How Good’s the Gaming in Wendover, Nevada?

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We’ve recently been sharing some of the data around slot payback percentages, so we’re always excited when we see questions like this:

I gamble in Wendover, Nevada, and it seems like I never ever win there on their slots. Are their slots tighter than most or even in Vegas?


A quick review of the recent payback data on the Nevada Gaming Control Board website indicates Wendover is probably a better gamble, although we’re not all that surprised by that.

Compared to the Las Vegas strip or downtown, Wendover is similar to Reno in being less tourist-focused and more locals focused. As such, they have to compete harder for that gambling dollar, and one way they do so is paybacks.

Here’s a comparison of electronic machine paybacks (covering slots, video poker and video keno) of the Las Vegas strip and Wendover for the 12 months ending March 31, 2024 (the most recent data available at the time we wrote this article):

Slot DenominationStrip Payback %Wendover Payback %
1 cent88.90%93.79%
5 cent91.21%94.25%
25 cent89.28%94.54%
1 dollar92.79%96.01%
5 dollar94.89%96.14%
25 dollar94.90%97.38%
100 dollar93.61%97.23%

Now, those are a pretty big delta between the two, and a few things can contribute to it, such as:

  • Video Poker tends to be more popular at locals casinos in Nevada, with better pay tables vs. slots pulling up the average
  • This is a snapshot in time – data can shift over time
  • The strip is at the most extreme end of things – the divide is likely much smaller if you were comparing locals casinos in Vegas to those in Wendover

But it’s a wide enough delta that the chances are the gamble is better in Wendover is pretty good, so it sounds like you most likely just caught some bad luck. The 5 percent difference on the lower denominations in particular is pretty compelling, at least to us.

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