Playing Slots? Coin Denominations Matter

One of the distinctive things about slot machines is the fact that the odds change according to the coin denomination that you select when playing. This is unique to slots only as table games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps all offer the same odds on each bet regardless of whether you’re playing at the $5 or $100 tables.

It is a little known fact however that slots with higher denomination wagering options have higher payout percentages. This means that on average, Dollar Slots offer higher payouts than Quarter Slots and the higher the denomination required by any given slot machine, the higher payout it will offer. This is due to the fact that casinos are able to be more generous with payout percentages on higher denomination machines, because even though these slots offer larger payout percentages, they generally earn higher profits per spin over the long term than their lower denomination counterparts.

Here is a list of the common payout percentages across machines with different denominations that you may come across at both land based and online casinos:

  • Nickel Slot Machines: 92.5%
  • Quarter Slot Machines: 94.3%
  • Dollar Slot Machines: 96%
  • Five Dollar Slot Machines: 98.5%

Slots Odds, Mathematics and Payout Rates

When considering why casinos are able to offer higher payout rates for higher denominations slots play is easy to calculate. Let’s take a look at an example of that now:

If an average slots player makes around 500 wagers per hour, in order to calculate the casino’s expectation (the money they expect to make from this player’s slots play), all one has to do is multiply the number of wagers by the value of each of these. This will give you the total amount of money spent playing the game. Next, multiply the house advantage by the total amount of money spent in that hour and you’ll determine what the casino expects to gain from the player.

Let’s break that down according to each denomination:

Nickel Slot: $0.05 x 500 wagers = $25 spent. Then 7.5% (house advantage) X $25 (total bet value) = $1.87 (casino expectation)

Quarter Slots: $0.25 x 500 wagers = $125. Then: 5.7% x $125 = $7.13

Dollar Slots: $1 x 500 wagers = $500. Then: 4% x $500 = $20

$5 Slots: $5 x 500 wagers = $2500. Then: 1.5% of $2500 = $37.50

It is clearly evident from the above calculations that casinos do not have a hard time making higher returns on higher denomination machines even though the payout percentages are considerably higher on these slots than on their lower denomination counterparts. Definitely something to keep in mind next time you play at your favourite online casino, especially if you’re looking to stretch your money when playing online slots!