Can the Same Game Have Different Payback Options?

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97 percent payback slot machine

When you look at a slot machine in one casino vs. another, it can look identical. But is it set up identically?

Can the same machine in a different casino have a different RTP [return to player] %?

Kathy F.

The simple answer is yes, they can. That’s because when slot makers develop games for casinos, they tend to develop a half dozen or so payback options, within a range that’s usually somewhere between 85 and 98 percent, with a couple of percentage points between steps.

It’s important to note that the slot makers make the decision of what levels there are, and each of those levels are certified by a third party testing lab to be mathematically accurate. Casinos can opt to install the game if they think it’ll be a good fit for their players, and can offer it at a payback level that meets their requirements.

When a casino adds a game to their floor, the casino selects from the menu of payback options, and that’s what it will generally be set at for the lifetime of the game. But different casinos can absolutely choose different settings, and that means although you may see an identical looking game in two different casinos, they could be set to pay back at different levels.

Sadly, we’re still at a point where physical casinos don’t give you that information about slots, despite it being something you can calculate for other games like video poker, keno and blackjack. There’s more overall transparency with online slots, so that could eventually change, but we aren’t holding our breath.

So, if the casinos don’t tell you the payback information, what can you do? You can check out our previous article about finding payback information, in case one of those tips works for the casinos where you live. In the case where you have that extra bit of information, favor play to the places that indicate higher payback.

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