However reports have been emerging from Las Vegas that the payout probabilities of slot machines have got tighter – making it harder for players of slot machines to actually win.
Does that mean casinos are making more money from slot machines?
One interesting aspect from the analysis that has been completed on slot machines in Las Vegas is that even though casinos are paying out less to slot machine players, the amount of revenue that casino operators are generating from slot machines is either static or in decline.
Why is slot machine revenue in decline?
Analysts are suggesting that one of the reasons that slot machine revenue might actually be in decline is precisely because it has become harder for players to have a win when playing slot machines. The logic is that if a slot machine player has a bad experience while playing the slot machines (ie. they don’t have enough wins to make them feel as if they have got their money’s worth) then they are less likely to return to continue to play slot machines. They may move on to other forms of gambling or simply stop playing altogether. There is always a perception among gamblers that the odds are stacked against them, the evidence is starting to emerge that in terms of slot machines this perception may have been reality.
What other factors might be impacting slot machine performance?
While economic recovery seems to be on track in most major gambling markets (putting the current turbulence in China to one side), discretionary spend on gambling-related entertainment activities seems to be generally in decline. This means that consumers are either choosing to spend their entertainment budgets on other activities or alternatively they have reduced their overall spending on entertainment and the gambling sector as a whole is beginning to feel the impact of that.
What does the future hold for slot machines?
To try and entice new slot machine players and retain existing players, casino operators are looking to the machine developers to enhance the player experience. One of the new elements that we may soon begin to see in slot machines are a greater focus on skill-based games. Traditionally, slot machines have required no skill at all, simply triggering the wheels of the machine to spin (which now happens digitally) to randomly produce the result that determines whether or not a prize is payable. Skill-based games could begin to resemble arcade-style games that reward players for their performance on the tasks or challenges set by the game.
If you are a lover of slot machines then you may be concerned to think that your chances of winning have been surreptitiously reduced by casino operators. However slot machines remain an integral part of the entertainment offering of casinos around the world so no doubt they will be continually to look at ways to make slot machines as appealing as possible.