Is It Better to Sit By the Aisle?

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Brian Christopher stands near the aisles of slots

Is an aisle location better? Should you trust the slot attendant? A player asks:

YEARS and YEARS ago when I was in Atlantic City I asked an employee which machines were “lucky”. I sort of asked as a joke but he said the end machines tend to give more hand-pays. I decided to test that theory and, perhaps coincidentally, I soon got my first handpay at that casino. Since then, when possible, I like to play the end machine and I have to say 95% of my handpays have been on “aisle machines. Any “truth” to the theory?

Roxan D.

Numerically, more people will win, and get jackpot handpays, on the aisle. But this is not because machines on the aisle pay better – it’s because people are more likely to sit in the aisle seat to play.

Players like to have their space. Casinos have become wiser to this in recent years and introduced more space between machines, putting them more into circular pods and smaller groupings than they would 10 or 20 years ago. When machines used to be in rows, players would often favor the end machines.

Where do you prefer to sit when you play?

A recent player poll on our BCSlots YouTube page backs this up, with half of players stating they prefer more room, such as an aisle seat, while only 4% said they prefer a middle row seat (the rest said they’ll play wherever they find a spot).

Brian Christopher and his team has been to a few casino grand openings over the years, and when we were on the ground with him during them, we noted how the progressives on the end machines were growing faster than the ones on the insides of the aisle. This was concrete evidence players were choosing to play on the aisles more often, and was easier to spot as all the progressives started from scratch with a new casino opening.

In fact, casinos know this and it’s a common piece of data. With this data they could choose to set inside row machines at a higher level to encourage players to play. But because payback settings aren’t public, players wouldn’t really know this was happening, and likely wouldn’t spot it happening in a shorter session.

So, it’s a fair assumption that the ones on the aisle are set to the same payouts as inside the aisle. The slot attendant’s observation is simply a side effect that people prefer an aisle seat, and nothing else.

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