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Understanding Slot Percentages

September 8, 2021

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You hear and see it all the time: “This machine pays you back 90% of the money you put into it!” “That machine pays out 95%!”

Sure, it sounded too good to be true. “95%? How could that possibly be profitable for the business?” You then walk up to a machine, put $20 in and after a few pulls of the lever, you’re left with a goose egg. “95%? More like $20 wasted.”

Well, as it turns out, you probably DID win everything you put in the machine back and maybe more! But you also put those winnings back in the machine. Little confused? Alright let me break it down.

Real Life Scenario

Let’s say you walk into any of our Accel Entertainment locations, spot a machine, and walk up to it. You’ve got $10 burning a hole in your pocket, so why not? You feed the machine the crisp Hamilton and start playing. First pull you win $10, second pull you lose $10, third you lose $3, fourth pull you win $2, and fifth you lose $9, bringing you to $0. You’re awestruck. “How did I lose all of my money? I was promised a win back of 95% of what I put in and I got $0?”

The Math

Now this is where humans and math differ. You technically made MORE than what you put in. Let’s count up those winnings — first pull $10, and the third pull $2! That’s a $12 payback — 120% of what you put in! That’s 25% more than what was promised!

Take It Slow

You see, the 95% is only tied to your winnings in comparison to what you put in. It doesn’t incorporate your losing pulls at all. You decided to keep playing instead of cashing out while you were up. The machine never lied. The math never lied. You just got caught up in the moment. I mean it’s happened to all of us; the numbers going up — the “now that I have this much, my winnings can be even bigger!” It’s what makes us human. It’s also what makes these machines so fun! Who knows? Every pull could be a winner? Every pull could be a loser except that last ditch $5 pull could win you the jackpot. I’ve seen it happen; we all know it happens. Who’s to say it won’t happen to you next?

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