What to Play Where

Where to?

Whether you like to head to the casino in your favorite pair of lucky underwear or prefer to wish on shooting stars, you're not alone. More than half of Americans are a little superstitious, especially when it comes to gambling.

But when it comes to slot machines, even the most common superstitions don't stand up against the data when we look at the casinos that offer the highest payout percentages. We analyzed the data to find the highest (and lowest) payback percentages for slot machines by location, casino, and wager amount. Keep reading to see which slots give you the best shot at a big payout.

State of the (Gambling) Union

A Return on Investment

If you're one of the nearly 43 million people who visited Las Vegas in 2016 and slot machines are your game of choice, your payback percentages will have been among the highest in the country. Casino visitors who played the slots in Colorado, New York, and Delaware will also see higher-than-average payback percentages.

Gaming rules vary by state, with some states requiring full disclosure of slot payback percentages per casino, while others lack requirements at all. States that don't require casinos to release payback percentage information may mandate a minimum payback percentage statewide, with casinos free to pay out above the minimum as desired. Twelve states fall into this category; listed from highest payout to lowest, they are Kansas (87%), Maryland (87%), Florida (85%), North Carolina (83%), Arizona (80%), Massachusetts (80%), Minnesota (80%), Montana (80%), New Mexico (80%), North Dakota (80%), Wisconsin (80%), and Michigan (75%).

That's right, if you choose to play slot machines in Michigan, you should know state gaming regulations have set the minimum payback percentage at 75% – the lowest in the U.S. That doesn't mean that any slot machines in the state will pay out at 75%, but legally, they're allowed to.

Go Where the Money Is

Standing a chance

It's difficult to ignore the numbers when it comes to the best and worst casinos regarding payoff percentages on slot machines. Some believe machines in high-traffic areas are looser, meaning they offer payouts more frequently or are due for a win. However, slot machines are made so there is no winning strategy; it's a matter of simple probability. The law of averages states, regardless of the peaks and valleys associated with playing a game of luck, your payback percentage will reach an average if you play for long enough.

The top two casinos with the highest known average payback percentages are the Resorts World Casino and Empire City Casino, in New York. The two casinos with the lowest known average payback percentages are the Isle of Capri in Kansas City, Missouri, and Harrah's Metropolis in Illinois.

How Much Do You Want to Bet?

A Winning Streak on Slots

A well-known rule of thumb is that you reap what you sow – the more you risk, the higher your potential reward. When we compared the denomination of a slot machine bet and its average payback percentage, it was concluded slot machines do not necessarily follow this rule.

We looked at the relationship between a denomination and average winnings during slot machine play and found a correlation that is not entirely linear. A $10 wager will offer higher approximate earnings than most other bets, including $100 bets. For the most part, however, higher denomination wagers typically offer higher average payback percentages than slots that accept lower bets.

Slots of Luck!

The next time you want to test your luck, be sure to select casinos and wager amounts that have been proven to offer high average payback percentages. After all, if you're going to risk it, why not maximize your chances?

Methodology

We analyzed all known slot machine payout percentages, casino minimums, and state-regulated minimums from the American Casino Guide.

Sources

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