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Best of Alan Krigman

Gaming Guru

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Do the slots make payout adjustments for people who bet bills or coupons and not coins?

29 April 2013

Question: Most slot machines now seem to have "bill acceptors" or take coupons so you don't have to get rolls or cups of coins to get started or to continue if you run out. Someone told me if you play with bills, you'll lose more because the machine assumes you have more money to keep going. Is this true?

Answer: Casinos can characterize you as a bill or coin player and can also monitor other data about your action. However, they can't use this information to influence your chances of winning or losing on the machine. What they can do, if you have inserted your club card into the reader to identify yourself, is use what they learn about your level of play for marketing purposes.

Whenever you initiate a "spin" or "deal," you place your fate into the dispassionate hands of a computerized "random number generator." This digital electronic circuit produces a number at the instant of selection, which corresponds to what you'll ultimately see displayed on the machine. The manufacturers could program the computer chips to operate other than on a random basis. But they don't. In fact, the authorities who regulate the casino industry run tests and demand data proving that the slot machines produce random results.

There’s a benefit to machines which accept bills or coupons and register the buy-in as "credits," that most players overlook. They can preload the total stake they've budgeted for the session, and can then look at the screen and see exactly how much they’re ahead or behind. This is much handier than counting coins in the tray and unplayed rolls in using profits and losses as a factor in deciding when to quit.
Alan Krigman

Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.
Alan Krigman
Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.