Path: Slots Payout Percentage

Payout Percentage

Slots machines are normally configured to make payouts ranging from 82 percent to 98 percent of the wagered amount of slot players. In technical terms, it is referred to as “theoretical payout percentage” or “return to player.” The minimum percentage depends on the jurisdiction, and the amount of payout of slot machines is defined by the relevant regulations and laws. For instance, the floor payout rate for the State of Nevada is 75 percent, 83 percent in New Jersey and 80 percent in Mississippi.

Understanding Payout Percentage of Slot Machines


The winnings in slot machines occur in a random fashion, and a fraction of the amount wagered by slot players is retained by the operator of the slot machines, while the rest is plowed back as winnings to the “lucky” slot players. Let us consider a slot machine that costs a player $1 for every spin that is made. A return to player or payout percentage of 95 percent means that the said slot machine will return an average amount of $950,000 in aggregate winnings after a total of 1,000,000 spins and the remaining $50,000 is retained by the operator as income.

The slot machine’s RTR or payout percentage is set at the level of the manufacturer. The payout percentage is controlled by the software installed during the manufacture of the slot machine. Thus, the payout percentage can only be modified by physically swapping the current software with new software for the new payout percentage. The firmware or software that sets the payout percentage is normally loaded on the NVRAM or EPROM. There are also some slot machines where the firmware or software is loaded on a DVD or CD-ROM, depending on the applicable gaming regulations and capabilities of the slot machine.  

In New Jersey and other jurisdictions, the EPROM comes with a tamper-resistant seal. This means that it can only be altered or modified with the presence of a representative of the Gaming Control Board. In Nevada and other jurisdictions, slot machines are audited in a random manner to verify if they are loaded with the approved payout firmware or software.

Payout Percentage and Slots Winning Odds

Does higher payout percentage guarantee a win? The answer is an emphatic no. The symbol or number combinations occur completely at random. And while a slot machine may offer a higher return to player or payback percentage, it does not give you any guarantee that you will win when you play the slot machine. In fact, even if you are going to play a slot machine with a 99.99 percent payout, chances are you will lose the slot game. When you compare your chances of winning from one slot machine to another, you should consider the number of possible winning combinations.

Let us consider and compare two hypothetical slot machines. The first machine has 1000 different combinations and offers only one winning combination and pays 950 coins for the winning combination. The second slot machine has the same number of winning combinations as the first slot machine but offers 950 winning combinations and pays 1 coin for such winning combinations. Both slot machines have 95 percent payout. However, the second machine gives players better odds of winning when compared to the first slot machine.

What does our example show? While the 2 slot machines offer the same RTR or payout percentage, a player stands to lose more in one slot machine compared to the other slot machine. A high payout percentage does not automatically indicate better winning odds, and it does not guarantee anything. There are simply a lot of variables that you need to take into account, and these include the number of stops on the slot machine, the number of winning symbol or number combinations and the payout for each of the winning number or symbol combinations.

The Truth about Payout of Slot Machines

Don’t ever believe the claim that a slot machine is due to “hit”. There is no basis for anyone to declare with certainty that a particular slot machine is “ripe for picking.” The payback percentage and the win frequency become relevant only in the long term. Thus, a slot machine can go on for days or even weeks on end without a single payout. In the same manner, it is also possible that you get 2 successive payouts on a particular slot machine.

There is also no truth to the claim that you increase the odds of winning if you play the slot faster. The random number generator or RNG will still continue to generate hundreds or even thousands of numbers in between spins and stay ahead of even the fastest slot player. The only reason why fast gamers seem to get more payout is that they are able to make more spins within a certain period of time than the regular slot player.