movements.  Most had either a stool or a chair in front of them.

The slot machines of today are totally different. If you are in a land-based casino, you will find that the aisles are narrower, and most of the space is packed with machines.

With technological advances making work a lot easier, a player card can be inserted into the slot machines. This gives a casino the ability to track each and every penny dropped in the slot machine as well as its source.

This is one of the changes that have shifted profits in the casino’s favour.

Both the players and the Casinos are able to get decent profits from slot machines. Currently, Casinos report that about 75% of their income is from slots and video poker.

Casinos Have No Ability To Alter The Slot Machine Pay-Outs When You Win

Many a time, I have come across players arguing that you can never win with slots since a casino changes the odds of the game if you get a win.

This is absolutely NOT true.

Other players believe that there are favourable times to play at casinos.

Many myths surround this industry, and you will even hear others say “It’s long since this machine won its due.”

These are all wrong notions, and a casino has no ability to influence or change the final outcome of a slot machine.

Remember, a legitimate casino operates within the law. This means that the casino has to comply with the regulating bodies and one of the requirements is fairness.

Regulating bodies regularly inspect the casino operations to ensure that all rules are met, and there is a fair playing ground between the players and the casino.

Being fair means that, a casino cannot give one set of odds to player A and a different set to player B. This means that, changing the odds or increasing the house edge each time there is a win violates the law.

Additionally, slot machines come with a random number generator (RNG) while some have a pseudo-random number generator (PRNG).  These two are set up by the manufacturer and the casino cannot change that.

The random number generator is a program that automatically detects the sequence of symbols or numbers. The best way to reasonably detect these symbols is by random chance.

Does the casino have the ability to change the house edge on a slot machine?

Japan Leads With The Highest Number Of Slot Machines In The World

Slot machines are the most populous games around the globe.

A number of countries have them in various places and not just inside the casino due to their popularity.

For example, it is not unusual to find slot machines in Grocery stores, restaurants or even in airports, in counties like Australia and The United Kingdom.

In the UK, they have another name for the slot machine, which they may refer to as fruit machines. Poker machines is a term commonly used in Australia.

However, even with slot machines in different locations, the UK and Australia do not come anywhere near the number of slot machines available in the United States.

At over 1,950 casinos and still counting, there are an estimated 900,000 slot machines available in the US, which simply dwarfs Australia and The UK.

With simple math, it means that in the US, there is one slot machine for every 400 people.

Surprisingly, even with that high number of these machines, The US does not have the most.

Japan takes the medal as the country with the highest number of slot machines in the world. It is quite a surprise given that the country allowed casinos only a few years ago (July 2018).  

There is this type of slot machine available in Japan known as a pachinko machine. Pachinko is like a “national” pastime in this Asian country.

Until recently when Japan allowed Casinos to operate within their territory, Pachinko was the only legal type of gambling in the country.

Technically, these machines are not really gambling since players play for the pachinko balls, and not the money. The balls are what get sold to get cash.

An estimated 12,500 pachinko parlours are available in Japan, and these have more than 5 million machines.

This is equivalent to one machine for every 25 people.

The Biggest Win at A Slot Machine Was Witnessed in Las Vegas in 2003

March 21, 2003, remains a historic day in gambling. On this day, a Los Angeles based software engineer walked away with millions, after putting just $3 into a Megabucks Jackpot slot machine.

The slot machine was a progressive game, and it was connected to about 157 casinos within Nevada. The total pay-out was a cool $39.7 million!

To date, this win remains the highest to have been paid on a single slot machine. Three years prior, there was another jackpot of $34.9 million, won at the Desert Inn within Las Vegas.

There Is A Bug On Slot Machines That Is Not Easy To Fix

Slot machine

In 2009, Russia banned most gambling activities in an effort to combat organized crime that was happening in the industry.  

This ban saw a lot of casinos dispose of their gaming equipment so as to avoid losing more money. The sale of this equipment was quite discounted, and among them were the slot machines.

A number of these slot machines ended up in the hands of Russian engineers. The engineers went ahead to study the gaming software that was fitted on the slots.

Armed with this information, the engineers were able to reverse the pseudo-random number generators (PRNG) so as to be able to determine the best possible way to beat them.

The issue went on unnoticed until 2014 when The Lumiere Place Casino in St. Louis raised an alarm.

This casino noticed an abnormal increase in payout from one of their slot machines. Although the abnormal pay-out was not a large jackpot, it still had an effect on the casinos’ budget.

The Lumiere Place Casino took it upon themselves to investigate what would have happened. They researched their videos and were able to pick out a man who was a regular at the casino.

This man had a tendency to come in, play, leave and he would be back again.  By the time they figured out who this individual could be, he had already left the country for Russia.

With this evidence, the casino reported its findings to the state casino commission. Information was spread out to other casinos nationwide.

Soon after, many casinos came forward with similar complaints.

Investigations were carried out, and it emerged that this tactic was used to manipulate different slot machines around the world.

At last, authorities caught up with the scammer after he returned to the United States alongside his two accomplices. All three were sentenced to a two-year jail term.  

This information was passed onto the slot machine manufacturers who said they were already working on fixing the issue.

Since 2014, there hasn’t been any clear information on any updates or software that has been put in place to prevent this from happening again.

Given that the main issue is with the game’s PRNG which also happens to be the slot’s backbone, the only way to fix this issue once and for all is by reconfiguring the entire game.

It is believed that the Russian operatives still take advantage of this hitch to scam slot machines.  

The Levers And Handles Have Little To No Significance

There was this famous TV show that was called The Joker’s Wild. The show was made up of slot machines that came with trivia questions.

Renowned rapper Snoop Dogg has in the recent past been interested in revamping the show. Actually, he has already re-imagined the show for the TBS network, but I must admit the original version was way better.

Both the new and the original versions work pretty much the same. Contestants are required to pull a lever which then determines either the prize money or the trivia subjects.

That show, together with others has tried to portray casinos as “the one-armed bandit.”

But compared to the 70s and 80s, 2020 casinos are a whole new breed altogether.

Back in the day, all slot machines came with a lever, and to activate a spin, a player was required to pull that lever.

Fast forward to the modern slot machine and these come with buttons to press. A few have the levers, but they also have the buttons.

Some players believe that using the levers as opposed to the buttons gives you better chances of hitting the jackpot.

This is NOT true.

The buttons have no special advantage to the player, and they are just used to replace the lever.  This then increases the speed of the game.

One thing that many players may not know is that casinos make most of their profits from slots.

To keep the profits rolling in, a casino will need to push the player into spending more in the shortest time possible.  After all, time is money!

For example, if the slot’s lever takes you about three seconds to pull, you can only do a maximum of 20 spins a minute.

On the other hand, a button can allow you to do up to 60 spins a minute.

Let’s look at simple math.

Lever: enables you to do 20 spins per minute x 60 minutes = 1200 spins (per hour)

1200 spins x 24 hours = 28,800 spins (per day)

Button: enables you to do 60 spins per minute x 60 minutes = 3600 spins (per hour).

3600 spins x 24 hours = 86,400 spins (per day)

Total difference = Over 50,000 spins per day!

More spins mean more money for the casino and not vice versa.

Assuming a spin costs $1 each, and a casino has about 500 machines, those are millions made on a single day.

Now, this makes sense as to why modern slots come with a button and not a lever.

The Origin of Slot Machines Remains Unclear

No one seems to be a hundred percent sure about who invented slot machines. 

There are two common stories on how slots came to be. The first theory is that a company in New York (Sittman and Pitt), were the first to create a slot machine in 1891.

These initial slot machines came with 50 different playing cards with an additional five drums. A player was required to insert some money, and then pull the levers so as to start playing.

The slots used all the standard cards from a deck apart from two –the 10 of spade and the jack of hearts. The reason for omitting these two was so as to increase the house edge.

No cash was issued as payment, but players got prizes in other forms like free drinks.

The other story talks of this belief that Charles August Fey was the brains behind the first slot machine. Historians believe that this happened between 1887 and 1895.  This person is said to have created a machine that had the ability to issue automatic payouts.

The design of the machine worked well in reducing the complexity that came with reading a win on the machine.

Charles Fey thought the reels worked better than the existing five drums and he made changes. He also made several other changes, like replacing cards with symbols like liberty bells, spades, horseshoes, diamonds, and hearts.

This machine got the name Liberty Bell because three bell symbols gave the highest payout.

Unfortunately for Charles Fey, he failed to patent the design, and when it grew in popularity, other people stole his idea.

The Player’s Club Card Has No Significance To Your Win

Player’s club cards do NOT have any impact whatsoever on the slot’s house edge. Their major role is to assist the casino in tracking your play, which is helpful in determining the amount of cashback and compensation that you will receive.

A slot club card may help a player get more from the casino; however, it has got nothing to do with the house edge of any slot machine.

Basically, a casino tries to keep you playing in their establishment and they know one tactic is by issuing you with a card just to make you feel that you “belong”. This is another way of keeping you as a happy patron.

There Is No Difference Between Land-Based Casinos And Online Casinos

There is this misconception that since online casinos use technology, the use of programming enables them to pay different prizes (either more or less) when compared to land-based ones.

What many players fail to understand is that identical (RNG) Random Number Generators are used to govern both online casinos and land-based ones.

Additionally, the same rules used on land-based casinos are used to govern online casinos.

Most of the time, a slot developer will create a game, and manufacture the software for the online version. This is the reason you will find a slot game in a casino somewhere in Las Vegas that is a replica to the one online.


Gaming, and especially slots, has seen tremendous growth in the last couple of years. These types of games have grown from being entertainment for fair-weather players; to some of the most prominent games of all time.

This shift has seen casinos reap big profits from slot machines.  

Compared to the 80s, when slot machines had a minor contribution (25% profits), to the casino, today, 75% of casinos’ overall profits come from slots.

Slot games are also the most preferred casino games by players since they are straight forward, and do not require any technical gaming knowledge to play.

Avoid listening and believing the myths associated with slot machines, and you will be in a better position to enjoy online gambling.

Shawna Dudley

Shawna is an ambitious and free-spirited digital nomad with expertise in creating high-quality and SEO-friendly guides and reviews in the iGaming and travel industry. Follow her on Twitter or Linkedin or send her an email.