Does a Machine’s Payout Slow Down or Speed Up At Times?

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Some players aren’t quite sure how a slot machine can achieve its payouts over time. This leads to speculation that when a jackpot is hit, the game needs to hold back pays to make it up. Or, a game will offer bigger pays once it has had time to “collect” money.

Today’s question isn’t quite like that, but falls into that same general category:

Can a slot machine be programmed, the random number generator be programmed to cause over time the payback to take longer to occur, take a longer period of time before it hits? Can the random number generator be programmed to slow down as time goes on so those numbers don’t pay at the same payback percentage as often?


In a single word: No. 

Here’s an aspect of things I don’t think people consider: The Random Number Generator setup isn’t used for one game and a new one is designed for every new game. The general structure of it is used across quite a few games. Instead, it’s the outcomes of the particular game, on a particular payback option, that’s unique per payback option and per game.

The RNG doesn’t know what outcomes it’s choosing between, and it doesn’t need to – it’s job is simply to make sure every outcome has the same probability of happening. If a game needs more outcomes of $1 to occur to achieve its payout, more of those combinations will exist among the possibilities to begin with.

The RNG therefore can’t “slow down” payouts, because it doesn’t have any knowledge as to that, and by design it needs to ensure all of the outcomes are equally possible. 

Third-party lab testing is a critical part of how this works; lab testing will test to millions and millions of spins to see how close to the calculated payback percentage a game gets. If the game doesn’t achieve a number close enough (statistically it won’t be precise, but will fall within a range that should get tighter as more and more spins are completed), it can fail lab testing and require further review.

So rest assured the game can’t be programmed to slow down payouts or take longer to occur. Payback is money out divided by money in; while a short term session can be positive or negative, in the long term the game will achieve its payback percentage without slowing down anything, so it doesn’t have to do anything but work as configured.

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