Does Faster Reels Mean Less Bonuses?

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Speed button on slot machine

Games seem to be getting faster on the casino floor. A player wonders what that means for them:

Do casinos speed up Dragon Link machines so they are less likely to hit bonuses? The reason I ask is that I noticed our local casino Dragon Links used to have really good bonuses or payouts when the new casino opened, but after a few years the same games no longer have the same feel and it appears to me the reels are moving a lot faster than before. Let me know if you have seen this lately too.

Kellie E.

There’s a few layers in play, so let’s go through each of them in turn.

When it comes to Dragon Link, the reels’ speed is to our knowledge the same it has always been. Aristocrat has maintained a steady reel spin on the majority of their games, enough so that as other manufacturers’ reels have gotten faster, Aristocrat now has some of the slowest spins on the casino floor, I was told by a company recently.

They have begun experimenting with faster reels on some new games they’ve released, but all the link series games appear to be their standard speed. So that should not be a factor here.

Would faster reels mean less bonuses? No, because the range of outcomes, including bonus frequency, wouldn’t change simply because the reels moved faster. What it would mean though is more overall outcomes – more losing, more winning, etc.

The thing to remember about games like Dragon Link is they ushered in a new era of volatility on the casino floor, spreading money between both a free spin bonus and a Hold and Spin feature. On top of that, the features are pushed out far enough that it can be very difficult if the game isn’t yielding bonuses or line hits.

There was a period where some of us on the team actively avoided them as every session was punishing. We’re talking $100 gone without a bonus at $1.25 a spin, $20 at 50 cents a spin. After awhile we gave it another go and saw the better side of the game, but you just may be having one of those periods.

Some industry friends shared with us recently that when it comes to games of this type, they perform better when the payouts aren’t too low. The casinos that do the best with these don’t get too greedy, and they perform better consistently, so casinos are generally loathe to touch what’s working. So what we would also say is we wouldn’t anticipate any major changes to the machines from opening until now.

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