Hi, I’m Steve Bourie the author of the American casino guide, which is a number one bestselling book in the US on the subject of casino gambling and travel and the only book that comes with more than one thousand dollars in casino coupons. We’re here in Las Vegas at g2e, this is the Global Gaming Expo. It is the world’s largest trade show for the gaming industry.
Today, I’m going to interview Frank Legato, Frank is the editor of gaming. Business magazine and Frank also writes two gaming columns about slot machines for consumer publications. So let’s go in and see what Frank has to say on the subject of slot machines. I am here with Frank Legato Frank is the editor of global gaming business magazine, which is the largest trade publication for the gaming industry? He writes about slot machines.
He writes about the casino industry in South Africa in general and Frank also. He has a book how to win millions, playing progressive slots or lose trying and Frank’s written about slot machines for how many years now 26 Wow 26 years – and you know everything there is to know about progressive slots – yes, Except how to win on them. Yes. Well!
That’S funny because I I have a list of questions for you here and number one is: what is the secret to winning on a slot machine, Its dumb winning a slot machine is dumb luck. I mean you can’t guarantee yourself that you’re gon na win on a slot machine. Nobody can guarantee you a win.
The best you could do is minimize your chances of losing and the way you do. That is up by choosing the best games to play and choosing your bankroll accordingly bankroll your game accordingly. In other words, the best games to play are the. If you’re main goal is to win money, you’re probably best going with more traditional style games which have a lower house hold or a higher pay back percentage, higher pay back percentage means the house edge is lower, that’s what it translate into.
So if you can play a higher end game, a dollar game or higher, have the highest return overall and play them with a sufficient bankroll, and I’m talking for a dollar game at least a couple hundred dollars. That gives you a better chance to to wait out that 2 percent house edge and when you do win, you’re gon na win a lot bigger. Okay!
Well, let’s go to the basics! So when you walk up to a slot machine, what’s going on inside that machine, What’s going on inside that machine, is that there’s a computer program into which numbers have been entered for each possible symbol that can come up on a reel and for a blank that Can come on a reel, they all have a number assigned to them and then there’s duplication, the lower-paying symbols, the blanks have more numbers assigned to them to the same to the same positions. The jackpot symbols have a couple, you know one or two numbers assigned to them, and what’s going on, when you walk up to a slot machine is a random number. Generator program is generating all the numbers that have been entered into their program in a random sequence.
A hundred numbers a second, it’s generating a hundred numbers a second, so when you put money in it’s still generating those numbers until you hit the spin button or pull the handle, and at that instant, you do that. You push the spin button. The computer freezes this sequence of numbers that the RNG has generated at that instant and translates it into your reel result tells the reels where to stop. If you’re talking about a traditional game, you know or tells the video screen what to display, and it all happens in a fraction of a second. So that’s what’s happening when you walk up it’s generating those numbers at a hundred numbers a second and when you sit down your timing, when you push the button, will determine what reels what reel results you get? Okay!
So if push it at the right time, you’ll get a winner if you push it at the wrong time to get a loser. Yes, in other words, it’s luck. I mean you can’t determine what the right time is, there’s no way to determine when that random number generator is gon na come up with that great combination.
Alright, now people always hear about loose machines or tight machines. People refer to a casino. Oh, this casino has loose machines. Oh this casino has tight machines.
Now. Is there any truth to that? Yes, there is, I mean magazines like casino player, have logged it for years, and the casinos are generally commercial. Casinos are required to report their hold numbers to whatever regulatory authority is there and those hold numbers report how much of the wagers on slot machines were held by the casino as earnings.
But if you flip flop, those numbers, that’s a public record of the pay back percentage of how much of the slot wages have been given back to players in jackpots and those numbers can be logged and looked at. And you know what magazines like casino player and strictly slots do? Is they take those numbers and compare them between casinos in between casino jurisdictions? So you can see by historical record which casinos have given more back to their players than others, and you know generally what you’re going to find is those casinos are in North Las Vegas, the northern suburbs of Las Vegas, the western suburbs, just the outskirts of Las Vegas, the locals casinos Is a slot machine ever due to hit It’s impossible to know it’s impossible to know. No, it’s never do to hit because every spin is independent of every other spin. As far as what it’s going to do don’t forget, the RNG is generating numbers at a hundred times, a second hundred-numbers a second and it’s constantly generating those numbers.
So there’s no way of determining what number is gon na hit On a classic slot machine. There’S only a very small, you know: number there might be 8 paying combinations. There might be, you know. Maybe a hundred reel stops physical reel stops, in other words, physical spaces.
That can stop on that single payline. So there’s really it can cycle through the entire possibility of reel results. The entire possibility of jackpots or or losing spins can cycle through a couple a times between the time you hit the button once in the time, the next time you get the button. So there’s really no way of determining when a slot machine is due, It can a slot machine. Can, you know, can hit jackpots 10 times in a row and not hit jackpots for another. You know for another week, Okay, so another question along the same lines.
There are some players who say well, this machine hasn’t hit for a while it’s due to hit and then there’s people with just the opposite theory who say well, this machine’s been hitting for a while. So it’s a good machine to play because it’s gon na continue to hit So are either one of those are valid or invalid. What would you say, There’s really no way to determine whether a machine is going to hit on the next spin or not, regardless of what it’s done in the past past a results are no indication of what the future’s going to hold for any slot machine.
If a casino wants to change the payback percentage on a machine, they can do that and what is the procedure if they wanted to do something like that?
Yes, it’s perfectly legal to change a percentage, and you know the procedure right now. In ninety-nine point nine percentof, the casinos out there is, they have to buy a new chip and they have to have technicians, go out open the door. Take out one e-prom chip. It looks like a little brush put in another one and close the door and have a regulator there generally to verify the new pay-back percentage. That’S the way it’s done now now with server-based gaming coming in a few years.
They can do that they can change a game program remotely, but generally you know they have to still tell regulators ahead of time when the program is going to change now and generally, what they’re doing with the the initial applications out. There is not changing a percentage on the same machine. What they’re doing is they’re changing game styles. You know they’re changing denominations they’re, changing from pennies to nickles from pennies to quarters.
You know they’re completely changing the game, that’s in the same box and that’s what they’re doing remotely the pay-back percentages. The rules in place now say that you can’t change it while somebody’s playing you have to wait. Till machine has been idle for for for several minutes to change anything on it. How widespread is server-based gaming at this point? It’S still in the experimental stages. It’S still just being tried on a few banks of machines here and there at various casinos.
I just you know, did just moderated a couple panels on it as a matter of fact and what’s happening now is the casinos and the manufactures are working on new applications for the system and what they need to do with the applications is provide something for players That they don’t have now and something the players will enjoy. In other words, if the system’s don’t allow casinos to make more money, you know if the systems don’t drop, more players in and allow incremental revenue, then you know they’re just a convenience for the operator and they’re. You know they’re not go then there’s a big investment involved. They have to have an Ethernet equipped floor.
These are basically they’re setting up a local area network computer network for their slot floor and especially older casinos have to completely tear out their casino floor and equip it for for Ethernet thats, a big investment you’re talking so you’re talking big investments here and if there’s Not a big return on investment, it’s just not worth it and the way you get a big return on investment is providing players a play, experience that they don’t have with standard slot machines. If you had to give an estimate of how widespread you think, server-based gaming is right now, what percent of the casinos in the United States have it? What would be your best guesstimate, A fraction of one percent, not even a fraction of one percent? I mean it’s very small and a lot of the casinos, at least in North America. The vast majority of casinos that do have it are just having it on a bank or two and they’re trying it out and they’re seeing what kind of applications they can do. They can customize play experiences for players, in other words, if a high end player comes in they can they can as soon as he puts his player’s club card in his favorite, five games will appear on the screen.
You know and you can choose from that menu. That’S that’s one. That’S one way: it’s providing more value to players. I had one lady who told me that she her father was in the gaming business.
He was a slot manager and he had a little clicker in his pocket and he could go around and click it and change the pay back percentage on a progressive slots. Now you said before that that couldn’t happen. You have to open the door and it won’t happen with server based gaming either, because you have to actually provide regulators with a schedule of when you’re gon na change pay-back percentage. So they can look on their computer screens and make sure the new pay-back percentage is what you say. It is so you can’t just go around and you have the rule that you can’t change percentage.
You can change anything on a game while somebody’s playing. So all those rules are against it and I go back to the to the gaming license. Why would a casino risk its gaming license? Okay, just one last question: for you: what is your best advice for slot players Bankroll for the game that you’re gon na play? In other words, you might have to make sure you have enough to ride out that house edge. That’S on a slot machine.
If you know, if you sit down at a dollar machine with with a twenty, you know, you have to be extremely lucky extremely lucky to actually play that slot machine for a while. Hey it happens, you can make you can have thrown a twenty into a dollar machine and hit on the first round and then you play for a while. But you know really: you have to really know how that machines going to behave.
A traditional slot machine is gon na have dry, spells punctuated by big wins, so you plan for that eventuality. If you wan na play, if you’re, if, if you’re in it for entertainment, you can sit down at a multi-line penny machine and you can play for a long time on a small investment. You know so sit down with with twenty dollars but know in the end. You’Re, probably still going to lose but know that going in you know you you’ll be entertained and those people are playing for the it entertainment over. They already know that penny machines pay the lowest on the floor. They pay, usually, you know, usually you’re, giving away more.
Like 12 or 13 percent on a penny machine, as opposed to you, know, 10 or nine or on a dollar machine, maybe only two or three, so you know basically a know what could how your machine’s going to behave and bankroll accordingly, That’s my best. Alright sounds like good advice now. If people want to find out more about you or your book, where can they do that? The book is available on Amazon and it it was written in in 03, so it’s already kind of outdated, but you know you can go to our website today.