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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.

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Approval of Foundation Level Gambling Industry Tester Specialist Syllabus by ISTQB®

Niji Narayan

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) is a software testing certification organisation that operates internationally, founded in Edinburgh in November 2002. The company has approved the release of 2019 version of the ISTQB® Gambling Industry Tester Specialist (GT) Syllabus.

The GT Syllabus gives essential understanding and knowledge to anyone involved in testing in the gambling industry and also reflects the current best practices and procedures for testing in the gambling industry.

The ISTQB® provides the new GT Syllabus as follows:

 

  1. To the ISTQB® Member Boards, to translate into their local language and to accredit training providers. Member boards may adapt the syllabus to their particular language needs and modify the references to adapt to their local glossary terms.
  2. To the certification bodies, to derive examination questions in their local language adapted to the learning objectives for this syllabus
  3. To the training providers, to produce courseware and determine appropriate teaching methods
  4. To the certification candidates, to prepare for the certification exam (either as part of a training course or independently)
  5. To the international software and systems engineering community, to advance the profession of software testing, and as a basis for books and articles.

 

ISTQB® President, Olivier Denoo, stated – “the focus of ISTQB® is towards addressing its customers main needs. The Gambling Industry Tester certification, will address a growing market of Gaming of all kinds, including Gambling games, which has a great potential for those developing and testing those games. We have shown with this certification we are not looking only for huge markets, but also on unique trends and customers who needs certifications in today’s growing IT market”.

Alon Linetzki, ISTQB® Marketing working group chair added: “as ISTQB® is trying to address evolving and new areas of testing and target Software Testers, came out this unique syllabus. It addresses the needs of a growing industry – Gaming and Gambling Testing – which this is the first syllabus in that domain”.

 

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iovation Research: Fraudsters Increasingly Leveraging Mobile Devices for Schemes

George Miller

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iovation Research: Fraudsters Increasingly Leveraging Mobile Devices for Schemes
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

TransUnion company explores top continents and countries for risky mobile transactions, and types of behavior businesses to need to look for to catch mobile fraud

iovation, a TransUnion company, today released its recent research that about half of all risky online transactions appear to be coming from a mobile device. Specifically, in the first half of 2019 iovation saw 49% of all risky transactions come from mobile devices, up from 30% in 2018, 33% in 2017 and 25% in 2016.

“Fraudsters are like chameleons. They are always adapting their tactics to make it look like they’re legitimate customers,” said iovation’s Senior Director of Customer Success, Melissa Gaddis. “With well over half of all transactions now coming from mobile devices, our analysts increasingly see fraudsters either using mobile devices or making it look like their transactions are coming from mobile when in fact they are using a traditional desktop.”

Among its research, iovation found:

  • The top continents for mobile fraud: So far in 2019 it is North America with 59% of all risky transactions coming from mobile devices. In 2018, it was Asia at 53%. In 2017, it was North America with 55%. In 2016, it was North America again with 36%.

  • The top countries for mobile fraud: Gabon leads so far in 2019 with 85% of all risky transactions coming from mobile devices. It 2018, it was Japan with 79%. Papua New Guinea led in 2017 with 86%. In 2016, it was Bangladesh with 59%.

  • The top industries for mobile fraud: So far in 2019 it is telecommunications with 75% of all risky transactions coming from mobile devices. In 2018, it was gambling with 60%. Communities (for example social networks or online dating sites) led in 2017 at 59%. In 2016, it was healthcare with 58%.

To find fraudulent transactions from mobile devices, iovation suggests businesses closely analyze specific indicators including:

  • Mobile emulators: Fraudsters like to hide information by using emulators to make it look like their desktop device is a mobile device.

  • Orientation: Is a device staying in the same position or is it face down? These could be tell-tale signs of a bot or a fraudster emulating a mobile device.

  • SIM card country: Since fraudsters often try to mask their location, the SIM card country provides yet another method for identifying the true location of the end-user. Fraud analysts may find fraudsters that target their businesses tend to have devices from particular countries.

  • SIM card carrier name: Certain mobile carriers can have a higher percentage of fraudulent activity originating from them.

  • Currency: The type of currency tied to a device provides additional context to the region associated with the device. This can be another way to determine if the device is coming from a risky location.

  • Language: Much like countries, carriers and currency, the language used on a device provides additional context on the transaction which can help crack a fraud case when a fraudster is attempting to mask other aspects of their device.

  • Mobile OS version: Certain mobile operating system versions may correlate with fraud or abuse.

 

Mobile Transaction Jump

iovation found 61% of all online transactions came from mobile devices so far this year, up from 56% in 2018, 51% in 2017 and 45% in 2016. Europe and North America are consistently among the top continents for mobile transactions with 67% and 60% respectively so far this year. The top industry for mobile transactions so far in 2019 is communities with 73%.

For more insights into iovation’s findings along with new iovation features to catch mobile fraud, go to this blog post that includes an infographic.

Methodology

iovation came to its findings by analyzing the 30 billion online transactions it evaluated for fraud from January 2016 to June 30, 2019. To find the risky mobile transactions, it calculated the percent of risky transactions from mobile devices compared to overall risky transactions. For overall mobile transactions, it calculated the percent of mobile transactions compared to all online transactions. iovation defines risky transactions as those that typically result in fraud.

 

About iovation:

iovation, a TransUnion company, was founded with a simple guiding mission: to make the Internet a safer place for people to conduct business. Since 2004, the company has been delivering against that goal, helping brands protect and engage their customers, and keeping them secure in the complex digital world. Armed with the world’s largest and most precise database of reputation insights and cryptographically secure multifactor authentication methods, iovation safeguards tens of millions of digital transactions each day.

 

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Industry News

Zitro’s LINK ME Arrives in Spain

Niji Narayan

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Zitro’s LINK ME Arrives in Spain
Photo Source: zitrogames.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

The casinos of the Grup Peralada, Casino Barcelona and Casino Peralada, have installed the Zitro’s LINK ME. Link Me is a new progressive bank, that along with Link King, are delighting the players of the establishments of this important Group of Casinos.

“At Grup Peralada we always try to be pioneers and offer the latest products on the market. Our priority is to provide our customers with a game offer of absolute technological vanguard, and that is why we have relied again on Zitro for our group of casinos,” Josep Maria Roig, general director of Casinos at Grup Peralada said.

“The bet that Grup Peralada has made for Zitro products, once again, fills us with pride. We are convinced that the results of Link Me in both casinos will be formidable, just as they are in casinos in all parts of the world. Link King, Link Me and Link Shock are consolidating as the most profitable video slots banks in the global market,” Nadège Teyssedre, Commercial Director of ZITRO for EMEA said.

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