Slot machines are probably one of the youngest gambling games to have entered the casinos all over the world. The first slot appeared only in 1887, and in comparison to other popular casino games, this is quite late. Most card games and table games originate all the way from ancient times and civilizations. Nevertheless, this didn’t stop slots from becoming the ultimate stars in brick-and-mortars.
The first slot was obviously a very simple machine. It had a lever and a couple of cards with symbols on them. Most importantly, unlike today, slots back then didn’t award money — they gave out cigarettes and candy. The first electromechanical slot appeared in 1964, and that is when the hype for slots truly began.
People all over the world became addicted — from Australia to Canada. These slot machines had no use for levers either, but they remained for marketing reasons.
As time passed by, many gamblers tried to tamper with slots and steal money from them — and some of them succeeded. This was significantly easier to do with mechanical slots, as they would often go awry. Every now and then, the casino personnel would need to oil them up, but they would often forget. This was a perfect opening for the cheaters to take advantage of the poor slot machine mechanics.
Why Am I Not Winning?
That is a good question. The truth is, you’re probably losing because you have horrible luck, and that’s it. More often than not, people who lose a lot of money on slots, or any other casino game for that matter, like to shift the blame on someone else. And this includes the casino operators as well. But if you’ve wasted all of your money on a single slot, then it’s all on you.
Either way, the popularity of slots forced operators to offer a vast variety of different types to players. And in retrospect, it made even more players lose money. Eventually, they began to blame casinos for rigging the machines.
After a while, these frequent accusations began to raise eyebrows — can casinos control slot machines for real? Could they take advantage of slots that have a lot of players’ money in them? The answer is very simple — yes they can, but they wouldn’t dare.
Casinos can easily tamper with slots and the way they pay out, that is true, but they would break too many laws. This could end with the casino getting closed for good, or even worse, a lawsuit. So if the casinos don’t control the slot machines, who does?
Well, it’s mostly the governments that do it — at least indirectly. Every country has its regulations that all the casinos, online or land-based, need to abide by. This means that casino operators need to set an upper and lower limit when it comes to payback.
In most cases, there are a couple of reputable online licensing authorities that take gambling fairness seriously. It means that even online casinos are highly regulated, especially the renowned and well-known ones. There are many reasons why this is good, but the most important one is that casinos need to give out reports. To be more precise, at the end of every month, casinos need to send reports of the payouts to gaming authorities. This proves whether a casino is compliant or not.
There are a couple of online licensing bodies that really stick out due to their reliability;
- UKGC (UK Gambling Commission)
- MGA (Malta Gaming Authority)
- GBGA (Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association)
- AGCC (Alderney Gambling Control Commission)
Note that the UKGC license applies to UK casinos exclusively, and if any casino accepts players from the UK without this license, it’s deemed rogue.
Slot machines work based on the Random Number Generator or RNG. This is basically an algorithm that works behind the screen, and it ensures fairness and randomness. The need for it became mandatory once the online casinos started to dominate. In these online casinos, you could find many online slots that were still new to the gambling audience. Moreover, that same audience didn’t trust those slots — after all, who could guarantee their fairness?
Hence, why the operators didn’t have another choice but to incorporate the RNG — only then would the players feel comfortable enough. Most importantly, the RNG is not linked to online slots only — physical slots use it as well. And considering how slots in land-based casinos became fully electronic, the Random Number Generator was the only solution to their randomness.
The Return to Player percentage, or the RTP, is something every casino game has. It determines your odds of winning, and whether the odds are in your favor or not. This is tightly connected to the regulations, as the jurisdiction is the one that decides this. In most brick-and-mortars, the RTP for slots is not lower than 85%. More often than not, this is the minimum dictated by the law. Although, this is not the case with online slots. Online slot machines have a minimum RTP of 92%. And believe it or not, this is something that most casinos and software-makers agree upon.
Same goes for progressive jackpots — they are determined by the software maker of a specific slot. Sometimes, these software providers will give the casino operators permission to slightly change the odds of winning for progressive jackpots. Of course, there are special terms and conditions that need to remain respected and according to the requirements of the law.
How Do Casinos Change the Payout Percentage?
Every slot has a chip inside of it that its maker implemented. This chip determines the payback percentage of a slot (the RTP, as mentioned above). Naturally, it means that casinos can replace these chips at any time, correct? Although this is true, there’s a catch to it. Replacing these chips is actually very expensive, but what makes it even worse is the bureaucracy behind it. To replace the chip, a casino needs to file a lot of paperwork to the Gaming Commission in their respective country. This is a lengthy and an exhausting procedure, so nearly no casino will even bother.
The Slots Remain Unchained
If you take all of this into consideration, it is easy to realize that even though slots can be manipulated, casinos still don’t do it. There are far too many consequences to this. And even if there weren’t any regulations, casinos would still need to respect some rules if they wanted to keep their players. Either way, feel free to gamble with as many slots as you wish, just make sure to check the reputation of your casino of choice first. Good luck.