We received this question recently as a comment on one of our other posts about randomness:
I have to disagree somewhat on whether a machine can be flipped or not. I have owned a few machines from casinos, yes actual machines that were in a casino. On those machines that I’ve owned, there was a switch with 3 settings, Easy, Medium and Hard… tried the slots at the different settings and on the easy setting, getting wins and free spins was easy peasy. Now flipping it to hard and I only got the free spins once and hardly hit any line hits.. These were the older style 5x 10x style slot machines…Toby M.
Thanks for this Toby! We certainly are open about the fact that casinos have access to multiple payback options, which in the case of your machine sounds like the setting you have inside.
We know that casinos can decide what to set a game on, but those settings, like the one you have, are inside the machine. And many times players are worried casinos are actively manipulating machines while they’re playing, and that’s not happening.
That switch may also make it seem easy for casinos to change payouts at various times of the day, but if you think about how many machines are in a casino, it’s not a simple process to update them all to begin with.
Then, depending on the state, regulations may complicate things when it comes to reporting and paperwork. Casino rules factor in too, and either regulations or those rules may require gaming commission presence when changes are made, multiple people there to witness it’s being done as requested by the higher ups (and not set to super high payouts or anything like that to benefit the customers).
Finally, if that wasn’t enough, the machines themselves, especially modern ones driven on software, usually have to go through a verification process once a setting has changed, that will take them offline for a few minutes.
If casinos were doing this regularly, players would see all these things going on constantly and be aware of this. In an age where most people have a camera phone in their pocket, this evidence would be all over the place. The fact you don’t constantly see casinos systematically updating all there machines should be reason enough to confirm, but if you ask those in the know at casinos they’ll affirm what we’re saying – paybacks aren’t really updated often, if at all.
Slots have a very high house advantage, and changing them a bit higher or lower for a small window time won’t necessarily accomplish much different, as the payback is achieved over a long period of time and hundreds of thousands of spins. It’s much easier (and more cost effective) to set it and forget it.
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