Where Did the Old Reels Slots Go?

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Double Diamond Deluxe three-reel slot machine

Some players lament the steady shift from mechanical reels slots to the video reels now most common on casino floors today. Here’s one example:

Seniors like the old reel machines and some casinos have gotten rid of them all together. Seniors seem to be the most consistent gamblers. They should consider this??

Valere L.

Rest assured they do consider things like this, Valere, but they also look at what machines are being played. If you look around the casino floors, oftentimes the reels machines are more likely sitting idle than the video reels counterparts. That means casinos continue to shift their balance to be more in favor of those video reels options.

But that’s not to say that mechanical reels are going away. A number of major slot manufacturers, including Light & Wonder, IGT and Everi, have released new cabinets in recent years designed to cater to that mechanical reels player. Tellingly, all three built cabinets that have modern day features but still look and feel like the classic cabinets, definitely a not to that audience that enjoys a certain type of slot machine.

You’re more likely to see reels in the high limit room, but in recent weeks alone we’ve seen games like Top Dollar Grand with a $2.50 max bet on quarters, a similar configuration for Pinball and Double Top Dollar, many Everi physical reel games with a $2.25 max bet – they’re out there and at a pretty accessible bet, when you also consider many of these games are lower volatility so lower bettors can still get a good ride on them without having to put a ton of money in.

And even in the high limit room you can find some surprises. One high limit room we’ve frequented had a Double Top Dollar machine at $1 denomination, but single line and two credit max bet, so it’s just $2 a spin – quite manageable for many.

So while video reels are the predominant option on casino floors today, mechanical reels still have their place on the floor. And it’s up to casinos to place them on the floor, so be sure to tell your local casinos what you’d like to see, as that helps them understand if they’ve made a mistake by taking too many off the floor. 

But keep in mind they do monitor how each machine does, so if a casino’s taking them off, it’s probably because not enough people are playing them relative to others.

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