Can Casinos Control Slot Machine Results and Payouts?

min read
A slot featuring triple 7 symbols, surrounded by playing cards, dice and casino chips.
BetMGM Sep 25, 2023, 12:39 PM

There are many advantages to playing slots online. Slots are random and unpredictable and require almost no skill while offering enticing jackpot prizes. But how these games work remains a mystery to many players. With little behind-the-scenes knowledge, new players wonder if a casino can secretly control slots and cheat them out of their winnings. 

When you play online slots for real money, you can trust that the game is fair and that results are random if your casino is licensed and audited. Let’s show you how slots work and whether the house can control them. 

How do slot machines work?

The world’s first slot machine was the Liberty Bell, created in 1895 by a car mechanic called Charles Fey. The Liberty Bell featured three spinning reels with diamond, spade and heart symbols. The now iconic fruit symbols would only be introduced by Herbert Mills in 1907, who created knock-offs of the Liberty Bell when Fey refused to sell distribution rights. 

The original slots were made of cast iron, with three metal hoops called reels. Each reel had 10 symbols painted on it. Players would pull a lever to spin the reels; when the reels stopped, the machine would land on three symbols. If the symbols matched, coins would be dispensed as the jackpot prize. Today, games no longer rely on mechanical reels. Let’s take a look at modern slots to see if they are just as random and unpredictable as their predecessors.

How modern slot machines work

Whether online or offline, modern slot machines no longer rely on mechanical parts or reels. Today online casino games use computer programs to control functions and produce results. The results of slots are decided by a Random Number Generator (RNG). The RNG is a program that constantly generates random numbers to give results whenever they are requested. These generated numbers can represent symbols or game outcomes.

Game outcomes are randomly selected from the produced numbers; they aren’t influenced by previous results or other outside factors. The only factor that an RNG considers is the casino house edge. In video lottery games, results are linked to a central system maintained by the Gaming Commission. The Gaming Commission tracks the game’s payout and win rate and if the results correlate with the reported Return to Player (RTP) or house edge percentages. For other online gambling slots, the licensing boards and authorities require slots and RNGs to be checked and audited regularly to ensure they are fair for players. 

Can casinos control slot machine results and payouts?

The truth is, yes – casinos can control a slot machine or rig it only to give players small wins. Some casinos work with developers to create exclusive games. This gives them even more access to a game’s code and RNG. It’s also true that many rogue unlicensed casinos can use gambling software to limit the amount players win, even while promising big jackpots. Even though casinos can control slot machines, here are a few reasons why a licensed casino won’t do that.

Putting casino licenses in jeopardy

Almost every city or area with legalized gambling has a local gambling commission that regulates the games offered in their jurisdiction. The Nevada Gaming Commission works in Las Vegas, while the NJ Casino Control Commission operates in Atlantic City. To be approved by commissions, casinos must follow a strict set of rules and have their games and RNG audited to ensure they are fair and tamper-free. 

If the authorities find that the casino has tampered with the software or RNG, the casino can be heavily fined or have its license revoked. Licenses are invaluable to casinos; they attract more clients and help establish trust. Risking a beneficial and expensive license to make an extra profit wouldn’t make sense. 

Casinos already have a set profit from all wagers

If you’re still learning how to play casino slots, you need to understand how slot variance, house edge and RTPs affect your earnings. The house edge percentage tells you how much profit the casino keeps from all the bets placed. Players usually calculate this for every dollar they bet, but in reality, you can win a lot more than the return to player or lose a lot more than the house edge percentage. 

The percentage is calculated on the overall bets placed by all players. So, if a casino has a set profit they always make from all bets, whether you win or lose, they have no reason to rig the system in their favor. The RNG has already been programmed to factor in the reported house edge. Don’t worry about games being rigged. Instead, focus on playing games with the best house edge or RTP. Not paying attention to RTPs is a costly slot mistake to avoid as a new player.

Laws for casino slot developers

Like online casinos, casino table games and slot developers report to authorities and are required to follow the rules and guidelines. Regulators require slot software developers like NetEnt and Playtech to submit their games so their RNG, RTP and variance can be checked and verified. For example, the reputable Malta Gaming Authority requires all slot developers to have their RNGs inspected and approved by the regulation office. If any laws are broken, there can be legal action, fines or termination of contracts and licenses. 

Even if a casino wants to control a slot, developers protect their programming code to protect their own reputation and prevent tampering. Before the game even arrives at your favorite casino, it already has a stamp of approval from regulators.

Casino reputation and online reviews

Checking online reviews to see the reputation of a casino is a crucial step to finding the best online casino. When casinos rig and cheat their games, players are likely to leave negative reviews or discuss their experiences with other players and in forums. 

The internet is filled with unreliable scam casino sites, so it pays to do things fairly and have a good reputation. A casino might get a new registration by promising big wins, but it won’t keep the player if it doesn’t deliver. Casinos want players to join their sites and play long-term. This is why they offer casino bonuses, promotions and regular rewards. 

Will a casino secretly control slot payouts?

A trusted, licensed casino has very little to gain by tampering with games. In fact, they have a lot to lose. A casino’s reputation can be ruined; it could have its license revoked; it could be heavily fined, or it could damage its relationship with slot developers. Even though a casino can control slot machines, if you’ve chosen a trusted casino like BetMGM, they won’t. If you’ve chosen well, you can play for fun at a casino without worrying about being cheated or misled.

Discover the best slots to play at a casino with BetMGM

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.