The Las Vegas Strip is no doubt one of the most-popular places to play slot machines. Millions of tourists hit Las Vegas Boulevard every year to spin the reels.
Most of these gamblers aren’t too concerned about their exact chances of winning. They just want to enjoy fun games and get a few thrills.
Of course, your bankroll stands to last longer when you do choose slots with fair pay. Therefore, you might be interested to know how Vegas Strip slot machines stack up to the competition.
Whether you’re going to Sin City anytime soon, or just thinking about it in the distant future, you’ll want to know the following info on Vegas Strip slots payback.
A Look at Vegas Strip Slots Return to Player (RTP)
The Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) regularly offers revenue reports on their casino gambling industry. These resources cover gaming wins for the past 12 months, including wins for slot machines.
You can get a composite view on how well Nevada slots pay and their house edges by looking at these reports. You’ll also be able to see a breakdown on prominent jurisdictions within the Silver State.
The NGC’s report breaks down how much the Strip’s slot machines pay based on coin denomination.
Here’s how much the most-popular coin denominations delivered in 2018:
- Penny slots – 88.30% RTP (11.7% house edge)
- Nickel slots – 91.63% RTP (8.37% house edge)
- Quarter slots – 89.40% RTP (10.60% house edge)
- Dollar slots – 92.30% RTP (7.70% house edge)
- Multi denomination – 93.61% RTP (6.39% house edge)
You can see that penny slot machines are at the bottom in terms of payback. They only offered 88.3% RTP, making them one of the worst choices of all casino games in terms of winning.
The multi-denomination machines featured the best rate at 93.61% RTP. You might want to stick with these games on the Strip, given that they both let you change the coin size and offer the best payback.
How Do Vegas Strip Slots Compare to the Rest of Nevada?
Knowing how much Vegas Strip slot machines pay is a great start. However, a reference point is needed to measure if the Strip’s slots do or don’t pay well.
Again, the NGC provides gaming win for the entire state as well as specific areas. These numbers can be pitted against the Vegas Strip’s figures to make a valid comparison.
Here’s how well slots paid throughout the Silver State in 2018:
- Penny slots – 90.0% RTP (10.0% house edge)
- Nickel slots – 94.39% RTP (5.61% house edge)
- Quarter slots – 92.83% RTP (7.17% house edge)
- Dollar slots – 93.61% RTP (6.39% house edge)
- Multi denomination – 94.74% RTP (5.26% house edge)
Comparing the numbers, the Vegas Strip definitely doesn’t pay slots players like Nevada as a whole. All of their coin denominations offer at least 1% lower RTP than the entire state.
The biggest difference can be seen in the quarter slots. The Strip only delivered 89.40% in 2018, while Nevada paid 92.83% overall.
Another large discrepancy can be noticed with nickel slot machines. The Strip delivered just 91.63% against 94.39% for the state.
Numbers Show That Vegas Strip Slots RTP Isn’t So Hot
Vegas Strip slot machines are far from generous. In fact, they’re some of the lowest-paying slots that you’ll find anywhere in the world.
The penny slots are especially awful. They only offered 88.3% RTP last year, which is about as bad as it gets with slot machines.
Penny slots are often thought of as “cheap” games, because they only require one cent per line. But you’re theoretically losing $11.70 for every $100 wagered on Vegas Strip penny games.
Surprisingly, the quarter slots barely paid better than the penny slots. The Vegas Strip’s quarter slot machines offered 89.40% RTP, which is really bad when considering the coin size.
Only nickel, dollar, and multi-denomination slots delivered over 90% RTP. Multi-denomination machines were the best deal at 93.61% payback.
Nickel slot machines paid 91.63% RTP, which is okay by the Vegas Strip’s standards. However, this payout percentage isn’t so great when looking across the board.
Why Don’t Vegas Strip Slot Machines Pay That Much?
The primary reason why Vegas Strip slots fail to offer reasonable payback is because they don’t have to. Casinos on the Strip can feature low slot machine RTP and still draw visitors.
This iconic four-mile stretch is home to some of the world’s most-lavish casinos. Bellagio, Caesars Palace, MGM Grand, and the Wynn are just some of the headlining establishments on the Strip.
Las Vegas Boulevard also offers many other attractions that draw tourists. The Park, LINQ Promenade, Neon Museum, and Fountain of Bellagio are some of the spectacles located here.
Few people go to the Vegas Strip in search of the highest-paying slot machines. The small number that do would be severely disappointed upon seeing the numbers.
The Vegas Strip is instead about the experience, with gambling mixed into the equation. Slot machines found here could probably pay even less, yet millions would still gamble on this famed boulevard every year.
But the fact remains that the Strip doesn’t offer good slots payback. It lags behind many other areas of Vegas and the rest of the state.
Vegas’ Boulder Strip exemplifies what good land-based slots payback should be. They offer some of the best-paying slots in the country.
Here’s the Boulder Strip’s slots RTP for 2018:
- Penny slots – 90.21% RTP (9.79% house edge)
- Nickel slots – 96.23% RTP (3.77% house edge)
- Quarter slots – 95.93% RTP (4.07% house edge)
- Dollar slots – 95.13% RTP (4.87% house edge)
- Multi denomination – 95.42% RTP (4.58% house edge)
You can see a tremendous difference between slots payout percentages on the Vegas Strip and Boulder Strip. The latter offers around 2% or higher RTP with every coin denomination.
A glaring difference can be seen in how much each location pays on quarter slots. The Boulder Strip delivered 95.93% RTP in 2018 — over 6.5% higher than what the Strip paid.
Another notable difference included nickel slots RTP. The Boulder Strip featured 96.23% payback, versus just 91.63% for Las Vegas Boulevard.
However, the numbers are far enough apart to show that the Boulder Strip offers a much-better deal. The Vegas Strip, meanwhile, lags behind the state. But you also have to remember that Boulder Highway doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it.
The Eastside Cannery Casino Hotel, Sam’s Town Gambling Hall, and Boulder Station are all popular casinos. They just don’t have anywhere the amenities as a Bellagio or MGM Grand. You therefore want to consider if the higher slots RTP is worth it.
Getting the Most Bang for Your Slots Buck on the Strip
The Strip isn’t the greatest gambling destination in terms of slot machine RTP. But again, it’s not defined by offering great chances to win at casino games.
Las Vegas Boulevard is instead an all-around entertainment hub that gives you the opportunity to gamble. Nevertheless, you should at least know which games will help stretch your bankroll further.
The best deal is multi-denomination slots for two reasons:
- They offered an average of 93.61% RTP last year.
- These machines let you choose the coin size.
You should definitely seek out multi-denomination games when you’re in Vegas. They offered at least 1.31% higher RTP than the rest of the slots last year.
Dollar slot machines are your next-best bet purely in terms of payback. They delivered 92.30% RTP. But you’ll actually get more play out of nickel slots.
Here’s a theoretical comparison between both slots to show the difference:
- You perform 1,000 spins on dollar slot machines.
- House edge is 7.67%.
- 1,000 x 1 = $1,000 in total bets
- 1,000 x 0.0767 = $76.70 in losses on dollar games
- You perform 1,000 spins on nickel slot machines.
- House edge is 8.37%.
- 1,000 x 0.05 = $50 in total bets
- 50 x 0.0837 = $4.19 in losses on nickel games
The theoretical losses with both types of slots can differ when there are varying amounts of paylines involves. But if all lines are equal, then the nickel games are cheaper.
The same can be said of penny slot machines when compared to nickel slots. They only charge one cent per line, meaning they’re fairly cheap to play.
However, RTP is the problem with penny games. You have to weigh whether it’s worth facing 3.3% lower RTP with penny slots just to enjoy lower risk on a per-bet basis.
Do Some Bankroll Calculations Before Visiting the Vegas Strip
Slot machines aren’t cheap on the Vegas Strip. Penny slot machines are especially expensive, boasting an average house advantage of 11.70% last year.
You therefore want to have a strategy in place for handling your gambling funds before leaving for your trip. The first order of business is to make sure that you don’t bet money you can’t afford to lose.
A good way to do this is by going through your bills and figuring out how much free money you have each week or month.
You can then set aside a percentage of this amount (some should be used for savings) for a slots bankroll.
The next step is to think about important variables, such as your spins per hour, average bet, and hourly losses. You can either come up with these estimates by tracking them yourself or merely thinking about the proper numbers.
Most slots players spin the reels between 500 and 700 times per hour, depending upon breaks. You likely fall somewhere in this range too.
Your average bet size should be fairly easy to figure out. You probably have a typical wager size, such as $0.25 or $0.50.
Hourly losses can be difficult to determine, because they change based on the volatility and house edge of the games you’re dealing with. But a nice round number to consider is 250 lost bets per hour.
You’ll probably lose around 250 wagers each hour until you’re able to hit some big payouts. If you’re wagering $0.50 per spin, this equals $125 in losses per hour.
The final step is to run the variables and figure out how long your bankroll should last. The goal is to get an idea on if you should bring more money or make smaller bets to extend your entertainment.
Here’s an Example:
- You have a $1,000 bankroll
- Your average bet size is $0.25
- 1,000 / 0.25 = 4,000 total bets
- You lose 250 bets an hour
- 4,000 / 250 = 16
- Your bankroll will theoretically last for 16 hours
Slot machines are so unpredictable that it’s tough to determine if your bankroll will last X amount of hours, even with in-depth calculations.
But you can at least get a nice estimate on how long your bankroll will hold up. Of course, you could also win some huge payouts and be up big at the end of your session.
Play Some Online Slots on Your Vegas Trip
You’re probably heavily into the land-based casino experience if you want to play slots on the Vegas Strip. But you might try mixing up your play with online slots during the excursion.
Internet slots pay far better than those on the Vegas Strip or in any other land-based casino destination. The average online slot offers around 95% or 96% RTP, which is unrivaled in most brick-and-mortar casino hubs.
The aforementioned Boulder Strip is about the only place that compares to internet slots RTP. Even then, you have to bet at least a nickel per line to play games with 95% payback.
Again, you probably aren’t going to the Vegas Strip to sit in your hotel room and play online slots. But you might consider lounging around the hotel, a bar, or elsewhere and spinning the cyber reels for a little bit to preserve your bankroll.
It would be great if you could enjoy the amenities of a Mandalay Bay or Wynn and have a great change to beat slot machines. Unfortunately, you can’t because Vegas Strip casinos don’t offer great slots RTP.
Multi-denomination games led the way with 93.61% payback in 2018. But this figure is nothing to get excited about in the overall scheme of things.
Penny slot machines paid just 88.30% RTP on average last year. You’d therefore be facing an 11.70% house edge with the average penny slot, which is horrible.
You’ll get an okay deal with dollar slots (92.30% RTP). Then again, betting $1 per spin and still facing low payback isn’t anybody’s vision of gambling bliss.
The truth is that you should head elsewhere in Vegas, such as Boulder Highway, if you want the best chance to win. The Boulder Strip offered over 95% RTP for all of its denominations, except penny games, in 2018.
You can also play online slots on the side during your trip enjoy the best payout percentages of all. Of course, the key drawback here is that internet slots don’t offer the same experience as land-based casinos.
Overall, you can’t go into a Vegas Strip casino expecting to beat the slot machines. They just don’t pay enough to give you a strong chance of winning.
What you can do, though, is combine proper bankroll management with reasonable expectations. Performing bankroll calculations helps you go into each slots session with a realistic mindset. This process also keeps you from betting money that you can’t afford to lose.