Does Location Make Any Difference to a Slot’s Payouts?

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Brian Christopher stands near the aisles of slots

In most casinos there tends to be busier parts of the casino floor and slower parts, for a variety of reasons. One player wonders if that makes a difference:

Is there any difference to playing a machine in a highly visible area of the casino, where the machine is in use almost continuously, or to play a machine in a lonely corner of the casino where a machine rarely gets much action?

Elaine V.

Generally speaking, no, location won’t make any difference, just like a slot on the aisle vs. one in the middle of a row. Very frequently the only time it will make any difference is marketing.

You see, for various reasons, from locations of other amenities to how traffic just tends to flow in a casino, some parts of a casino may just be busier than other parts. Some casinos will use that knowledge to nudge players to play in those slower areas.

Some casinos will put additional cabinets of games that are extremely popular in other parts of the casino into a slower area to try to encourage more people to come over to play. Or they’ll move those cabinets into the slower or harder to reach places to get players to move to less busy areas and hopefully liven them up.

Other casinos will use prominent marketing tactics to encourage players to patronize the slower parts of the floor. During one trip to Rocky Gap in Maryland, we saw a nook that wasn’t immediately obvious when looking at the main casino floor, and that nook offered 2x points earnings, which was their way of encouraging people to play those games.

At the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, for a long time there was a program where playing in a specific part of the casino floor gave players wheel spins for free play. This was done to encourage play in slower parts of the casino floor, given the property’s unusual layout where slots were separated into different sections on the floor.

We’ve also seen examples of casinos putting signage touting higher payback of slots on banks that were in slower places. That technique isn’t used as often, but it’s still out there as well.

So unless you trip across something like that, there generally won’t be a difference between a busier and a slower area. But when there is, casino marketing will generally be the tip-off that something’s available for players who are willing to patronize those areas.

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