Slot Machine Myths Debunked

Slot machines are without a doubt one of the most popular casino games in the gambling arena – both on land and on the world wide web. However, slots are often associated with myths of unfairness and cheating of the player.

Taking a quick trip down memory lane to the days of the Wild West, there was actually an element of truth to these slot machine myths. In fact, rigging was rife. These days, if the slot game was produced by a Gambling Commission-approved provider, cheating is virtually impossible.

Crucially, we live in an age when jurisdictions and authorities exist to make sure players have a safe and fair gaming experience.

In this article, we are going to put some of those slot machine myths to bed by explaining the ins and outs of how slot machines work, and how they have progressed over the years.

The Days When Slots Could be Cheated

When it comes to online slots and even land-based; this question is perhaps one of the most ubiquitous slot machine myths around.

You see, slot players in the 1960’s might have gotten away with the old coin on a string trick (with a fair amount of success). But, these days casinos are a lot savvier and have systems in place to make this trick absolutely impossible, whether this be through the use of dozens if not hundreds of security cameras and even face recognition software.

Another way casino players used to cheat on slots was with the use of a magnet. They would try to stop the wheel from spinning at the right time, on the desired winning combination by attaching the magnet to the side of the machine. If successful, once the magnet had been removed, the machine would payout.

The magnet trick will not work anymore, because these days slots are built with sophisticated computer software, so they are no longer susceptible to this way of cheating fate.

So what about online casino slots? If you think about it this way – all of those multi-million pound gaming software companies wouldn’t be worth even half as much as they were if their games and slots were easily taken advantage of by players.

If you are still thinking about attempting to hack a slot – whether that’s at an online or land-based casino, then you’re better off reserving your energy for something else. Ultimately, it’s nigh on impossible and you could get into a lot of trouble trying!

Slot Machine Myth Old Bandit

Slot Machine Myth 1: Some Times of the day are Better Than Others

Some players feel certain that they win more on slots if they play during the day. Others feel they will be more likely to win when playing late at night. The logic being that they can collect the winnings of the people who have already played and lost during the day.

The simple fact that all slot machines are run using an RNG (Random Number Generator) means that the idea of the time of day making a difference to you winning is flawed.

The slot is simply not programmed to issue a payout after a specific amount of money has been played, it’s all random, and the RNG instructs the machine (land-based or online).

So with all that in mind, I think it’s pretty clear that there is no right or wrong time to play or win on the slot. 

A quick insight into RNG 

The simple premise of RNG is pretty easy to gain an understanding of.

In a nutshell, the software cleverly generates completely random and unpredictable numbers – so when a particular series of numbers comes up, the slot will payout.

You might see all of those symbols whizzing around on the screen in front of you, and think, surely it can be predicted if I stare at it for long enough?

The fact of the matter is that there’s a built-in and highly sophisticated computer program with complicated mathematics-based software, with some random chance thrown in.

Every second, whether or not the slot is being played, the microchips will be producing millions, if not billions of random number combinations.

Slot Machine Myth 2: Casinos are Rigged

False. More often than not casinos are not rigged. Although this is a prevalent concern amongst many gamblers, you should be aware that the gambling regulators of the world have done a very good job of setting casinos right and cleaning up the industry in its entirety.

Of course, there will always be crooked casinos who don’t run a clean business, subsequently fixing games to screw over the player. With that being said, these are few and far between. With hundreds and thousands of lawful casinos to choose from, this can be very easily avoided.

As long as you do a bit of research before you deposit any of your hard-earned money, you will be safe. Make sure each and every casino operator you are using is regulated and fully licenced by the Gambling Commission – or in Europe it might be a regulator like Malta Gaming Authority

If a casino doesn’t have these, simply move onto the next one. If you’re not careful, the alter ego of risk can sometimes be a disaster, so it’s important to always do your homework, especially when it comes to money.

Slot Machine Myth 3: The Casino can Control the Slots

False. Although it’s understandable to be suspicious that the casino might be rigged, especially in the midst of a losing streak (we’ve all been there) – the fact is, if the casino in question is a legitimate one with all relevant licences, then we can assure you that this casino is not rigged. 

On the contrary, there are heaps of regulatory safeguards in place to ensure the platform is above board. More about that later.

We can go as far as to say that there is absolutely no chance at all that the casino itself is able to control the outcome of your slot game experience. It’s not a wizard behind the curtain scenario, there are no secret switches and underhand advantages, like in the days of the infamous prohibition period, where powerful gangsters ran the casinos.

Once you have a basic understanding of how the slots actually work, you will quickly realise that no legitimate casinos will ever be able to control your game.

How do I know slots I’m playing aren’t rigged?

If there was a rigging system being used in the casino industry, particularly in the iGaming arena where you have hundreds of thousands of employees worldwide – it is a little far-fetched to think that there wouldn’t have been at least one whistleblower on such a huge conspiracy!  And forgetting the unlikelihood of such a plot, it would be extremely counter=productive for any casino or gaming company to take such an illegal risk.

Of course, slots are designed to give the house a slight edge, but this is normally only by a couple of percent, like with any business they need to make a profit to run smoothly.

This ‘edge’ brings us to the RTP. Every slot has one, and it will always tell you what percentage of your money you are going to have returned back to you. For those unaware, RTP stands for ‘’Return To Player’, and you will see it a lot whenever you are reading about casinos and gaming.

In theory, if the RTP on a slot is 95%, then over the course of time (billions of spins so to speak), you will get 95% of your stake back in winnings – whilst the casino will keep the remaining 5%. The casino needs to do this in order to make a profit in the long term, no matter what.

As a result of this, it would be unnecessary for a casino to not only risk its name but also commit a serious criminal act.

In some cases, a casino might be advertising a top-prize of 50,000x or more, but often, you might need to meet an enhanced bet size to be eligible. This depends on where you are playing, but the information will usually be stated in the terms and conditions, so it’s a good idea to check what the biggest win on your slot of choice is. 

In other words, although Gambling Commission casinos will not, and cannot cheat you – this doesn’t mean that you should be vigilant by reading through the platform’s terms. 

Crucially,  to avoid being stung, it is imperative that you only play with trusted game providers or casinos. It’s a sure-fire way to know you and your money are protected by law and regulation.

To give you an idea of some of the most reputable licensing bodies (outside of the UK) that keep slot machine developers and casinos in check – take a look at the list below:

  • Gibraltar Licensing Authority (GLA) 
  • Malta Gaming Authorities (MGA) 
  • Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) 
  • Swedish Gambling Authority (Lotteriinspektionen) 
  • Danish Gambling Authority

Slot Machine Myth 4: New Games are Better Than old Ones

This one isn’t as simple to answer. Some players go by a cash flow theory, whereby newer games on the market produce more frequent wins due to possibly attracting more players.

Whilst although in a way this isn’t completely nonsensical, due to the RNG this is very highly unlikely, given the fact the odds of winning are exactly the same whether the game is new or in the later stages of its life span.

For a casino to keep changing the RTP of a game it would be very time consuming, not to mention the costs involved in doing so. This would involve going through the whole certification process again. That’s not to say that the platform won’t alter the variance from time to time.

To do this they might increase the frequency of smaller wins, whilst lowering the frequency of those much sought-after big wins. As far as we are aware at least, there isn’t anything stopping developers doing such a thing.

You Can’t Improve Your Odds

True, well sort of. So everything you’ve read so far about slot machine myths is telling you that all slots are random. Whilst this is true, there are other factors which can help you.

Whilst the RNG is still very much in control of the numbers/combinations generated, there are still some ways you can select slots to play which may be a bit more favourable and easier to win.

You can still do a few things to give you a bit of an advantage, and a better chance of winning whilst playing slots. For example,  just one of the things you can do is to choose a slot with a high RTP percentage. 

Here are a few things to look out for when selecting a slot to play:

See how many payline options the slot has: The more paylines a slot has, the more ways you have to win. Of course, this will cost a little more, but you have more chance of getting a winning combination.

Check the RTP of the slot game: RTP, as discussed earlier, is shown as a percentage. You can use this to gain insight into how much you will win when the slot game pays out. The higher that percentage is, the more you will win back.

As a quick example; if your slot of choice has an RTP percentage of 98%, that means that for every £10 you play, you will win back £9.80. If your slot only pays an RTP of 92%, you would only win back £9.20, and so on. However, it’s not as simple as this, as the RTP rate is based across billions of hands!

Have a look at what bonuses the slot offers: They say variety is the spice of life, and we say the more bonuses the better. Of course, in-slot bonuses are still controlled by the RNG, but the simple fact is, the more free bonuses or spins etc a casino gives you, the more chances you have to win. 

Conclusion

Sometimes it’s better to accept that some things just have a logical explanation, and just like in life it’s down to chance, a bit of luck, and being in the right place at the right time.

The best way to win at slots is to be at least familiar with how they actually work, the mechanics if you will.

Slot machine myths are just that, myths. Just try to have fun with it, and know that whether it’s a lucky day or you’re having a bad run, the RNG will always ensure that your game is as random as the next players’.

Always be aware of your financial budget and limitations, and never underestimate the importance of understanding terms and conditions and pay tables.

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