In the USA especially, the Bally’s Roulette machines seem to be a popular addition to many casino slot machine inventories. I call this a “slot machine” rather than a “table game” simply because it looks more like a slot machine than a table, and it appears to have payoffs similar to slot machines. Ugh. Of course, this is just my personal opinion – you should make up your own mind.
According to friends in the US who’ve played the game first hand, and also from what I’ve ascertained online, Bally’s Roulette is available in denominations from a low of one penny to a high of $100. That’s cool – because it allows a wide range of players / bankrolls to play. But the pay table is not cool. There are various configurations available to the casino operators, but potentially a casino could put a Bally’s Roulette version on the gaming floor that pays just 32-for-1 on single-number bets, instead of the usual 35-to-1.
There’s a difference between “for-1” and “to-1” payoffs. A “for-1” payoff includes the return of your wager. A “to-1” payoff gives you the advertised odds, plus your wager back. So a payout of 32-for-1 is the same as 31-to-1. Both give you 32 chips.
The usual odds for roulette pay 36-for-1 (35-to-1) on a winning single number bet. So at 32-for-1, your return is four credits shy of what you should get. This has a HUGE impact on the house edge. On a normal single zero roulette game, the house has an edge of about 2.63%. With the Bally’s Roulette “short pay” of 31-to-1, the edge becomes over 13%!!! That’s TERRIBLE. That payout level is equivalent to a typical penny slot machine!
If you’re playing pennies you might not notice things so much – but at the higher denominations, you’d better hang on to your bankroll! Ouch! It would seem much better (to me) to play the table roulette version, than to play these types of roulette machines… just my personal thoughts. Have you played these roulette machines before? Have thoughts / comments? Feel free to leave a comment on the blog – or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS: Bally’s Roulette Machines are (C) Bally Technologies Inc. My image of the roulette machine was found at www.ballytech.com. Note that other gaming companies also produce gaming machines that have similar payout structures etc – I’m not attempting to single out Bally here as the only manufacturer of these types of games.