Core vs. Premium Slot Machines: What’s the Difference?

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Little Shop of Horrors by Everi

If you spend any time reading about slots like we do, you’ll come across terms in some publications that are internal to the industry but may not be as well known outside of it.

One such example came our way recently when writing about the various ways slots can be placed on the casino floor. Casinos can buy them or lease them, effectively, and those terms have an industry parallel: Core and Premium Slots.

Core slots are ones that casinos can purchase and have on their floor indefinitely. With core slots, the investment is largely upfront, and casinos are able to make use of them as long as the machines continue to function. 

Players often wonder why many casinos have banks of older machines, and usually these are owned machines that are either continuing to perform well enough to stay put, or otherwise are just there because it’s cheaper to keep them running than replace them with newer games.

By comparison, Premium slots are ones that casinos get that are effectively rented. They generally come in two forms:

  • Leased machines involve a daily fee paid to the slot manufacturer. Often these are games with Premium themes such as TV or movies (hence the name Premium) but can be popular series like Link games too.
  • Participation machines are ones where the manufacturer receives a percentage of the amount won on a machine. Usually that’s also connected to the inclusion of a wide area progressive that the slot maker banks instead of the casino, to make the games even more attractive with jackpots that would often times otherwise not be available.

When players wonder why themed games don’t last as long, having these extra fees can often make the difference – if a game stops performing to a certain level, it may not be economically the right choice to leave it in place, so the game gets swapped out faster.


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