While one of our news editors was away on vacation in Vegas he met up with an old friend who is working as a slots machine engineer in the city. His company provide many of the local casinos and slots shops their slots machines on a rental basis. Without mentioning any names, some of the information he gave us opened our eyes to exactly why land-based slots always seem to be unlucky.

Our editor, who is surely reading this and editing it of course, explained that he was with his friend and started to play some of the online slots in between a round of poker. His friend then explained that even though he works in the slots business, he only plays online slots. Being a casino news editor always looking for the local scoop on the industry the questions started flying.

It turns out our slots engineer friend in Vegas plays online slots simply because the Return to Player (RTP) is much more lucrative online compared to playing offline slots.

Here are two simple truths about land-based slots you may or may not know:

  1. Land-based are limited to one player at a time; while an online slot can host multiple players at one time; therefore, online slots can turn over 100 times the amount of a land-based slot
  1. Online slots are not limited to location. A land-based slot needs a player to physically be standing at the slot and this limits the max hourly profit the slot can make.
  1. Land-based casinos calculate their profit from casino games using square meters. How much money does this game make the casino according to the square foot or space it takes up.

For most seasoned gamblers, these three facts are probably not ground-breaking news; however, the effect that these three points have on a land-based slot’s RTP is.

  1. Land-based casinos reduce the RTP of a land-based slot in order to make a higher profit. You could be playing the very same land-based slot as an online slot, but the land-based slot has an RTP of 85% and the online slot has an RTP of 96%.
  1. Casino ask engineers to change the reels on non-profitable slots. For video slots this means changing the code; while for electronic slots this means swapping out the reels.

By changing the order, the symbols run on each reel, the casino can reduce the probability of symbol combinations and features paying out. This is exactly how they reduce the RTP on a slot and it is perfectly legal to do because US casinos are not bound by law to reveal the RTP of a lot. It is also not cheating – the spins are still random, but the likelihood of landing a win is much less.

As a result, our editor decided that land-based slots are not for him!