Ever since the 1980s, casinos have discovered that they make more profits off their slot machines than they do from their table games.
This is just as true of online casinos as it is of land-based gambling halls. If you listen to Las Vegas locals, they say never play the slots at casinos that line Las Vegas Boulevard. Then, they’ll point downtown where many of the city’s oldest casinos are grouped within easy walking distance from one another and add, “The best payouts are along Fremont Street.” But what do the actual numbers say? And what to make of claims made by casinos themselves? Overall, slots generate nearly 60% of Nevada’s annual gaming revenues and almost twice as much as table games.
In Las Vegas, where free drinks and loyalty rewards have long been used as inducements for slot play, the latest promotional craze is bragging about payback rates. The Nevada Gaming Control Board breaks down its Las Vegas slot statistics in two major tourist areas: downtown and the Strip.
Additionally, there is a large locals market, which reports of gaming revenue classify as the Boulder Strip and North Las Vegas areas.
In the full fiscal year between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, the payback percentages for all slots in Clark County were 93.51%.
By area, the downtown paid back 93.47% and the Strip returned 92.62%, so there is a certain ring of truth to the locals’ claim.
However, what goes unsaid is that North Las Vegas slots returned 93.91% and the Boulder Strip slots paid back 94.76%, so the best advice is to avoid the tourist areas and play where the locals play.
Compared to fiscal 2011, all of the areas except the Boulder Strip showed a slight reduction in paybacks in 2012.
Slots located along Boulder Highway paid out exactly the same year on year; they include the machines of such popular casinos as Sam’s Town, Arizona Charlie’s, and Boulder Station, to name a few.
The Gaming Control Board statistics also indicate which slots pay out the best in order of the denomination of credit played.
In fiscal 2012, Megabucks progressive slots showed the worst payback percentage overall, just 87.16%.
However, the appeal of a massive jackpot obviously outweighs the poor odds during hard economic times, as Megabucks revenues rose 59% versus fiscal 2011—the biggest gain among all types of slots.