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Many a new slot player has been deceived by the land-based casinos when walking past a slot carousel (with a number of REEL slot machines attached), and a big sign saying “98% return”, or “Most liberal slots”, or “Up to 98% return”. Why? Because a new player may innocently assume that every $1 put into any such machine on the carousel will return 98c (etc) – and that’s a BAD ASSUMPTION. It doesn’t matter whether this claim is made on the carousel itself, or in newspaper or magazine advertising. What you see is not always what you get. Here’s why:

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One: If a casino has that “98% return” or similar sign above a bank of slot machines in a carousel, by law in most countries, only ONE of those machines must be set to pay back at least 98% or more in the long term. Therefore, the one machine paying back 98% may well be surrounded by other machines on the same carousel paying back 80%. It’s more than likely that in the case of the 98% return, the other slots are paying back at say 92% – but the fact of the matter is clear: not ALL of those machines are paying back 98%. And that’s the first “delusion” that can trap new players.

Two: If a casino mentions “Up to…” anywhere in its advertising, be very suspicious. A casino sign might say “Up to 97% payback”… that means it could really be anywhere from say 70% UP TO 97% payback. Be careful. Casinos typically have lower paying percentages on their 5c, 10c and 25c machines (88 – 92% typical) and keep the higher paying percentages (92 – 98% typical) for $1 and up machines. However anything is possible. So stay on your guard!

Three: Let’s assume that the 98% return mentioned in One is TRUE for a particular slot machine in the bank / carousel. That still doesn’t mean that this machine will return 98c for every dollar put into it TONIGHT / TODAY. What it does mean is that over the life cycle of that particular machine, it will average payoffs that are equivalent to 98% of all the money put through it. But of course the big jackpots that make up a fair chunk of that 98% could strike at anytime…

I’m not in any way suggesting that you shouldn’t play the slots you see advertised in this way. You should: they’re fun, and if they’re truly set to the levels advertised they’re a reasonable bet overall as far as casino bets go. However I do suggest that you exercise careful thought around which of the machines you should play in each casino – taking the above into account. In the smoke and mirrors world of casinos, things are not always as they first appear – so check first, before committing your coins to the abyss!

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