What Causes a Game to Be Retired?

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Wheel of Fortune machines being installed for a tournament

Slots come and go all the time. But what are the core reasons for a slot to disappear? That’s where today’s question takes us:

Who chooses to retire a machine and what would cause it to retire? I miss so many of the old games :)

Dawn H.

There are a variety of reasons a slot machine would be taken off a casino floor. Let’s take a look at some of the core ones.


Ultimately, slots need to pull their weight. Even though a casino might have thousands of slots on their floor, each one requires maintenance, electricity, and other costs to keep up and running. If a game isn’t getting played enough, casinos are frequently reviewing this data and can choose to swap it out.

They Don’t Own It

Some slots are leased and others are performance-based slots. In either of those cases they pay the slot maker over time, as opposed to buying it outright for a one time fee. If a license is no longer available, or the casino decides it’s time to move on, this can lead to games being swapped.

This is one reason why many of the popular themes on slots you’ll find in casino will rotate more frequently – they have a higher bar to clear to stick around.

The Machines Are Old

Manufacturers will support machines for a time, and third-party providers may offer some ways to keep a machine running, but eventually it’s difficult to find a 20 year old CPU for a slot machine or that really old screen. The speakers wear out, the buttons get mashed to death, and so on.

Of course, some slots are simpler than others, so mechanical reel machines seem to survive longer on a casino floor – it’s not hard to find 20-25 year old IGT mechanical reel slots in casinos that have had them for that long.

New Management

Sometimes games stick around because a particular slot director sees value in being able to showcase it, something the next person may care less about. Sometimes casinos are bought and sold, and the new owners will look at things differently than the old ones.

A great example is some of the unique games the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas kept on their floor while they were an independent casino, and which has naturally become more homogenized with other MGM casinos since their takeover a couple of years back.

Remakes are Possible

Of course, some games can come back around. Some manufacturers are better than others at keeping games alive by porting them to newer machines. Others will revive them periodically based on market demand. Online casinos offer a new way for game makers to revive old brands in new ways as well.

So that is the general idea of why some slots disappear, and what scenarios are among the most common that lead to it.

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