Tracking the ‘loosest’ slots

Mar 29, 2005 6:31 AM

According to Gaming Control Board reports, the slot machines on the Boulder Strip — Sam’s Town, Boulder Station, Arizona Charlie’s and Nevada Palace — offer players the highest return of all the machines in -Nevada.

On average, the slot machines on the Boulder Strip returned 95.24 percent of the handle or total amount bet to players in fiscal year 2004. Slots in North Las Vegas — Texas, Fiesta and Santa Fe Station — returned 95.17 percent, with downtown slots (94.25 percent) and Strip slots (93.55 percent) not far behind.

In general, the slots in "neighborhood" casinos returned more to players than the slots in downtown Las Vegas or on the Strip.

Similarly, the downtown slots returned one to two percent more than Strip slots for machines in lower denominations (nickels and quarters), though the difference is barely noticeable for higher denomination ($1 and $5) machines.

Experts point out that players shouldn’t read too much into the slight differences in payback percentages.

"Some players are lulled into a false sense of security because the machines in one area are supposed to offer a tenth of a percent more than other machines," said a slot supervisor at the Gold Coast. "But the odds to win, say a royal flush or four deuces, are generally the same for all machines. The payback percentage is a long-term rating and shouldn’t be relied upon as a measure of what you should or shouldn’t win."

Slot hold percentages are grouped by area in Nevada, whereas some states such as New Jersey list the payback percentages for each casino.

Slot machines in Nevada generally returned more to players than slots outside the state, although Colorado casinos come close (94.3 percent) to those in the Silver State.

Casinos in Atlantic City returned an average of 91.6 percent to slot players with Borgata having the highest payback (92.1 percent) and the Showboat (91.2 percent) the lowest.

The tribal casinos in Connecticut (Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun) returned even less to players: Nickel, quarter and dollar slots returned an average of 88.5 percent, 90.8 percent and 92.37 percent, respectively.

Tribal casinos in California aren’t required to report their slot payback percentages, and none of them was willing to divulge their machines’ hold percentages.

Slot payback % in Las Vegas

Las Vegas: all machines

95.24% Boulder Strip

95.17% North Las Vegas

94.25% Downtown

93.55% The Strip


Las Vegas: 1¡ slots

91.70% Boulder Strip

91.67% Downtown

91.52% North Las Vegas

90.64% The Strip


Las Vegas: 5¡ slots

93.30% Boulder Strip

93.15% North Las Vegas

91.69% Downtown

90.06% The Strip


Las Vegas: 25¡ slots

96.64% North Las Vegas

96.47% Boulder Strip

94.62% Downtown

92.20% The Strip


Las Vegas: $1 slots

96.86% North Las Vegas

96.43% Boulder Strip

95.26% Downtown

94.39% The Strip


Las Vegas: $1 Megabucks

91.84% Downtown

90.13% North Las Vegas

90.02% The Strip

88.32% Boulder Strip


Las Vegas: $5 slots

96.33% Boulder Strip

96.09% North Las Vegas

95.98% Downtown

95.13% The Strip