Are Slot Machines at Casinos Rigged?
If you ask 10 people, “Are slot machines rigged” you'll get 10 different answers. It doesn't matter whether they visit casino floors regularly or not. Everyone seems to have an opinion about the fairness of the games.
The general consensus is that casinos rig certain machines or at least place them strategically to extract as much money from players as possible. To anti-gambling communities, casinos are the pinnacle of evil corporations set out to exploit the uninformed gamblers.
How much truth is there? Are slot machines rigged for real? In this investigative post, we're about to find out.
Slots Machines are Rigged from the Factory (Legally)
If you're a regular gambler, you must've heard of the house edge. But you're more likely to encounter RTP promises from different brick-and-mortar and online casinos.
Well, both the RTP and house edge are 2 sides of the same coin. The former depicts how much of your bet you can expect to win back, while the latter depicts how much the casino will get every time you spin the reels.
House Edge is a regulator-approved concept. No matter what game you play, how long you play it, and what kind of strategies you apply, the house edge will remain the same.
So, if the house edge is something to go by, you're not wrong to claim that all casinos have rigged slot machines.
Do Casinos Cheat Players with Machines?
One of the main concerns of players is that the casinos are cheating them regularly. You can't call out the house edge as cheating because everyone knows about it. When you play a game, you agree to the edge by default.
The real question is, do casinos rig slot machines to give even less to the players? The answer can be both yes and no.
It's possible for you to encounter a rigged slot machine only when you play unregulated machines. It might be at an illegal casino in the basement of a nightclub or a gambling hall in a shady area of the town.
These establishments have no overseeing authority, which means there is no one to test how rigged are slot machines there. And you can't complain to law enforcement about it because playing at these joints is also a crime.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have licensed casinos. Gambling laws are very strictly enforced in all countries that allow gambling. Obtaining a license is expensive, and the operators are under scrutiny by the regular throughout the year.
So, they don't really have the luxury to place rigged slot machines. If they do, it won't be long before the watchdog hunts them down and suspends all activity. No legal casino wants this kind of negative press when they already have the house edge to secure profits.
You'd be glad to know that regulators protect player interests by implementing a minimum RTP. It can range anywhere between 80% to 90% depending on what jurisdiction you're looking into.
Are Online Slot Machines Rigged?
If you primarily play at online casinos, it's a lot easier to question the legitimacy of the games, especially if it's an offshore casino. But there are definitive ways to tell if the casino has rigged slot machines or not.
A License to Avoid Shady Casinos
Thanks to the development in internet technology, anyone can whip up an online casino by creating a website and integrating APIs from the game providers. You'll find thousands of casinos lurking in the shadows of the internet, trying to rob people with their rigged slot machines.
While it's easy to get a casino up and running, obtaining a license is not. There are only reputable licensing authorities for international online gambling, and they have very stringent policies.
If you've read other guides on Slotsmentor, you must've noticed how we always recommend playing at licensed online casinos. An online license offers the same benefits to players. The casino's revenue is under constant monitoring for ill practices and money laundering.
What we're trying to say here is that as long as you play at licensed online casinos, you are safe from the wrath of rigged slot machines.
3rd Party Audits Enhance the Security
A license is already a good indication that the games are fair. To take things one step further, many operators employ 3rd party auditors. Organizations like iTech Labs, Gaming Laboratories International (GLI), and eCOGRA are known for their prowess against unfair online casinos.
In case you're not aware, these organizations monitor the outcomes of offered games at an online casino. They look for inconsistencies in the outcome and compare them to the advertisement. They also submit reports regularly to the licensing authorities to keep everyone on the same page.
If you see a seal of approval from one of the 3rd party auditors in the iGaming industry, you can expect that none of the slot machines are rigged.
How Do Casinos Rig the Slot Machines?
We've already established that it's highly unlikely for legitimate online casinos to offer rigged slot machines. At the same time, we know that the internet is filled with unregulated casinos that may rig their machines.
The question is, how are slot machines rigged?
Well, if you know the construction of a slot, you may know about the random number generator (RNG). A functional RNG will generate random outcomes independent of any external factors. All slot games at land-based and online casinos have RNGs that power them.
So, for a casino to rig slot machines, rigging the RNG is the low-hanging fruit. RNGs usually start generating results with a seed value. The seed is the true random variable that allows RNGs to work. If the casino knows how to manipulate the seed, it can manipulate the game outcome.
Can You Rig a Slot Machine?
It's very unlikely that you can learn how to rig a slot machine in this day and age, especially at brick-and-mortar casinos. Since the beginning, players have tried all kinds of tricks to hack a slot machine, only to fail.
Compared to older technology, newer innovations are much better and faster at detecting any mishaps on a machine. Not only that, but the machines can notify the appropriate authority instantly.
As for online casinos, it's theoretically possible to rig a slot machine. But the kind of technical expertise you need to pull it off is unreasonable for regular players. If you have those kinds of skills, you're better off using them for something more productive.
Even if you manage to rig an RNG remotely, chances are high that you won't be able to extract much from it. The 3rd party auditors or the licensing authority will notice that the outcomes are not what they're supposed to be. As a result, they'll run a check, and you'll lose access to the RNG.
Are Slot Machines Rigged in Vegas?
If you're questioning, “are slot machines in Vegas rigged” the answer is no. Las Vegas casinos are regulated by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, one of the hardest-to-please regulators in the history of gambling.
All casinos that operate under a license from NGCB have to prove strict compliance to maintain it. The authority will suspend the license if it sees any signs of unfair practice.
Another reason Vegas casinos don't rig their slot machines is the fierce competition. After all, it's the most famous gambling destination in the world. If a player feels that the games are not fair, they can just walk out of the casino and enter another one.
From what we've seen, all casinos in Vegas maintain a good balance between the RTP and house edge to keep the players coming back. The reality of the matter is that the longer they can keep a player engaged, the more money they can make. Rigging the machines doesn't allow it to happen.
Do Casinos Shuffle Machine Positions?
It may have been true 50 years ago when casino managers only had to deal with 50 to 100 machines. A modern casino floor contains thousands of machines. It logistically doesn't make any sense for the managers to keep shuffling machines around.