Sad Facts About Slot Machines

Silhouette of Sad Man With a Slots Reel Background

I know plenty of gamblers that only play slot machines. I used to try to help them learn how bad the slots are, but I eventually gave up. If you’re in love with slot machines you’re probably not going to listen to reason.

But I still have hope for you. Casinos have many games that are better options than slot machines. And once you learn the seven sad facts about slot machines I cover in this article hopefully you find a better gambling option the next time you go to the casino.

Hard to Find Return to Player Numbers

Every gambler needs to be aware of something called the return to player or return to player percentage. Every casino game has one of these numbers, but most gamblers don’t know what they are or what they mean.

The return to player number is a percentage of the money that you bet that gets returned to you in the form of wins. The first thing to understand is that casino games always have a return to player less than 100%. This is how casinos make money.

Rows of Casino Slots

You can use return to player numbers to compare casino games. The game with the higher number is better because it returns more of your wagers to you.

Most casino games have return to player numbers that you can easily look up. You can do a quick search on your computer or even use your phone. You can quickly find a list of return numbers for just about every casino game except slot machines.

It’s almost impossible to find RTP percentages for slot machine games. And there’s a good reason for this. You’re going to learn why in the next section.

Terrible Return to Player Numbers If You Can Find Them

The reason why slot machine manufacturers and casinos don’t want you to be able to find accurate return to player numbers is because they’re so bad on slot machines. It’s not uncommon for a slot machine to have a return of 90% or less.

To put this into the proper perspective, many blackjack games have a return of 99.5% or higher. The same is true for some video poker machines. The banker wager in baccarat is just a hair short of 99%. The two come out wagers on the craps table are both over 98.5%.

The fact is that almost every game in the casino offers a better return to player number than slot machines. Even the best slot machines usually only go as high as 98%.

If you play slot machines you need to try to find out the return to player numbers for as many slot machines as you can. And you should only play the slot machines that have the highest number. But the best thing to do is to stop playing slot machines and start playing a casino game with a better number.

Deceptively Fast Game Play

Take a moment and think about the last few times you played a slot machine. It doesn’t matter if you played slots in a mobile casino, real money online casino, or in a land based casino. Once you started playing did you play as fast as you could or did you take your time?

Most slots players play as fast as they can. And they don’t even realize how many spins they’re taking. When you play slot machines as fast as you can you can take 400 to 600 spins every hour, and a few players and machines can get even more spins in.

It doesn’t seem like it costs much to play slots when you’re betting .50 or $1 or $2 on every spin. But when you multiply these low per spin amounts times 50o pins an hour you can see how much you’re risking when you play slots.

Even at .50 a spin, if you take 500 spins you’re risking $250. And if the return to player is only 90%, you’re going to lose $25 on average.

If you play slot machines the best things you can do are play slow and find a machine with a low cost to play. You’re still going to lose too much money, but at least this is one way to limit how much you lose.

Confusing Pay Lines

I remember playing on a slot machine that had three reels and only three pay lines. Of course, this was decades ago, but the slot machines were much simpler then. I also remember when a 20 or 25 pay line machine was big news.

Now you can play on slot machines with 100’s of pay lines. I don’t know what the exact number is, but it reaches a point where you can’t possibly track all of the available pay lines.

Megaways Online Slots Game

This is what the slot machine manufacturers want. They don’t want you to track every pay line. They want you to forget about the pay lines and let the slot machine take care of tracking everything. This way you can get back to spinning faster.

I don’t like to play on slot machines where I can’t rack every pay line. These machines are getting harder to find, but there are still a few out there.

Casino Comps Are Miniscule

In comparison to the low return to player numbers that slot machines provide, the amount you earn in casino comps from the slot’s club is miniscule. It’s hard to find out exactly how much slot’s clubs return to players, but for many games it’s as low as .1%.

Even if your slot’s club returns as much as .5% to you in comps, it’s still only a small fraction of the edge they have when you play.

If you’re playing a good slot machine that has a high return to player of 95% and you get .5% back in comps it still means that you’re losing 4.5% on average of everything you bet. And I bet that your slot’s club isn’t giving you anywhere close to .5% back.

Designed to Make You Chase the Next Thing

I completely understand the appeal of slot machines. Slot machines are designed to release pleasure chemicals in your brain so it feels good when you play. And the machines are also designed in other ways to keep you playing and keep you coming back to play again.

Whether it’s chasing a jackpot or a special bonus round or bonus game or trying to complete a story within the game, slot machines are made to be addictive. And this is dangerous.

Most slots players are able to stop playing before they become homeless, but a few aren’t able to stop. But even if you can stop when you’re in danger of losing too much money, it still costs you too much to fall into the slots chasing trap.

Jackpots Are a Marketing Tactic

How many times have you been walking past a slot machine and saw that it had a big jackpot and decided to play? This is exactly why many slots games have a jackpot, and why most of these jackpot amounts are flashing in red lights.

Casinos and slot machine makers both know that you’re more likely to stop and play a machine with a big jackpot, and they know that you’re more likely to play longer chasing the jackpot once you start playing.

How many big jackpots have you hit in your life? I’m not talking about $10,000. I’m talking about $100,000 or more. And how many people do you personally know that have won big jackpots playing slot machines?

Row of Tall Slot Machines

The odds are good that you’ve never hit a big one, and they’re pretty good that you don’t know anyone well that has hit two either. This is because big jackpot wins are rare on slot machines.

Yes, they do happen, but when you compare how many trillions of spins players take every year to the number of big jackpots that get hit, you can see that it doesn’t happen often.

That big progressive slot machine jackpot in flashing lights is a marketing tactic to get you to play more.


When you play slot machines you’re usually playing blind. You don’t know what the returns to player numbers are and you don’t know how to find out. And if you did find out how bad the numbers are, you’d probably quit playing.

Slot machine pay lines can be confusing, especially on the newer machines with dozens of 100’s of pay lines. And when you give up on tracking the pay lines you can play 100’s of spins in a short amount of time.

Everything about slots is designed to take your money, and if you play long enough that’s exactly what they do.