Can Land-based & Online Slot Machines Be Rigged?

A question many slots players, and even those that don’t play slots, have asked is whether slots are, or could be, rigged? The truth is, casinos can rig slots, whether online or offline, but most do not simply because it’s not worth risking their reputation. 

By nature, slots are already designed to make the casino money, so there’s really no need to rig them. And establishments that do rig slots are those operating with no license or operate under corrupt licensing with no auditing. Your job as a slot player is to avoid this scenario by only playing at casinos that hold a reputable license. For example, players in US states with domestic licensing, such as Michigan, Nevada (land-based slots only), and New Jersey, have the most trustworthy slots playing environments in the world due to strict licensing frameworks that actively carry out regular audits.

Of course, even where licensing ensures casinos and developers cannot rig their slots, or at least they will get caught if they do, some players will still claim the slots they play are cheating them. However, when you dig deeper, the individuals in question rarely understand how video slots work.

Understanding how slots work

If you were to ask any regular slots player if they are in profit throughout their slot playing days, aside from a few lucky jackpot winners, most will tell you they are not, and there are a few simple explanations why this is.

If you research the information menus on video slots hosted at some of the best online casinos in the USA by scams.info, you will find the video slots provide details such as theoretical Return to Play (RTP), Random Number Generator (RNG) information and variance. These in-game parameters are there to educate players on the slot’s mechanics and what to realistically expect from the results produced. 

A brief explanation of how RTP on slots works 

Every business needs to make money and uses software tools to create an ROI. In essence, video slots are a software tool there to make money for the casino. Just like table games such as blackjack and roulette, slots have a house edge in favour of the casino. For slots, we know this as theoretical RTP. For an online slot, the average is usually 96%, meaning in the long run, the slot pays back 96% (RTP) to players and earns 4% (house edge) profit. In other words, the odds are set, so the casino will always win in the long run.

To achieve this RTP or house edge, developers use algorithms that deliver a certain number of symbols that, in theory, will combine only a certain number of times. That said, this doesn’t mean it is impossible to win a profit. Despite the clear definition of RTP, there are still some players that understandably claim the casino rigged the slot because it is not paying back 96% of their bets. Yet, there is another explanation for this.

How variance can make or break a session playing video slots

You may also hear the term variance explained as volatility depending on the slot developer. The most misunderstood concept of slot gameplay, and perhaps the key reason slot players feel a slot is possibly rigged. And this usually comes down to one particular style slot – high variance.

  • High Variance: These slots do not pay out often, but when they do, they pay big. On an off day, you could play for hours with no sizeable wins. However, when the slot eventually pays, the payout can wipe out hours of losses. 
  • Low Variance: By contrast, low variance slot payout little but often. They are far less likely to stir up a fuss because players are happy with the constant wins.

With high variance slots, some players may not have the patience for this style of gameplay and give up before that big payout. As a result, they may claim the RTP of 96% (for argument’s sake) is fake. Therefore, understanding the variance/volatility of the slot helps to debunk any claim of rigging. In the end, winning on slots is literally about being in the right place at the right time.

Each spin is independent of each other, which means you could land a big win on two consecutive spins, go a dozen spins winning nothing, or something in between the two. And this is all due to the RNG.

A simple explanation of RNG (Random Number Generator) Software

RNG algorithms spin through billions of ‌reel combinations per second and stop randomly on a combination when you press the spin button. The spin still occurs for entertainment. purposes, but the result is completely random. To guarantee the algorithm is in fact random, third-party companies such as eCogra and Gaming Laboratories International test and pass these algorithms to ensure they produce random results.

Wrapping it up – Are slots rigged?

They are not if you play at a reputable online casino with a verifiable license. The safety mechanisms put in place by licensing authorities such as the New Jersey Casino Control Commission (NJCCC) for land-based casinos and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) for online casino games require that casinos provide RTP, variance/volatility, and RNG information. Furthermore, the casino must record every bet and report payout percentages. These measures make it extremely difficult to rig video slots or physical slot machines in a licensed online casino. 

Now you understand that slots have a house edge in favour of the casino, you should never consider slots as a way to make money. Instead, you can find a different viable option to generate income from suggestions as such. However, you can still have fun playing them. Just be sure to always look for slots with higher RTPs, as theoretically these will return more money in the long term. Also, be aware of how variance/volatility works for each slot.

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