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About slot percentages

23 June 2019

Readers have long memories, and when they falter, the internet is there to refresh them.

At the very least, it seemed that way in early June when a reader e-mailed to remind me that way back in 2010, I’d written about mining the monthly revenue reports of state gaming boards and commissions to compare slot machine payback percentages at different casinos.

The reader is an Indiana player who said he couldn’t find the information in the state reports.

Different states release different details to the public. Nevada’s monthly reports break down returns by coin denominations, but not by individual casino. You can tell at a glance that in April, the casino win percentage on penny slots in downtown Las Vegas was 11.74% – an 88.26% payback – while on the Strip it was 11.79% for casinos and 88.21% for players.

New Jersey breaks down by casino, but not by coin denomination. The May report tells us the lowest casino win percentages were 8.4% at Harrah’s and 8.5% at Borgata – the state’s highest payback percentages at 91.6% and 91.5% respectively. But it does not tell us where penny slots paid the most or where dollar slots are king.

Illinois publishes one of the most detailed reports with breakdowns by casino AND coin denomination. Casino win percentages are listed for all casinos at all denominations. A glance tells us that in April, Par-A-Dice in East Peoria led the way with 89.35% payback on penny slots, Casino Queen in East St. Louis paid the most on quarters with 94.80% and Harrah’s in Joliet gave dollar players the highest return at 94.95%.

That brings us to Indiana and the reader’s original question. All the information is there to yield the same data Illinois provides, but you have to do a little arithmetic.

Coin in and casino win is listed for each casino at each coin denomination, but win percentages or payback percentages are not listed.

The report groups casinos into two regions – the five northern licensees on Lake Michigan, and six southern licensees on rivers.

Let’s use penny slots at the northern licensees as an example. Blue Chip in Michigan City in May had $71,339,213 wagered on its penny slots, and the casino win was $7,589,048. Divide the casino win by the wager total, then multiply by 100 to get to percent, and you’ll see the casino won 10.64% of the wagers. Subtract that from 100%, and the payback to players was 89.36%.

Other northern Indiana payback percentages were slightly lower – 88.60% at Majestic Star II and 88.39% at Majestic Star I in Gary, 88.11% at Ameristar in East Chicago and 88.09% at Horseshoe in Hammond.

Those interested in the full breakdown can use the same formula at each casino at each coin denomination.

A few notes on the reports:

  • Most states post monthly reports online. Search for the state of your choice and monthly gaming revenue reports. For example, you might search for “New Jersey Gaming Commission monthly revenue report.

  • Figures are casinowide totals and averages. A casino that returns 89% on pennies can have machines that pay a few percent less and others that pay a few percent more.

  • Payback percentages are by no means permanent. They change month to month, whether by random chance or by design with casinos changing the mix on their slot floors. Don’t take what you see in the reports as a hard and fast guide to what you’ll get now.

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski