Study shows gamblers prefer slots to table games

Dec 11, 2012 3:00 AM

Penny Slots are taking over the world. If they’re not, then they’re at least taking over the casino. 

According to a recent study by Oregon State University an estimated 70% to 90% of gamblers prefer to play slot machines compared to table games. Penny slots offer the most fun for the player and the best returns for the casino. Together this is why penny slots are the majority of the slot machines you’ll see on the casino floor.

To meet this demand for penny slots Boyd Gaming recently launched Penny Lane at The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast and Sam’s Town casinos in Las Vegas. Penny Lane will consist of more than 1,000 popular slot machines within a themed area on each gaming floor.

“Penny slot games have become enormously popular over the last several years. With Penny Lane, we’ll offer locals a fun, exciting and unique place to play these popular games” said Steve Thompson, Senior Vice President of Operations for Boyd Gaming’s Nevada Region.

“These new games will be a perfect complement to our video poker selection, with thousands of games offering payback of 99% or better,” he said. “From video poker to penny slots, our gaming floor will be among the most competitive in Las Vegas.”

There is no skill involved with playing slot machines and people don’t seem to mind. According to the study from Oregon State University slot machine players are less focused on hitting a big jackpot when they play. More often they spin the reels in order to relieve stress, entertain themselves or just kill time. More than 60% of slot players say they’d rather win small, frequent payouts than large, sporadic jackpots.

Even though Penny Lane will offer an array of penny slots with 99% returns (meaning they return 99 cents of every dollar played) penny slots generally offer the worst returns of all slot machines. The lower the denomination of the slot machine, the lower the returns.

For example, a $5 machine may return 97% of each dollar played while a penny slot machine may only return 90%. Needless to say, you won’t see many advantage gamblers playing the penny slots.

Penny slots fit the gambler profiled in the study by Oregon State University. Penny slots have bright lights, loud noises and tend to be the most fun games in the casino. They’ve become so much fun to play that we often forget that there is money at risk when playing and don’t seem to mind. Or maybe the majority of penny slot players know that they aren’t going to win big (or win at all) and are just happy having a drink or two and a good time. 

Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gambling and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Follow Marc on twitter @eastcoastgamblr. Check out his blog at Contact Marc at [email protected].

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