A trip to a casino can be a great way to relax, spend some time with friends, and, most importantly, have some fun. Playing online for real money or simply at your local casino offers a chance for some entertainment and possibly a big win. Seeing those reels line up perfectly can make for an ever-better trip, hopefully with plenty of dollars heading your way. However, losing streaks are a part of life for any gambler leaving some to ask the simple question: Are slot machines rigged? The simple answer is no, although technical glitches can be a problem at times and do occur. However, modern legal regulations and computer technology make it difficult to “rig” not to pay out at all. WHY SLOTS AREN’T RIGGED “These slots are rigged and just never pay out.” That may be something many slot players hear when taking a seat at a casino in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or even just in their local area. Perhaps you’ve muttered these words of frustration even when playing a slot game online or on a mobile device. A losing streak can seem like you’re never going to hit not just a jackpot, but not even smaller winners. The truth is that despite those feelings of exasperation, slot games aren’t rigged. The legitimate gaming industry just doesn’t work that way. All legalized live and online casinos are governed by gaming boards which set regulations that all properties must follow. These groups are responsible for ensuring that all players are guaranteed a fair game. Casinos must follow these regulations or they face large fines or other major penalties for violating them. Casinos could even risk losing their license, which cost companies huge sums of money. These properties have little incentive in trying to rig a slot machine to cheat customers – especially when the house already has an edge in slot games and most other games. On the contrary, most casinos enjoy celebrating big winners. These properties and online casinos regularly publicize major jackpot winners. This helps get more players in the doors when they see others striking it big. Also on this note, any casino caught rigging slot machines risks ruining its reputation with players. But as noted earlier, no casino has to worry about rigging any slot game – these properties already have a built-in house edge. Although players can hit some nice wins, the casino is the winner in the long run. SLOT TECHNOLOGY & RNG Beyond the fact that casinos must deal with regulatory agencies to operate, the nature of modern slot machines makes it extremely difficult to rig a slot. Today’s slot manufacturers make use of high technology when designing video and digital slots, both the casino versions and online and social gaming slots. These slots are now basically high-tech computers with sophisticated programming and features. In fact, unlike early slots, the reels, whether real or digital, are solely dependent on the programming inside the machine and not any mechanics. In the old days, a person pulling a lever was actually spinning the reels on the machine through his or her own action. Some modern slots even have these levers for those who wish to play a little “old school.” However, these devices merely serve as a little window dressing. Modern slots make use of algorithms and random number generators to determine a winner. This sophistication makes it virtually impossible for someone to “rig” these games. Online and social gaming slots follow similar setups. These machines go through millions of outcomes instantaneously as a player pushes the “spin” button. The lever on the machines of today doesn't really spin the reels, it simply triggers exactly what that spin button does. The random number generator, also known as an RNG, actually determines a winner. This determines which symbols appear when a player makes a spin, based on those algorithms and the computer’s extensive programming. Because of all this technological wizardry, rigging a slot machine to never pay out is extremely unlikely. And when someone is winning, these same players never question if the machine is rigged and paying out too much or too often. As most people know, however, there are times when technology can go haywire. Errors in awarding jackpots do occur (more on that below). But with today’s modern games, players can feel secure that they aren’t being cheated and don’t have to worry about rigged slots. PAYOUT PERCENTAGES While wins and losses on slots can be rigged overall, the number of certain machines can be manipulated. This is a normal part of business for machines. Perhaps you’ve heard a casino lauding its “loose slots” and letting customers know a percentage of the money goes back out to players. This is known as payout percentage and is a regular part of the casino industry. Is this really “rigging” a slot? Not really. Casinos and slot manufacturers can only determine the percentage of all coin-in to machines returned to players. And this concept of payout percentage is generally applied to all of a casino’s slots, depending on stakes. Casinos can’t manipulate individual slots to determine that they don’t pay out. Payout percentages simply tell a player the amount a casino keeps on average of all money put into the machines. For example, a casino with a 92% payback keeps 8% of all money inserted into their machines. Rather than seeing this as a negative, players can find these payout percentages online and choose to play at properties that offer higher payout percentages. This gives players a better chance at winning. Some properties are even broken down by denomination, allowing you to find the stakes you enjoy playing for and the best place to play. Reading up a bit offers players some added knowledge, hopefully on the road to a jackpot. Slot Machine Errors & Malfunctions With any piece of technology, errors can and do occur. From programming errors to mechanical problems, there have been plenty of headlines from these unfortunate situations – often to the anger of players who thought they were winners. Here’s a look at a few of those situations. Slot errors Imagine you’ve been playing at a slot for a bit, maybe you’ve been a progressive machine for a half hour or so. You win a few spins here and lose a few spins here. And then it happens – everything comes together and you see every symbol lined up perfectly. A mega jackpot is heading your way and your life is changed. That’s a dream of many slot players. But sometimes a computer glitch can leave players angry and even taking a casino to court. That’s what happened in 2011 when Illinois grandmother Pauline McKee appeared to hit a $41.8 million jackpot while playing at Isle of Capri Casino in Waterloo, Iowa. The machine said she’d won 185 credits, or around $1.85. However, the game also noted that she’d won almost $42 million. Casino management said the machine had malfunctioned and that McKee actually didn't win the jackpot. The game only advertised a maximum prize of $10,000. The casino noted that the payout amount was the result of a software malfunction and refused the payout. The issue eventually wound up in court and McKee’s attorneys noted that it was the casino’s responsibility to repair the machine after being notified of faulty payout awards. “The slot machine’s manufacturer had notified the casino of the possibility of a multi-million-dollar error,” Iowa Public Radio noted. “McKee argued since the casino didn’t fix the game, she should get the money.” In the end, the Iowa Supreme Court sided with the casino in 2015 and ruled the slot-loving grandmother was entitled to only the $1.85 win and not the $42 million. That certainly stings and these types of incidents make news from time to time. As noted, however, this isn’t a case of rigging a slot but simply a malfunction. Paperwork Pain This next scenario has less to do with the machine and more to do with the appropriate paperwork involved with winning a jackpot at a casino. In January 2019, Cynthia Obie hit a jackpot for thousands of dollars at MGM National Harbor in Maryland. As in these cases, the happy winner had to provide the casino with some of her personal details to meet tax requirements to secure her winnings. Casino employees are required to enter her information in a state database and they did that as regulations spell out. However, a typo was entered when adding in Obie’s social security number. The number entered into the database was one digit off. That’s where the jackpot controversy began. “The person whose number they plugged into the database apparently owed the state of Maryland a lot of child support, and Obie’s winnings were immediately confiscated,” TV station FOX-5 notes. All of the winner’s children were adults and Obie had never had to pay child support in her life. As with many incidents involving governmental bodies, reversing the error wouldn’t come quickly. She was forced to work directly with the gaming commission in hopes of finally getting her jackpot and the issue resolved. “We are aware of this unfortunate error and have taken the necessary steps to assist Ms. Obie in rectifying this issue,” the casino said in a statement to FOX-5. “Due to MLGCA rules and Maryland state law, we cannot provide an additional payout for this jackpot, however, if she presents the proper identification credentials to the Maryland Gaming Commission, they will provide her with the appropriate payout. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused Ms. Obie.” This may not have been a rigged slot, but that missing money probably felt like quite a ripoff. No word on when she received that payout, but it seems likely the delay was eventually ironed out. This could be a lesson for all slot players. When you do hit that big jackpot, double-check and make sure casino officials enter your data correctly – and make sure you pay any child support as well, obviously. Missed Jackpot Not every slot machine malfunction costs a player his money. This next anecdote shows that slots aren’t rigged and casinos and gaming commissions work to resolve issues that should have paid out a six-figure jackpot but didn’t. In January 2022, Robert Taylor dropped into Treasure Island to play some slots, he was on vacation from Arizona and apparently should have been awarded a jackpot while playing. A game malfunction, however, didn’t display his big win on the machine. Before casino officials could correct the error and award Taylor his money, he left the casino. The property tried to find this “lucky” gambler but wasn’t able to track him down. That’s when the enforcement division of the Nevada Gaming Control Board got involved. Investigating agents reviewed hours of security footage spoke with witnesses, and reviewed rideshare data in an attempt to determine who the player was. After a thorough review of all the evidence, investigators contacted Taylor a few weeks later letting him know the good news. “I can’t remember a time when we’ve done this before and I just can’t imagine somebody walking away from a machine,” the Control Board’s enforcement division chief James Taylor told FOX Business. “And it wasn’t his fault. The machine truly did have a communication error.” The winner couldn’t believe the news that he’d actually won $229,369. Enforcement chief James Taylor couldn’t remember a similar case in his 30 years with the gaming board. Taylor told FOX Business: "It was quite shocking to him to get a call a few weeks later and say, ‘By the way, you actually did win that money.’” WHAT TO DO IF A GAME FEELS “RIGGED” Obviously, slots aren’t rigged, but a player’s attempt to win can come up short – sometimes over and over again. When this happens, simply moving to another machine might be in order. Here are a few other things to consider: Switch to lower limits. Take a break or get something to eat. Take and walk or look at some other entertainment options. If you suspect a slot malfunction or error, alert casino staff. It’s important to remember that slot machine play should be fun. If things aren’t going your way, perhaps it’s simply time to take a break or end the trip. Live to fight another day. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Are slot machines rigged? No, jackpots, wins, and losses are based on computer programming within the game. All live and online slots use a random number generator to determine winners. Can slots have errors and malfunctions? Yes errors do occur but are more to do with machine and software errors than casino staff attempting to rig a slot machine. Why wouldn’t a casino rig a slot machine? Casinos already have a house edge and have no incentive to rig a machine even if they could. Properties are under strict gaming commission regulations and could face serious fines and legal issues for violating them. Casinos, both live and online, could also face major reputational issues if caught in some kind of controversy like this. In essence, casinos have no motivation to attempt rigging a slot machine.
Every slot machine player dreams of hitting it big – lining up those reels exactly right to see those bells and whistles go off signifying a massive jackpot win. Winning a few thousand dollars can be a great feeling, but for some those figures can be even higher. For an even luckier group, those winnings even go way beyond a six-figure jackpot. These players have defied the odds and scored some of the biggest amounts ever seen by slot machine winners. Here’s a look at some of the biggest slot machine winners in history: 1 – Excellence at Excalibur Location: Excalibur, Las Vegas Game: Megabucks Winning amount: $39.7 million This massive score came in 2002 making a nice Vegas vacation so much better. This lucky slot player hit it big after putting just $100 into the machine. That was quite a score and certainly made for a nice Vegas vacation. Bonus Bucks: The lucky player agreed to receive his winnings in 25 annual installments. That means another few years of getting some big checks in the mail. 2 – Keeping Cool in the Desert Location: Desert Inn, Las Vegas Game: Megabucks Winning amount: $35 million Cynthia Jay Brennan was a 37-year-old cocktail waitress who joined her boyfriend for some slot play to celebrate his mother’s birthday. After only an hour of play, she became extremely hot at the Desert slots. She hit it big for a cool $35 million, certainly much more than she'd ever earn in tips serving drinks. Sadly, not long after her win, she and her sister were stopped at a red light when they were struck by a drunk driver. Her sister was killed instantly and Brennan was paralyzed from the chest down. Since the accident, she’s worked to help others by donating more than 1,000 wheelchairs to others in need. Bonus Bucks: Despite her massive good fortune, Brennan showed some real commitment to her job and still showed up for work the next day after her jackpot win. 3 – Retirement Riches Location: Palace Station Casino, Las Vegas Game: Megabucks Winning amount: $27.6 million This slot player became real royalty at the Palace Station, a local casino in the Las Vegas area. The 67-year-old woman had recently retired and was a longtime Vegas resident. She hit it big while playing a dollar machine with her husband. Despite the big score, the new millionaire wasn't planning on making any major purchases. “I don't know what I'm going to do,” she told the Las Vegas Sun about her big win. “I have no big wish list -- maybe some travel that we had not already planned. I have not notified the jewelers or the car people. It will brighten my life. But my life was good before. I was just in the right place at the right time.” Bonus Bucks: The former flight attendant planned to only wager $100 on the machine, but decided to drop an additional $100. The big win came just $40 into that second hundred. 4 – A Mad Win Location: Online Game: Absolutely Mad Mega Moolah Winning amount: $23.6 million Online slots have become one of the fastest-growing sectors in gaming. This score from April 2021 now checks in as the largest online slot jackpot in history. A Belgian player scored $23.6 million after wagering only €15 wager. “The feeling at that moment is just indescribable,” the new millionaire said after the win. “At first you can hardly believe it and I think it will take a long time to sink in completely. It was on my last spin that it happened.” Bonus Bucks: The Absolutely Mad version of Mega Moolah is an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. No doubt this winner was grinning like the Cheshire Cat. 5 – Even More Mega Moolah Location: Online Game: Mega Moolah Winning amount: $23.5 million This lucky player also cashed in on a Mega Moolah game in September 2018. The player’s country of origin remains unknown, but the manufacturer confirmed a gigantic win on its popular online slot game. The game has awarded numerous jackpots and the name certainly fits. Bonus Bucks: The big win earned recognition by Guinness World Records at the time. 6 – Big Finnish Location: Online, Scandinavia Game: Mega Fortune Winning amount: $24 million The luck of the Finnish? That may not be the expression but was certainly the reality on Jan. 20, 2013, when an online player from Finland bet 25 cents to win this gigantic eight-figure payday. This progressive slot game registered a 100,000,000X return on investment. Bonus Bucks: Perhaps this player may have gotten a bit tired of the cold weather. That $24 million score could easily afford an extra $7 million Italian-style villa on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca complete with pool, jacuzzi, views of the golf course, and located just minutes from the beach. It’s a good bit spending even half that would probably bring a pretty nice getaway home as well. 7 – Banking Big at Bally’s Location: Bally’s, Las Vegas Game: Megabucks Winning amount: $22.6 million Memorial Day turned out to be quite a holiday for Johanna Heundl in May 2002. Things hadn't gone too well when the 74-year-old retired printer from Covina, California, decided to take in some slot play at Bally’s Casino on the Vegas Strip. She was already down $177, but things turned around quickly. Heundl originally thought she’d hit a smaller, yet still nice, jackpot of $2 million. She was quickly corrected and couldn't believe her good fortune. "Everybody said, no – it's $22 million,” she recalled after learning of the much larger sum. “I still can't believe it.” Bonus Bucks: At the time of her win, Heundl had been on her way to breakfast but stopped to play a bit. She usually visited Las Vegas five or six times a year with some friends. Her husband and son were both deceased, however. When no one could make the trip with her in 2002, she decided to go it alone after Bally’s sent her two free hotel rooms for her birthday. That turned out to be quite a celebration. 8 – Doubling Down on Jackpots Location: Cannery Casino, North Las Vegas Game: Megabucks Winning amount: $21.1 million Why win just one huge jackpot when you can win two? That was the case of 92-year-old World War II veteran Elmer Sherwin in 2005. The Las Vegas area local scored this massive jackpot for more than $21 million. But this wasn’t his first big win on a Megabucks machine. In 1989, Sherwin landed a $4.6 million jackpot at the Mirage in Las Vegas. The lucky man described it as his life’s dream to win a jackpot for a second time. The odds of winning the game’s grand prize is less than one in 10 million. Bonus Bucks: "I'm glad I finally hit,” Sherwin said after the second jackpot. “I've been trying to do it again.” Most slot players would settle for just one of those massive wins. Checkout Jackpot Party's most famous Vegas slots: 9 – Hail Caesar Location: Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Game: Megabucks Winning amount: $21 million Another Las Vegas gambler hit it big at one of the city’s premier resorts in June 1999. The 49-year-old man from Illinois man may have been planning his own trip to Rome after crushing this Herculean jackpot. A self-employed business consultant, the lucky winner dropped 10 bucks in the machine and saw those Megabucks symbols line up just right on his first spin. That’s some luck indeed. "This is just the greatest feeling in the world," Caesars Palace Vice President of Slots Mike Tomasello said at the time. "A player comes in, puts $10 in the machine's bill acceptor and 'Bingo!' with the first pull he wins $21 million. He's set for life." Bonus Bucks: After winning such a big jackpot, staff moved in quickly to rope off the area as crowds gathered. Casinos try to give these big winners some space – many times other slot players hope to touch the big winner for luck. 10 – Late Night Knockout Location: Online, Norway Game: Arabian Nights Winning amount: $17.3 million Just 20 years old and probably set for life. That was the case in 2011 when a student in Norway decided to give an online slot a few spins after watching a movie. That decision not to go straight to bed paid off in a big way. No doubt he became quite a big man on campus. “It was just impossible to sleep, and I am shaking and sweating,” the Norwegian man said after his life-changing turn of luck. “I haven't thought about what to do with the winnings. I need to try and calm down before even thinking of what I do with the money!” Many slot players can surely relate to those sentiments. Bonus Bucks: This lucky winner was already making some good decisions about his future. Shortly after his win, he’s reported to already have been working with a financial consultant to make his winnings last for the long run. 11 – Soldiering on for the win Location: Online, United Kingdom Game: Mega Moolah Winning amount: $17.2 million Mega Moolah paid off in a big way in October 2015 for 26-year-old Jonathon Heywood from Cheshire, UK. The British soldier was playing 25 pence per spin when he hit the life-changing jackpot. "I couldn’t believe that I’d won all this money at the time – and it still hasn’t sunk in," Heywood said after his win. The win was particularly well-timed as Heywood’s father was awaiting a heart and lung transplant. “The first thing I will spend it on is the best possible medical treatment for my dad,” he said. “That’s more important than anything. Family comes first and I’d give all this money back for him to be healthy again.” Heywood also planned a Mediterranean cruise for his family after the win and upgrading his car to a yellow Bentley Continental GT. Bonus Bucks: Amazingly, Heywood has just deposited £30 at an online casino for the first time when he began playing Mega Moolah. The jackpot turned up just seven minutes after he started playing. 12 – ‘M’ for Mega Jackpot Location: M Resort, Henderson (Las Vegas area) Game: MegaBucks Winning amount: $17.3 million A lucky visitor to this casino in December 2012 didn’t even realize he’d won a jackpot, but quickly became aware when a fellow gambler pointed out his big win. The eight-figure sum certainly made for a nice holiday season and topped another big Vegas MegaBucks jackpot earlier in the year at the Aria for $12.7 million. Bonus Bucks: Casino comps often mean a few free extras for a gambler. In this case, taking advantage of those may have led to a multi-million prize. The lucky winner took advantage of a free play and food voucher before hitting it big at M Resort. The meal that night may have been quite a party. 13 – Birthday Surprise Location: Aria, Las Vegas Game: MegaBucks Winning amount: $12.8 million A woman visiting this stellar casino on the Las Vegas Strip for her niece’s birthday gave herself quite a gift as well to the tune of almost $13 million. Her path to the jackpot seemed to come on a whim. Maybe she had a premonition? “I was on my way to my room when I saw this machine and decided to play,” she said after the win. Initially, the player thought the game had malfunctioned. However, her niece was quick to provide some excellent news – she was a new millionaire. No doubt the birthday girl received quite a birthday present that year. Bonus Bucks: Many jackpot dreamers imagine buying a fancy car, dream vacation, or a palatial new home on the beach. This lucky winner was a bit more practical however. She simply hoped to use a chuck of her winnings to pay off her current mortgage. 14 – Going Downtown Location: Fremont, Las Vegas Game: Megabucks Winning amount: $11.8 million Downtown Las Vegas is a trip back in time, a Sin City or yesteryear with plenty of interesting properties and people. A stroll into the Fremont Casino paid off big for Rodolfo T. in August 2017. The California man was on vacation and a $3 bet turned into a life-changing turn of events. The lucky gambler was playing the IGT Megabucks Double 3X4X5X slot and made the maximum bet on the machine. That obviously proved to be the right choice at the right time. Bonus Bucks: The Fremont is a big part of Las Vegas’s history and when it opened in 1956, the property was the tallest building in the state of Nevada. 15 – Big Check to Cash Location: Online, country unknown Game: Mega Moolah Winning amount: $11.6 million In 2016, a woman named D.P. passed some time playing some slots on her cell phone while her husband was cooking dinner. Just as he announced that it was time to eat, D.P. has a big announcement of her own. She’d hit a massive jackpot after playing for just a few minutes. “I started screaming, crying, and running all around the house!” she said. “It’s incredible! Not possible! Could I be a multi-millionaire?” The couple called the online casino to confirm that what she was seeing was indeed real. Afterward. She and her husband retired and planned a big vacation for the family. Bon voyage, indeed. Bonus Bucks: D.P. told media outlets that she’d always dreamed of making $1 million somehow. She’d been reading a self-help book that set if someone puts their mind to something that the universe will eventually make it happen. After reading the book, she wrote a check for a millions bucks to herself and tacked it to her wall as inspiration. The rest is history.
6 October, 2022
Gambling seems to have always been a part of the human experience – from the Roman Empire to modern casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. And the notion of luck has been a huge part of the gambling life. Luck is certainly in the eye of the beholder, but after centuries of betting on sports, dice, playing cards, and of course, slot machines, differing symbols and artifacts have come to be synonymous with the idea of luck. From a rabbit’s foot and horseshoes to clovers and rainbows, these and numerous other icons have come to symbolize good luck. While some choose to believe and others just bank on these for fun, many at least recognize the need or desire for some luck when hitting a casino or online gaming site. Lucky charms and symbols are even incorporated into many slot machines, enticing players with an opportunity to hit it big. Here’s a quick look at some of the lucky charms and symbols one might experience either playing slots in a casino, online, or on a social gaming site. This article explains the history and importance of the most popular lucky charms and symbols and explains how they are still relevant to slot players. Keep reading to learn everything you’ll need to know about some of the most common and popular lucky charms and symbols for slot players. Keep an eye out for some of these next time you head to the casino or play that real money or social slot game on a phone or mobile device. NATURE SYMBOLS & NUMBERS Symbols from nature have proven to be popular for centuries for those seeking a bit of luck when hitting the casino. Here’s a look at a few common symbols. Clovers & Shamrocks Chances are you’ve seen clovers and shamrocks in many casinos and slots. Some Irish-themed casinos even incorporate these into the decor of the property. Why are these small green plants considered lucky? The four-leaf variety is not only rare, but for hundreds of years, the Irish saw them as being even luckier for those who found one. The four leaves themselves were said to represent faith, hope, love, and success. Four-leaf clovers are considered lucky for their rarity,” Parade magazine notes. “In the Middle Ages, it was believed by some Celtic groups that wielding a four-leaf clover would help you see fairies, as well as to ward off evil spirits, and grant the holder good luck. Lucky qualities: seeing spirits and fairies, warding off evil spirits, magical protections Bonus spin: Famed author John Melton may have been one of the first to mention the luck of a four-leaf clover. He wrote in the 1600s: “If a man walking in the fields find any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.” Rainbows Seeing a rainbow, or better yet a rare double rainbow brings a smile to the faces of most people. These bright multi-colored spectacles may seem like a mystical phenomenon but are in fact a part of the real world. For that reason, along with their rarity, many cultures may see them as lucky. It’s easy to see that connection to using these symbols in modern slot machines. These natural displays of a light spectrum have been featured in numerous mythologies and cultures including Celtic, Greek, Norse, Christianity, Buddhism, and more. These beautiful specters naturally appear as symbols of good luck – hopefully at a slot as well. Lucky qualities: hope, promise, transition, peace, equality Bonus spin: Much of rainbows’ lucky charms can also be attributed to the Irish, where legend has it one could find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Sevens (777) Numbers play a role in luck in many cultures. Friday the 13th is considered a spooky day where things can go completely wrong. Some elevators don’t even have a 13th floor. Many people have a lucky number also, but 7s are synonymous with luck in a casino and especially at slot machines. This superstition seems to run across many cultures, especially in religious contexts. Lucky number 7 is even the basis for many myths and folklore,” Reader’s Digest notes. “Ancient beliefs from around the world believed that the seventh son of the seventh son would be gifted with magical powers (both good and evil). In the Bible, scholars claim that God created the world in six days and used the seventh day to rest. There are also seven heavens in Islam and Judaism. In Confucianism, the number represents harmony made up of yin, yang, and the five elements. Hindus believe there are seven higher worlds and seven underworlds in and in Buddhism, the newborn Buddha takes seven steps. Lucky qualities: harmony, magical powers, the afterlife, good fortune Bonus spin: This lucky number even had some influence on James Bond author Ian Femimg. Apparently, 2, 5, or 8 wouldn't work for the spy’s secret code – 007 seemed a much better fit. PHYSICAL THINGS & CULTURES Some physical objects can also be held as a symbol of luck and incorporated into gambling imagery as well. Here’s a look at a few as well as an entire country and culture that are often related to being lucky. Horseshoes These symbols have come to signify a lucky turn of events or need for a nice stroke of fortune. This symbol also fits well with horse race wagering. It’s believed this lucky charm dates back to the 8th Century. The Chaldeans, who trace their roots to ancient Babylon, believed the crescent shape represented various moon goddesses and protected against the curse of the evil eye. Horseshoes were even featured on slot machine inventor Charles Fey’s first slot machine, the Liberty Bell, which was manufactured in 1899. Lucky qualities: warding off evil spirits Bonus spin: Others believe horseshoes’ luck comes from St. Dunstan, the patron saint of blacksmiths. He’s believed to have tricked the devil, shoeing Satan’s own cloven hoof with great force and pain. Rabbit’s feet How many poor rabbits lost their lives in the pursuit of luck? That might not be known, but carrying these devices on keychains remains popular for many seeking some positive vibes. Some historians believe Celtic tribes believed rabbits could communicate with gods and spirits because they spent so much time underground. In turn, someone carrying a rabbit's foot could do the same. By the 1600s, some believed these lucky charms could stave off ailments like arthritis as well. Some believe that notion comes from the “Hand of Glory” in the Middle Ages, which involved pickling the left hand of an executed man and keeping it for good fortune. The rabbit’s foot token of luck continues into modern times for some as well. Lucky qualities: warding off evil spirits; keeping good health. Bonus spin: Luckily for those poor bunnies, many rabbit feet now are artificially manufactured. Gold Along with being synonymous with wealth, gold seems to have taken on a sense of luck on its own. Many see wearing gold as lucky, but the idea of this may have deeper roots in the U.S. and Canada In the 19th Century. Americans from all parts of the country headed west to be part of the quickly-growing gold mining trade. Those seeking their fortunes traveled to areas like California, Nevada, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Alaska, British Columbia, the Klondike, and more. Gold fever brought many hoping for some success. Gambling halls also sprouted up in these areas as well, serving miners with plenty of cash looking to play some cards, dice, or roulette. Not only do many of these areas now offer casinos, including slot machines of course, but the spirit of gold fever stays alive with iconography of this precious metal still a major inspiration. A quick stroll through a casino will often yield many slots offering a chance at a gold strike. Some casinos are still featuring gold in their own themes including properties like the Golden Nugget (Las Vegas), Gold Spike (Las Vegas), Cities of Gold (Arizona), Golden Gulch (Colorado), Gold Country (California), and numerous others. Lucky qualities: wealth, success, money, good fortune Bonus spin: In the early days of slot machines, gold coins could actually be used in the U.S. as a form of currency. Some slots were built to even accept this form of payment. Anything Irish Perhaps no other country or culture is associated with luck as that of Ireland. “The luck of the Irish” has become a regular part of the English language and many of the lucky charms on this list are also associated with the country such as shamrocks, rainbows, and leprechauns. In fact, there have been at least four films produced through the years with that exact phrase as the title. The idea of Irishmen being lucky, however, may have more to do with the North American gold rush than anything. In fact, it’s to America that we may have to look for the origins of the expression 'the luck of the Irish', IrishCentral.com notes It’s well known that in the 19th century wave after wave of Irish immigrants headed over the Atlantic to seek their fortunes. Many chose to take part in the search for gold and silver and there is some evidence to suggest that many of the most successful finds were made by Irish miners. That success became a legend and the Irish have been seen as lucky ever since. Casinos and slot manufacturers have played up the stereotype of Irishmen and the Emerald Isle. Lucky qualities: successful, rich, timeliness. Bonus spin: Numerous casinos have modeled their properties after all things Irish, such as O’Sheas in Las Vegas and Fitzgerald's, a brand used in multiple U.S. states. MYTHICAL CREATURES Animals can play a role for many when it comes to thoughts of bringing about a lucky streak. The same can be said for non-existent creatures, animals, and fairies as well. Dragons These mythical beasts are seen as lucky in several cultures. Through the years, many people in Asian countries view dragons as symbols of power and good luck. Some have even seen them as controlling water-related weather such as rain, typhoons, and floods. Their mythical sense of luck is still recognized by many. For this reason, dragons are regularly featured in numerous slot games, especially those with Asian-inspired themes. Contrary to Asian culture, many Western countries view dragons as dark, mysterious, and even evil. This may actually add to Western gamblers' interest in dragon slots as well. Lucky qualities: good health, strength, power Bonus spin: The creature is also the fifth animal in the Chinese zodiac and symbolizes good luck and health. More babies are said to be born in the year of the dragon than in any other. Unicorns These mythological one-horned and flying creatures have fascinated people throughout history. The legendary animals have been depicted in European culture and art for over a thousand years, and are said to have magical powers. Many ancient people believed unicorns, usually depicted with a white coat with a single horn, represented purity and grace. They also believed the mystical animals could heal the sick, among other powers often ascribed to them. Some argue that unicorns even allude to several times in the Bible. Lucky qualities: purity, grace, strength, healing powers, and more. Bonus spin: Hermit country North Korea claimed to have “discovered” a unicorn lair in 2012. The North Koreans seem to be living in a real fantasy world. This propaganda was likely meant to help legitimize the rule of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. Leprechauns These supernatural beings come from Old Irish folklore and represent luck. The oldest known mention of leprechauns comes from the Echtra tale in which Fergus, the King of Ulster, falls asleep on the beach. He awakens to find three leprechauns dragging him out to sea. Instead, he captures the mythological trio, which then grants him three wishes for their release. The diminutive creatures are believed to be cobblers and mostly live a solitary existence, but also enjoy practical jokes. In Ireland, these fairies originally differed depending on which part of the country you were in. They also wore red clothing, not the green they typically wear in modern depictions These popular shoemakers are also said to own a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Those lucky enough to capture a leprechaun are entitled to these riches. Lucky qualities: wealth, riches, magical powers Bonus spin: Leprechauns have come to be represented in two American sports teams. The University of Notre Dame, known as the fighting Irish, features a leprechaun who helps fans cheer on the home team. The Boston Celtics NBA franchise also Lucky the Leprechaun. A popular American kids’ cereal, Lucky Charms, also features one of these magical creatures as well. ***** Whether one really believes in luck or not, many slot players and gamblers believe certain objects and icons come with some extra positivity. The belief goes that these lucky charms just might bring a nice winning session or perhaps an even bigger win – a nice jackpot perhaps. Open up your favorite slot game or take a seat at a slot machine in a casino. Which of these popular lucky charms can you recognize when spinning those reels?
12 September, 2022
Playing a slot machine can bring hours of entertainment and excitement, but like many games, these popular devices have their own distinct terminology. Beginners may be a bit overwhelmed when playing at a live casino or on an online gaming platform. From jackpots and payout percentages to bonus games and progressive games, numerous terms exist to learn and consider when jumping in the action. While not a complete grasp of all the ins and outs of a slot aren't required, having a basic knowledge can be understandable. With that in mind, here's a look at some of the terminology that goes along with playing a slot at your local casino or simply on your mobile phone. This article offers readers everything they might need to know about slot terminology and some of the key concepts synonymous with slot machines. Slot Payout and Money-Related Terminology These terms involve a player's money and credits on a machine. You'll find these terms helpful in adding credits to a machine, determining how much to play for, and what to expect when cashing out. Balance – This is the amount of money you have in the machine. Once depositing your money, you should see this on-screen in the form of credits for that machine. For example, if you slide $100 into a 25-cent machine, the balance should be 400 credits. This amount goes up and down depending on winning and losing spins. Cash-out – This simply means taking your funds out of the machine. There is usually a "cash out" icon on the screen or a real button on the machine itself. Once a player has cashed out, he or she will receive a voucher. This can be used in other slots instead of cash or can be taken to the cashier to exchange for cash as well. Online slot players can also cash out their winnings and go to a different game. Coin-in – This is an industry term for the amount of money input into a machine. Slot machines pay a certain percentage of coin-in back to players. Credits (also known as units) – This is the amount of a coin-in you have inserted into a machine. A single credit is the lowest denomination allowed on a machine. For example, a player on a penny machine may put in $20. That would mean the player would have a balance of 2,000 credits to begin the session. Minimum bet – As the name implies, the is the minimum credit that can be bet on a certain slot game online or in a live casino. Payline – These are the lines on a machine or online slot where the game's symbols must line up to determine a winner. The paylines can be horizontal but also vertical, diagonal, and run in other directions, especially on video slots. On more traditional-type slots, these can be found right on the exterior of the machine in front of the reels. However, on video slots, the paylines can be determined in many ways and the machine will visually display the multiple ways a player has won using paylines. Also, players have the option to play numerous paylines on modern video slots as well. This system can also be found online and on social gaming slots. Active payline – These are all the paylines in play during a certain spin of the reels. A player with the max paylines will have all paylines active on each spin. Payout Percentages (also known as RTP, meaning a return to player) – This is the amount of coin-in paid back to players at a particular casino. These numbers are usually available online, and finding properties with better payout percentages may offer a better chance for players to win. Players may want to look for rates above 90 percent. Occasionally, some of these get higher than 95 percent. Pay Tables – This is a chart (or table) found on the machine itself or the screen of a video slot. This details the combinations that will win and how much they return depending on the symbols that appear on the machine. The table features several rows to show higher levels of combinations and also columns that show various payouts depending on the number of credits paid per spin. Progressive Slots – These are slot games that are linked over a certain region or jurisdiction. A certain amount of each player's spin is siphoned into a much larger prize pool. With so many players linked together, those player pools can grow extremely large. Online slot players can also benefit from playing these types of games as well. Some of these mega jackpots regularly pay out seven figures; historically, some have even reached eight figures. Ticket or voucher – The paper coupon printed by a slot machine when a player cashes out. This functions as cash at a slot machine and can be input at another slot to continue playing. You can also exchange these for real cash at the casino cashier or at kiosks throughout the property. Slot Gameplay Terminology Auto-play/Auto-spin – This is a setting on a slot where the reels spin automatically and a player doesn't have to keep hitting the "spin" button. Auto-play spins the reels automatically for a certain amount of time, with atop-spin keeps the reels spinning for a certain number of spins. Basic slot – This is a traditional-style slot with only one payline and fixed payouts. Bonus game – This is an extra game aside from the normal spinning of reels on a game. Players can activate these bonus features depending on a combination of symbols that show up on the machine. These games may have players making certain selections or competing in other forms. Bonus games offer players a chance at more significant wins and can help create a winning session. Second screen bonus – A bonus game that shifts the action to another screen, often found above the main screen. These usually offer players options and other secondary games to determine further winnings and possibly a jackpot. Cascading reels (also known as tumbling reels) – This is another fun twist seen on some modern slots where certain symbols disappear, with others sliding in to take their place. Free play – These are free spins often given to players who join a casino's slot club (also known as a players club or a rewards club). Many casinos offer a certain amount of free play just for signing up for the club. You may also earn free play as you accumulate reward points for playing. Free spins – This is a type of bonus that certain symbol combinations in a game can also trigger. The game often begins spinning the reels automatically and counts down from the free spins. Players can accumulate wins and credits without having to dip into their balance. This offers an opportunity for players to accumulate extra wins toward a ncei session. Hit frequency – This is the term used for the number of times a slot may be expected to pay out. Hopper – This type of machine features an option where players can keep certain lines on one spin and then "hop" them into another. This gives players an extra shot at landing highly-sought combinations that might result in larger wins. Jackpot – This is a larger than the typical payout on a slot machine. Players will usually find that games in a live casino and online have several jackpot tiers, from a small jackpot to even much larger payouts. These are often mini, major, minor, and mega jackpots. That range offers players multiple ways to win more than the average amount that can be found on an average spin of the reels. Players on online slots also have a shot at these jackpots. Loose slots – These slots are deemed to have a high payout percentage, meaning that a higher-than-normal amount of coin-in is paid back out to players. These offer players a higher chance at a winning session. Max bet – A player is betting the maximum amount of credits per spin allowed on a machine. There is often a "max bet" button on the machine itself or as an icon on the screen. Max bets pay the most for win on the pay table. Players usually have from one to five credits allowed to be played per spin. Mobile slots – Games that can be played on a mobile phone or tablet device. This is a fast-growing segment of real-money casino gaming, but this can also refer to free-to-play games. In addition, social gaming in the form of fun and free slot games has also seen significant growth in the gaming industry. Multiplier – This symbol or image allows players to see their point total multiplied by a certain amount if activated. Nudge slot – This is a popular feature on many modern slots in which machine may "nudge" the reels up or down into a winning position. What may have looked like a losing spin may turn into a winner once the nudge function repositions the symbols on the reels. Reels – vertical cylinders spin within a traditional slot machine that display various symbols to help determine a player's win or loss. Originally, these were mechanical devices, and where they stopped was totally determined by the mechanics of the machine. In modern slots, however, the random number generator (RNG) determines a winning spin. Many games that look like traditional machines may still have reels, but the RNG still determines where they stop and with what symbols are displayed. Video slots, including digital online and social gaming slots, also feature "reels". Still, these are simply graphical, but mimic a slot's traditional look and feel but with modern gameplay twists. Three-Reel Slot – As the name implies, these are simply games featuring three vertical reels as found in traditional slots Five-Reel Slot – This is just simply a game with five spinning reels. There were three reels when slots were invented, but games have expanded through the years to offer more reels and ways to win. 3-D slots - 3-D slots are modern video slots often found online that feature three-dimensional images and graphics. RNG – This stands for "random number generator" and is the key to how the results turn out on a modern slot game. No longer do machines make use of mechanical reels to determine if a player wins. Instead sophisticated software and algorithms are used as part of the machine's random number generator to determine completely random winners. Slot tournaments – These are multi-player contests in which players spin the reels of a slot machine in competition. Casinos often run these as promotions for loyal players. There are often large payouts and other prizes from the casino for winners. Symbols (also known as icons) – These are the graphical images used on the front of reels as well as on video and online slots that visually display a slot result. If the RNG determines a win then these will align in a certain pattern or combination. Traditional and historic symbols include fruits, bars, 7s, playing cards and suits, and much more. Video slots now use numerous symbols, video, and other graphical elements. Wild multiplier – A wild symbol that can activate a multiplier when triggered, giving a player more winnings than might otherwise have been awarded. Those winnings are multiplied by a certain amount. Other slot terms Here are some other terms players may want to know as they begin playing slot games. Free play – This is free slot play usually given to players as a reward for a certain accomplishment. Many casinos offer free play for those who join the casino's rewards program. Regular players in a players club may also earn free play as they accumulate rewards points. Hold percentage – This is a casino's amount of all money played into a slot machine. This is the house edge and the money a casino collects from all players' coin-in. Hot and cold slots – Generic terms for a machine that has been paying out a lot (hot) and one that hasn't been paying out (cold). However, these notions are mostly a myth with modern slot machines, as the RNG determines random winners. Lever – This is a remnant of early slots in which a player pulled a lever on the side of the machine to spin the reels. Modern technology has made this part of a slot machine obsolete. However, some machines still offer a lever as a throwback to those classic machines. You can pull the lever to activate the reels, but the lever doesn;t actually have a mechanical function. The machine's computer activates the reels with the lever functioning like the "spin" button. Licensed slots – This refers to a game using a popular character, TV show, movie, or other brands in pop culture. This has become a trend in modern slot games, with more manufacturers offering players a bit of pop culture or nostalgia. Mechanical slots – This refers to older, classic slots which feature real mechanical mechanisms inside the machine. Modern slots no longer need mechanical parts or a lever crank to get the reels spinning. Mobile slots – These are just online slots that can be played on a cell phone or tablet device. Multi-line slots – These are games that feature numerous paylines beyond just the traditional horizontal paylines found on older machines. Players club (also known as a loyalty or rewards club) is the casino's program to reward loyal players. Those who play often at the casino can earn free play., hotel stays, food comps, and other prizes. It pays to join the rewards club. Players will receive a player card to insert every time they play a slot game. This helps track your play so that you accumulate points based on your play. Online casinos may also have rewards programs that offer prizes and bonuses. Volatility – Refers to a game's payout frequency. Those with a "high volatility" pay out high amounts but with fewer payouts overall. "Low volatility" slots pay out more often but in smaller amounts overall. Conclusion These are some basic terms a player may want to be familiar with when heading to play some slots. However, don't get overburdened with jargon. Instead, learn the basics, know what you're getting into, and have fun!
4 September, 2022