Las Vegas slot machines have come a long way since the "one-armed bandits" of yesteryear. Though the "bandit" part is still pretty much in tact, the new line of slots, including poker and keno machines, are more fun and interesting to play than the old slots. Though it seems players have their own slot machine theories and favorite places to play, if you listen to Vegas experts, there is a consensus as to what to look for and where to play if you want to improve your chances of winning.
Nevada Gaming Commission Report
According to “American Casino Guide,” the Nevada State Gaming Commission breaks its slot payout percentage report (the percentage of wagered dollars returned to the bettor) by area and amount wagered, rather than by individual casinos. The Commission’s Las Vegas report divides the town into quadrants: The Strip, downtown, the Boulder Strip and North Las Vegas. The following are the July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008, figures as reported by “American Casino Guide”:
1 cent slot machines The Strip: 88.35% Downtown: 88.68% Boulder Strip: 90.03% North Las Vegas: 90.69%
5 cent slot machines The Strip: 89.23% Downtown: 91.12% Boulder Strip: 95.41% N. Las Vegas: 94.81%
25 cent slot machines The Strip: 91.93% Downtown: 94.54% Boulder Strip: 96.82% N. Las Vegas: 96.44%
$1 slot machines The Strip: 93.65% Downtown: 95.38% Boulder Strip: 96.77% N. Las Vegas: 96.89%
$1 Megabucks machines The Strip: 88.06% Downtown: 89.04% Boulder Strip: 90.77% N. Las Vegas: 90.01%
$5 slot machines The Strip: 94.84% Downtown: 95.11% Boulder Strip: 96.02% N. Las Vegas: 94.75%
$25 slot machines The Strip: 96.16% Downtown: 96.38% Boulder Strip: 95.42% N. Las Vegas: n/a
All slot machines The Strip: 92.98% Downtown: 93.42% Boulder Strip: 94.96% N. Las Vegas: 94.36%
This report defines “slot machines” as all electronic machines, including regular slots, poker and keno machines.
Area and Placement of Slots
Between the most popular Las Vegas tourist areas, the Strip and downtown, the report shows downtown as having slightly better odds. However, the areas favored by locals--North Las Vegas and the casinos along Boulder Highway--have the most favorable payout rate. Geographical location, however, is not the only consideration when looking for loose slots. According to Going to Vegas.com, “You're more likely to find a loose machine near the front desk where arriving players are standing in line watching the action, near "the cage," on main aisles, or are visible from buffet and show lines or lounges.”
Casinos With Best Payouts
Going to Vegas.com suggests O’Shea’s and Slots A Fun as examples of casinos that rely exclusively on slot business. They can’t afford a reputation of having stingy slots. The dollar machines at Circus Circus and the Stardust, older casinos on the north end of the Strip, get a thumbs-up from Going to Vegas.com as well. “The older places near the north end of the Strip may set their machines looser to try and draw players away from the newer, fancier resorts.” According to Andrea VB.com’s “The Truth Behind Slot Machine Payouts,” “...the casino nearest to offering loose slots in Las Vegas is Palms resort, which has an average games payout percentage of 93.42%” According to Slot Machine Hang Out.com, some of the loosest slots can be found at the Fiesta Rancho, the Palms, Boulder Station, El Cortez, Union Plaza, Sam’s Town and Texas Station.
A Los Angeles native, Russ Buchanan has been writing and editing for such disparate publications as “Midnight Graffiti Magazine” and “Op/Ed News.” He has been writing professionally since 1990. He attended Pierce College and California State University, Northridge.