Do Slot Machine paybacks really matter to players?

An interesting article from Vegas inc this week. The article is very informative and helps explain slot machine paybacks and volatility…

You can find the intro below for the full article visit Vegas Inc

If local slot players could create a public-service message for the casino industry, it might be: “I want my money to last longer.”

That’s the view of Sandy Sherlock, a Sun City Summerlin resident who has played slots at least once a week since moving to Las Vegas 14 years ago. For Sherlock and many gamblers like her, winning the elusive jackpot is beside the point. Instead, they seek enough small wins to keep the action going — and losses that don’t bust them out too early.

“I never seem to win anyway, so I’d rather sit there for 15 or 20 minutes and get a little entertainment out of it. My $10 might only last a few minutes. Then I’ll get mad and leave.”

In a fantasy world, slot machines would play longer while paying big, frequent jackpots. In reality, slots are built with a house edge and a trade-off: the chance to win smaller amounts more frequently or the opportunity to win the rare jackpot. Most local gamblers would prefer the former, which stretches playing time for casino regulars on a budget, according to Tony Lucas, an associate professor at UNLV’s Harrah College of Hotel Administration.

Casinos and manufacturers aren’t necessarily delivering because they incorrectly label machines as “loose” or “tight” based on what the machines give back to players over time, said Lucas, a statistician and marketing consultant who has spent most of his career studying how slot machines work.

Slot machine volatility — a separate, programmable feature — primarily determines whether players will win or lose money and therefore, how much playing time they will have…..

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