Denominations Matter

One of the unique things about slots and slot machines is that the odds change depending on what denomination you're playing. If you're playing craps or roulette, blackjack or baccarat, the odds are the same whether you're playing at the $5 tables or the $100 tables.

It's a confirmable fact though that the slot machines with higher denomination wagers have higher payout percentages. Dollar slots pay out more than quarter slots, and five dollar slots pay out more than dollar slots. And $25 slots pay out more than $5 slots.
Casinos can afford to be more generous with their payout percentages on a higher dollar machine, because even with a higher payout percentage, they make more profit per spin in the long run. Here are some sample payout percentages that are pretty common based on different denomination machines:
Nickel Slots92.5%
Quarter Slots94.3%
Dollar Slots96%
Five Dollar Slots98.5%

Slot Machine Odds, Math, and Payout Percentages
Doing the calculations as to why higher payout percentages for higher denomination play makes sense for the casino is easy to do.
An average slot machine player will make 500 bets per hour. To calculate the casino's expectation, you multiply the number of bets by the amount of each bet. That's the total amount of money you've put in action. Then you multiply the house edge by the amount of money you've put in action to get the casino's expected win.

On a nickel machine, you multiply 5 cents times 500 bets, for $25 worth of action. 7.5% of $25 is $1.88.
On a quarter machine, you multiply 25 cents times 500 bets for $125 worth of action. 5.7% of $125 is $7.13.
On a dollar machine, you multipley $1 times 500 bets for $500 worth of action. 4% of $500 is $20.
On a five dollar machine, you multiply $5 times 500 bets for $2500 worth of action. 1.5% of $2500 is $37.50.

Those calculations make it pretty clear that it's very hard for a casino to NOT make a lot of money on higher denomination machines, even if they set the payback percentage much higher than at the lower denominations.


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