Why Do Slot Machines Pay Such Random Amounts?

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Sometimes slot machines pay round amounts, and other times they pay really precise amounts. One players wonders why that’s the case:

Why do slot machines pay such random amounts like 32$ or 199.99 instead of 30$ or 200$. Also, once a machine pays out a certain percentage does it stop paying 🤔


Before tackling the unique question here, let’s remind about the one we have tackled here on the site before. Slots don’t slow down payouts when they’ve paid a lot, or conversely speed up pays when they’ve paid a little, because they don’t have to. 

Games already have a built in house edge that’s achieved over the long term, so even though they can have hot or cold periods, it will all work out in the casino’s favor in the end.

That design means the game makers spread the payouts across all the various outcomes so it can in total accomplish a specific payout percentage. The preciseness of payouts vs. round payouts lets them have absolute control over where the money will be found in a game. 

Rounded numbers make it harder because to round one number up you must round another down to make up for it.

Of course, part of the challenge is games have gotten more complex. Progressives, for instance, are fed a bit at a time, most often with a small percentage of players’ wagers. So they slowly tick up, one penny at a time, based on how much is being bet on the game, which explains the precision there.

The increasing number of lines on a slot machine means spreading the money out across those lines as well. Some games will pay a bit for two symbols, and that usually is some small amount, but those small amounts can help players sustain themselves while waiting for a truly monster of a hit.

So it comes down to game design – each slot works a bit differently because of how it’s designed, and the money distributed throughout the game a bit differently in turn. Some games put more of the money on the line hits (with a small number of slots on the floor having no bonus at all), while others put a good chunk of the money in the bonus, making it a bit of a boom or bust situation.

So that’s why they do it – it’s just a matter of being able to get that payback percentage perfect and having the money distributed in a way that balances that effort and aiming to keep the game fun too.

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