How Long Does a Slot Take to Reach Its Intended Payback?

Home » Recent Posts » How Long Does a Slot Take to Reach Its Intended Payback?
Share this on:

97 percent payback slot machine

How long does it take for a slot machine to achieve its intended long term payback? That’s the crux of today’s question:

What is the time period over which slots can confirm paying back a certain percentage? i.e., after a large jackpot, how long does that machine take for it to settle back to its % equilibrium? I never hear of experts speaking about duration when discussing %’s. I am aware of random number generation, but for a company to set its machines to a certain percentage – at what time is this % NOT CORRECT…..I know I sound confused with these similar questions, but that’s it….I am confused! Lol

Michael H.

Ready for an even more confusing answer? It’s almost never exactly at the intended percentage.

Time is not the discussed data point because it’s in large part about the number of outcomes (in this case spins completed), which can happen in a variable time window, depending on how often a machine is played, how fast a machine is played, how long bonuses take, and so on. So it’s not necessarily about time, but the number of spins conducted on a slot machine.

Machines also don’t settle at an equilibrium either. Because a slot has an equal chance of hitting any one outcome vs. any other, the more spins that are completed, the more likely each of the outcomes it his roughly an equal number of times.

Of course, when you get started, it can be wildly off. Imagine a massive jackpot being hit in the first 20 spins. Or imagine a run of losing spins at the beginning. But mathematically, over time, it will slowly converge on that expected outcome.

This is why when testing labs review slots, they test it by doing a massive number of spins – tens of millions of spins. The people who develop the games will test them into the billions of spins themselves to make sure it will approach that percentage.

But the randomness aspect still means hitting that target exactly doesn’t happen – instead it’ll fall into a range that gets closer and closer as the number of spins increases. Every time another spin is completed, the math changes, and the percentage paid out (if you kept the decimal places going) will adjust upward or downward by some small amount.

The thing to remember is that if a jackpot is hit, the machine doesn’t “return” to equilibrium in that it favors less winning outcomes or anything like that, and the same goes if it hasn’t hit a jackpot in awhile. A slot’s past performance is not a predictor of future opportunities – the chances of hitting any outcome is the same after a losing spin as after a jackpot.

So ultimately, the actual percentage paid amount will tend to differ, usually by a small percentage, from the exact amount set. That’s OK – when you put together hundreds or thousands of machines in one casino, being played by thousands of players a day, it will ultimately even out over time and roughly hit the intended overall payback percentage the casino is trying to achieve.

Have a question? Submit yours here!


Share this on:

2 Replies to “How Long Does a Slot Take to Reach Its Intended Payback?”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Play Online Casinos

Sign Up with BetMGM Casino and get a Deposit Match up to $1,000, plus $25 in Site Credits on the house! Available in MI, NJ, PA & WV. US promotional offers not valid in Ontario.

Use code SWITCH2500 for a 100% deposit match up to $2,500, and 2,500 Reward Credits, with $25+ in wagers placed (MI, NJ, PA & WV).

New sign-ups with DraftKings Casino in MI, NJ, PA & WV will receive $35 Casino Credits, plus Play $1 & Get $100 Back in Casino Credits Instantly!

Sign Up and deposit $10+ at FanDuel to get a Welcome Offer of a $20 Bonus + Up to $1,000 Play it Again based on your net losses in the first 24 hours in MI, NJ, PA & WV!

Play Social Casinos

Ready to give Show Me Vegas Slots a try? Get 10 million coins to play Show Me Vegas Slots with promo code SWITCH!

New players get 100 million coins for signing up! All players will receive 5 million coins free (one time only).

Sign Up and get a Welcome Bonus of 2,000,000 FREE Gold Coins & 2 FREE Sweeps Coins. Get started today!

Sign Up for LuckyLand Slots and get a Welcome Bonus of 7,777 FREE Gold Coins & 10 FREE Sweeps Coins!

Online Game Spotlight
Fu Nan Fu Nu Slot Machine

Stacked Symbols & a Free Spins Bonus Choice Await You

Prosperity Link Wan Shi Ru Yi Slot

Wild Multipliers Spice Up the Free Spins Bonus

Queenie Slot Machine

The Wheel is Your Ticket to Big Wins and Bonuses

Play Online Sportsbooks

Sign Up to get a Bet $5, Get $200 in Bonus Bets if Your Bet Wins PLUS a Daily Boost or Bonus All Summer!

Use code SWITCH1000 to get your first bet back in Bonus Bets, up to $1,000, if you lose.

​SIGN UP to get up to $1500 in Bonus Bets* Back if Your First Bet Doesn't Win!

New Players get $50 Bonus Bet with $5 deposit! New players outside MA also get 20% Match up to $1,000 (25x PTR). Additional Bonus Bet offers vary by state - read the review for details!

Social Game Spotlight
Huff N’ Even More Puff

Double Wheel, Double Reels, Double the Fun

Wu Da Jiang

It's All About Multipliers and Progressives

Slingo Super Spin

Hunting for a Full House for the Win