Are Slots Random?

When looking to try to “beat the casino” through playing slots, one of the most obvious places to start is by asking if the spins are random or if any pattern can be discerned. Many people, especially those accustomed to playing slots in the real world (that is to say in a bricks and mortar casino) will have watched someone pour a small fortune into a slot whilst waiting to get on the machine themselves.

The theory is that because so much money has gone in, some will soon be due out and the machine is “ready to pay out”. It is this theory that keeps many players playing the same slot even when enduring a long losing run. Whilst there is, in one sense, some truth in this theory, in reality slots payout at random. Clearly no slot will go on without paying out forever and so if you stay playing the same slot you will, eventually at least, get some form of win.

However, with many online slots featuring huge jackpots and lots of other very significant wins and high-paying bonus rounds, in reality a long winless run – or one with only very minor wins – is highly likely at some stage as the slot seeks to recoup previous winnings. These long runs without a large payout are likely to be far larger and far longer than almost all players can (or will) endure, so never get sucked into the trap of believing that a slot – either online or offline – is “due”.

Slots have a set payout percentage, sometimes almost as high as 99% and sometimes as low as just 75% (that latter figure is the minimum legally allowed in Nevada). In as much as they work to those parameters there is some predictability but because those payout percentages are ongoing and measured over an infinite period of time, in practice slots are totally random and therefore cannot be observed in order to increase your chances of winning.

If you do want to win playing online slots then clearly picking games with high payout percentages is a good idea, whilst taking advantage of the many available casino and slots bonuses is also advised – all of the best casinos will offer bonuses, promotions and perhaps loyalty schemes. And then, in reality, you are simply reliant on good old fashioned luck.