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Myth-Busting UNLV Study Reveals that Gamblers Can’t Detect Slot Machine Payout Percentages

George Miller

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Myth-Busting UNLV Study Reveals that Gamblers Can’t Detect Slot Machine Payout Percentages
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

As casino operators optimize the house advantage, a new UNLV study contradicts long-held beliefs about a player’s ability to detect differences in how much – and how often – a slot machine pays.

 

It’s a common sight on casino floors: patrons jumping from slot machine to slot machine before eventually hunkering down at a game that’s due for the next big payout. But can players – even the regulars who frequent a particular property – really tell the difference between the house edge on one game from that of another?

Nope. At least not according to a series of recent studies led by Anthony Lucas, a UNLV Hospitality College professor and former gaming industry operations analyst.

For the past several years, Lucas and colleague Katherine Spilde from San Diego State University have taken to casino floors on multiple properties in the U.S., Australia, and Mexico to investigate. Their results contradict long-held beliefs by casino operators about a player’s ability to detect differences in how much – and how often – a slot machine pays.

“I think some operators are naturally and understandably cautious of new information that challenges traditional industry practices,” said Lucas. “But we must consider how we know what we know. This is where our work takes on a Moneyball-like aspect – questioning the wisdom of widely held beliefs when data show that a new way of thinking may be better.”

In their latest study, the UNLV-led research team compared two pairs of reel slot games at a “locals” casino in suburban Sydney, Australia, where all wagering occurs on electronic gaming devices.

Their process is relatively straightforward: take two identical slot machines, positioned in similar places on a casino floor, but vary the par – the percent of total coin-in that the machine keeps over time. For example, if the par on a game is set at 10 percent, the machine would be expected to retain $10 of every $100 wagered, on average, over the long term. But in the short term, this rarely happens, increasing the difficulty of par detection.

For this study, researchers compared the daily performance of pairings for the games “Tokyo Rose” and “Dragon’s Fortune X” over a nine-month period. The pars within each pairing ranged from 7.98 percent on the low end to 14.93 percent on the high end.

Researchers measured daily coin-in for each machine as well as its T-win, a formula that multiplies coin-in and par to calculate a machine’s expected value, or its theoretical win. If, over the course of the nine-month test, regular players could detect a difference in the pars, this comparison would reveal whether (and how much) players migrated from higher par to lower par games.

As Lucas predicted, differences between the high and low par games remained stable throughout the length of the study, which meant that there was no statistically significant indication of play migration.

And while the lower par machines had more coin-in over the course of the study period, the T-win was greater on average for the high par machines. The positive impact from the elevated T-win on revenue for the higher par machines more than compensated for the decline in coin-in on those machines.

“Casino operators should take note of the substantial increases in T-win, as they are responsible for optimizing revenues, not coin-in,” said Lucas.

The results were also consistent with findings from the team’s previous studies, which analyzed 11 pairs of games over 180 days at gaming properties in U.S., Mexico and Australia.

So, other than busting one of gaming’s great myths, why does this matter?

Pars are an important factor for casinos looking to optimize revenues, as the bulk of slot revenues come from reel slots, and a lion’s share of a casino’s overall profits come from slot operations. While there are exceptions to this rule, it is true for most of the world’s casinos.

“Ultimately, operators are responsible for optimizing slot revenues, which is no simple task,” Lucas said. “Knowing which par will produce the greatest win is most helpful, but the optimization issue becomes more complex when the possibility of player detection is introduced.”

That’s where industry perspective is mixed, as operators have expressed concerns that short-term gains from higher pars could lead to long-term losses as players leave perceived “tight” slot floors for the greener pastures of their competitors.

To account for this concern, researchers extended length of time from previous work, from six months to nine months. They also expanded the difference in pars between matched pairs from 4.9 percent in the initial study to 6.95 percent in the current study.

In a concurrent study, the researchers compared the Australian data with four, two-game pairings at two similarly situated casinos in Mexico. Par differences for those games were even more drastic – ranging from 7.98 to 8.9 percent.

Despite these factors, in both instances the results still found no evidence of players moving away from higher-par machines to their low-par counterparts, and the high-par games continued to post substantially greater revenues.

“Put simply, our results suggest that greater pars produce greater revenues, without the risk of brand damage resulting from ‘price’ detection,” Lucas said.

Full Study

The study, “Impacts of increased house advantages on reel slots,” was recently published online in the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.

Industry News

Players Can Still Vote for Their Favourite Finalists in the AskGamblers Awards Race

George Miller

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Players Can Still Vote for Their Favourite Finalists in the AskGamblers Awards Race
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The top 10 finalists are lined up within all four categories, and the ultimate winner’s title per category is anyone’s game at this point. With two more months left until the voting phase is closed, the players are encouraged to give their final say and help choose the Best Online Casino, the Best New Online Casino, the Best New Slot and the Best Software Provider winners.

The AskGamblers Awards will be officially closing on 17 January 2020, on the night of the AskGamblers Awards.

Good news for everyone who still hasn’t had the chance to cast their vote and help AskGamblers choose the Best Online Casino, the Best New Online Casino, the Best New Slot and the Best Software Provider winners – there is still time to vote, and the only condition is to be a registered user on the AskGamblers website.

AskGamblers’ Head of Account has excitedly shared his anticipation for the announcement of the winners’ names and the AskGamblers Awards night, too: “Everyone’s biting their nails, waiting to see who the winners are going to be. We’ve been in this for so many months and the fact that the end is so close is keeping us all exhilarated! We couldn’t be happier about the way the process has been going so far. The night of the announcement will be spectacular for sure, and I guess all we can do now is wait for the players’ final votes. So exciting!”

The voting process is taking place on the AskGamblers Awards website, with each player granted the opportunity to vote for only one of their favourites in each category. Once the vote is placed there is no turning back, meaning – the players can’t take their vote back, vote several times per category or rethink their choice.

A reminder concerning categories available for voting:

Best Online Casino – The players vote for, in their opinion, the online casino they’ve had the best experience playing at. This category lists casinos that have been around for a while and have successfully kept their good name intact by continually providing quality gambling opportunities.

The online casino brands that have made the cut are as follows: Betsson Casino, Bitstarz Casino, CampeonBet, Everum Casino, EnergyCasino, Gunsbet Casino, King Billy Casino, Konung Casino, Mr.Play and Platincasino.

Best New Online Casino – The category lists new online casinos to have recently come around and become the players’ gambling go-to. In the industry that’s as competitive as this, it is true success for new casinos to be approved by both veteran and new players.

The best new casinos listed are 21.com, BaoCasino, MonteCryptos Casino, Maneki, Sportsbet.io, Spinia Casino, SlotWolf, Syndicate, Wishmaker, and Wazamba Casino.

Best New Slot – Spinning reels is one of the players’ favourite gambling activities, and when new slots come about, the excitement is almost palpable. This category lists new slots in the industry the players have accepted, approved, and potentially grown to love.

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Industry News

Kalamba Games names Tamas Kusztos as Head of Sales and Account Management

George Miller

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Kalamba Games names Tamas Kusztos as Head of Sales and Account Management
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Kalamba games has appointed Tamas Kusztos as Head of Sales and Account Management to help take the company into a new era of commercial growth.

With a decade of leadership experience under his belt, Kusztos brings to the role a wealth of expertise from key aspects of the industry, joining Kalamba from a substantial role at Quickspin.

He also held leading roles at major operators, including GoldBet, Betsson and Rizk, providing him with a unique, holistic understanding of the sector and a track record of delivering targets across the board.

At Kalamba, Kusztos will focus on building key strategic partnerships in new and existing markets as the company prepares to launch a proprietary Remote Gaming Server (RGS) pending final regulatory approval.

Tamas Kusztos, new Head of Sales and Account Management, said: “I’m really pleased to be joining Kalamba at a time of huge growth and look forward to working with its talented team to continue to propel the business to new heights.

“Kalamba has fast developed a solid reputation in the industry for developing quality, innovative content that meets player demands in multiple markets. With the opportunities presented by the development of its own RGS, the future looks brighter than ever and I’m excited to be a part of it!”

Giles Lucas, CCO at Kalamba Games, said: “This year has been unprecedented in terms of growth and it is fantastic to have Tamas on board to help build on our existing partnerships and reach new clients, bringing enthusiasm and a strategic mindset to the role.

“His varied experience in markets across Europe and Asia, together with his ability to deliver results through ensuring great team dynamics and intelligence-lead decision making, will serve as a major advantage to Kalamba as we enter a new stage of business development going into 2020.”

 

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Industry News

Realistic Games Launches Three New Exciting Instant Win Games

George Miller

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Realistic Games Launches Three New Exciting Instant Win Games
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Pull A Cracker, Shuffle Bots and Cashing Rainbows Pull Tabs now live

Award-winning casino content provider Realistic Games has added three new instant win games to its portfolio, Pull A Cracker, Shuffle Bots and Cashing Rainbows.

The new instant win titles contain more exciting features, first introduced in October with the release of Super Graphics Upside Down and Spin Dizzy. The games now include a free games bonus round, re-trigger chances on Pull A Cracker and Cashing Rainbows as well as random win multipliers up to x20 which create an even more engaging player experience.

Pull A Cracker, Realistic’s first seasonal title, can award players with an early Christmas present, offering a top prize of x750. The game includes a free games bonus round which can be re-triggered. Any win that the player receives in the bonus round is multiplied randomly by either x2, x3, x4 or x5.

The dancing robot themed pull tab, Shuffle Bots, offers a maximum prize of x500 the player’s bet. Finding 2 scatter symbols awards 5 free games and finding 3 scatters awards 10 free games; both of which can re-triggered. Shuffle Bot’s bonus round will also remove the lower value symbols, leaving players with the exciting opportunity of hitting the big wins.

Players of Cashing Rainbows can expect a maximum win of x2000 their bet, with a chance of triggering 15 free games by finding 2 or more scatter symbols. The player can then be rewarded with a multiplier up to x20 on any win in the free games.

Robert Lee, Commercial Director at Realistic Games, said:Pull A Cracker, Shuffle Bots and Cashing Rainbows are all designed to boost player engagement and retention rates while maintaining the accessibility and simple gaming experience provided by our instant win titles.

“The addition of free spins to the classic game format has raised the bar of our hugely popular pull tabs library, revitalising the playing style with a concept that has proven to increase session time.

“With themes that have been carefully crafted to appeal to a range of players and mechanics that cater to both instant win and slot players, these three pull tab releases are set to be a huge hit with our operators.”

Demos of Pull A Cracker, Shuffle Bots and Cashing Rainbows are available via the links.

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