Jul

11

2011

# Big Crowds’ Effect on Slot Machines

A regular reader wrote to tell me about her night playing the slots in a crowded casino.

“It was packed,” she wrote. “I heard somebody who worked there say, ‘Big crowd means we’ll be paying out a lot tonight,’ and he had a big smile on his face. I asked if he meant jackpots and he said, ‘Oh, there’ll be some jackpots.’

“How could he know they’d be paying out a lot? The casino must have control over the payouts if they can make them pay big for a big crowd.”

Slot machine results remain random no matter how many people are playing, and the casino employee the player consulted knows that. More money will be paid out when more people are playing just because more wagers are being made.

Let’s make up a hypothetical casino in slot machines are set so that, on the average, they’ll pay out the top jackpot once per 25,000 plays. And let’s say a small crowd of 100 customers each spins the reels 100 times. So does a large crowd of 1,000 customers That means 100,000 spins by the small crowd an 1 million by the bigger gathering. With those numbers on an average session, the group of 1,000 players will see 40 jackpots, while the group of 100 will see only four.

The casino can’t control when the payouts come. Still, if you have 10 players sitting at a bank of dollar machines, it’s more likely that at least one of them will hit a big pay than if only one customer was playing, just because more spins of the reels mean more chances for that big win to come up.