What Happens to Payouts When Slots Are Removed Quickly?

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Wheel of Fortune machines being installed for a tournament

As we’ve shared here previously, payouts on slot machines are achieved over millions of spins. But what happens when a game is removed before that level is even reached?

If a Casino leases a game for a short period of time how will the payouts even out if it’s not at the casino long enough to payout especially if it has a progressive pot? I live in Canada and have seen a machine come and go in less than a year.

Brian S.

While slots have a long term payback they’re designed to approach over time, the reality is most slots will always be above or below that number. Variance is the term, and because it’s working within a set of outcomes, with the outcomes selected randomly, there could be a big win or losing drought that can put a game ahead or behind its expected payback.

This is all part of the expectation, however, and so casinos don’t stress too much, as long as a game is within its range. And for players, it all evens out over time.

Now specifically regarding the progressive, we shared recently that the money that increments on a progressive isn’t the casino’s to keep if they decommission a slot, and oftentimes the casino will just move that incremental amount to another progressive somewhere on the casino floor. So that portion of the payout not awarded will ultimately get paid, just on another machine.

Of course, there’s always the rare event that an issue is discovered with a game after it’s on the casino floor and it’s pulled to get resolved. This has happened in a couple of occasions that we’ve spotted, but at that point the game is performing outside its expected range and needs to be resolved.

So ultimately it’s not a huge issue if a machine gets pulled after a short period. Casinos will make players whole on the progressives and the rest of the payouts will fall into an expected range for the amount of time a game’s played. The reality is if it’s not being played, or players don’t like it, removing it makes more sense than leaving it there, so casinos will do what they have to do to ensure a fun slot floor for players.

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