Do Machines With Less Bonuses Pay More?

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Can you tell if a game pays more by its design? That’s the general crux of today’s question:

How do you find a slot machine with a better payout ratio to the player? I’ve heard the ones with less bonuses and extras pay more. Is this true?


How a slot machine pays its money out over time is a separate question than whether or not it pays more. We think that the lines get crossed because, when games have less features or bonuses, it feels like it pays more.

Why would that be? With money not spread around so thinly, the line hits and features that remain tend to be able to offer more, because money is not being set aside for other features or bonuses. Or, the bonuses that do exist will be able to occur more frequently.

This can be one reason why some players find newer slots more difficult – they often have more features and bonuses, and sometimes the best of them can be harder to reach, making it feel more difficult to win.

However, these are how a game distributes its wins, not how much over time it pays out. The amount a game pays is defined by settings under the hood of a slot, selected by a casino, based on a range of choices a slot maker will offer casinos (usually they offer six, somewhere between 85 and 98 percent payback).

So, a game with less bonuses won’t necessarily pay more than one with more bonuses or features. They may be easier to play, because the money is more accessible, and therefore less volatile than slots where the wins are bigger but less frequent. 

Ultimately, that just comes down to player preference of what type of game you like better, but how a game is setup will not necessarily pay more or less over time.

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2 Replies to “Do Machines With Less Bonuses Pay More?”

  • Donna says:

    When you see a maxed out Major on a game why does it seem like it’s more volatile and difficult to get any wins or even attain a jackpot?

    • says:

      Player perception tends to be more honed in when it comes to more limited situations. Players don’t play on maxed out majors as often, and the chase of the Major can make other aspects of the game become more clear, like sometimes the game can be streaky and yield no hits. Where we might get up in a normal circumstance (not having luck) may get overtaken by wanting to pursue the Major, for instance. So we recommend using the same rules as any other gaming session – don’t overstay your time on a machine to chase a maxed out major if you’re not having fun. We can promise you the game itself isn’t withholding anything for that Major.

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