Yes, same slots may have varying RNGs
BY JOHN GROCHOWSKI casinoanswerman@ casinoanswerman.com February 8, 2012 3:54PM
Double your pleasure with the Double the Love slot tournament Feb. 26-27 at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City. A $125 entry fee gets you a welcome dinner, overnight stay on Feb. 26, breakfast for two on Feb. 27, and two tournament rounds — one per person. Visit bluechipcasino.com.
Updated: March 11, 2012 8:33AM
There’s a large subset of my e-mail that comes from slot players who start by saying, “I get that the games are random, but . . . ”
Then they tell of a slot experience that doesn’t seem quite right to them.
The latest came from a reader named Barb, who said she played the same games at different casinos.
“I love those Hangover slots,” she wrote, “but when I play at one casino, I win pretty good, and at the other I never win. I have my losses at the ‘good’ casino, too, but I get enough back to keep me going. All the symbols are the same, and the pay tables look the same. But it seems like I’m getting 95 percent at one casino and only 65 percent at the other. Do they have different random generators?”
What’s probably happening is just that she’s had bad luck at one casino, and good luck at the other. A machine that’s set up at 90 percent payback doesn’t have to pay 90 percent to every player, every time. You might get 63 percent, I might have a session where I get 55, someone else might get a big payback and leave with an 800 percent return.
Through hundreds of thousands of plays, the wins and losses will balance out. The odds of the game will lead to a return very close to the targeted 90 percent, and the casino will take its 10 percent.
Most likely, by pure coincidence, Barb has had a few good sessions at one casino, and a few losers at the other.
However, slot manufacturers do produce RNGs that will lead to different long-term percentages on the same type of machine, and it’s up to the purchasing casino to choose which they want installed.
The minimum legal payback percentage in Illinois is 80 percent, and in Indiana it’s 83 percent. There is no 65 percent chip. But a range of returns is offered, typically from the mid-80s to the low 90s on games designed for penny play, or from the low 90s to the high 90s on three-reel games designed for higher denominations.
So yes, it was possible Barb was playing games with different RNG values. But more likely, the differences were in random luck.
John Grochowski is a local free-lance writer. Look for him on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44); Twitter (@GrochowskiJ) and at casinoanswerman.com.