Can online casinos alter the payout percentage of slot machines?
Gamblers aren’t known for being the most trusting individuals. We are a suspicious lot, especially when it comes to the integrity of online casinos, and even the land-based variety. While every responsible gambler knows that entertainment should be the #1 goal when playing slot machines, we also play for the thrill of a big win. And if there’s any chance the casino is altering its slot machine payout percentages, boy would we be furious!
Many of today’s leery gamblers have asked this question before. It’s a reasonable one, no doubt. If the slot machines are located in a land-based casino, or uploaded as software onto the systems of an online operator, wouldn’t it be simple for them to change the payout percentage of slot machines anytime they like?
Casinos Can’t Directly Alter Payout Percentages
You might think so, but in reality, the answer is a quick and resounding “No!” You see, it’s not the casinos that make the slot machines. They aren’t staffed with mechanical engineers, computer technicians and software programmers. Those jobs belong to the employees of slot machine manufacturers and software developers.
Every casino—online and on land—pays to install the slot machines made by these companies. A land-based operator has the option of purchasing machines outright, or leasing them, but either way, maintenance of those machines is only performed by the original manufacturer.
As for internet gambling sites, they pay a licensing fee to software companies to install the games on their servers. As such, the casino actually has no direct control over the payout percentage of slot machines once they’ve been installed.
No Magic Switch for Casino Slot Machines
When a brick-and-mortar casino first installs a new game, it can request the payout percentage be set at a specific amount. The manufacturer will oblige, so long as the selected percentage aligns with local regulations.
From there, should the casino wish to alter that payout rate, they can request it be changed by the manufacturer. However, there is no magic switch to be flipped. The manufacturer can’t simply press a button to change the game’s programming. Not only is it a time consuming job, it’s an expensive one that most casinos would rather avoid paying for.
It’s also worth noting that many casinos advertise the payout percentages of slot machines directly on each device. If they were to alter the payback rate, they would have to change the posted signs as well. Not only would that deter customers, failure to do so could result in a very hefty fine from the local regulatory body.
Online Casino Slot Machine Payout Percentages
In the case of online casinos, the payout percentage is usually set by the software company that made it. Unless the operator is paying for a bespoke game (exclusively branded for that casino only), they don’t generally have any say in the payout rate.
As players, we can trust that the games are fair thanks to third party auditing firms like eCOGRA. These companies regularly test the slot machine software of interactive software designers. Each game is run through a rigorous test, involving up to a million cycles of the reels, to determine its exact payout percentage.
Microgaming casinos like Royal Vegas are famous for providing the results of eCOGRA’s monthly audits directly on their websites. Just press the ‘eCOGRA Safe & Fair‘ (shown right) icon at the bottom of the page. Here, players can see exactly how high the slot machine payout percentages are with each turn of the calendar page.
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