Should You Stay Away from Penny Slots?

Last month, a lucky casino-goer won more than $600,000 off a one-cent machine in Las Vegas. The whole incident was recorded by the winner’s friend (see picture here), which he then posted on Reddit, a well-known online forum.


The post was immediately swamped by replies and comments regarding the nature of the win. How much did the player put in? Where is this particular slot machine located? Did he receive lots of comps? (Answers: 1) It was a one-cent machine, and he put in four dollars, equivalent to 400 credits. 2) In the interest of safety, the original poster (OP) didn’t give the name of the casino, but the picture reveals that it was a Wizard of Oz progressive penny slot machine. 3) The winner received some sweet comps- free flowing champagne, a hotel suite, free food, and an extra $20,000 on the spot to keep him playing there.)


Of course, it’s enough to get people hooked up on the idea that they could win tons of money from penny machines alone. But we all know that this fact is not true. Penny slots are notorious for their high house advantage and hold percentages among slot machines and all casino games in general. They are specifically designed to give you the illusion that you’re spending less and getting more spins, when in fact, you’re actually losing more money than you would when you play at “normal” dollar machines.


The key takeaways from the Reddit discussion were:


1. Casinos will do everything they can to make sure big winners stay and spend at the establishment for longer. The $20,000 giveaway is nothing compared to the potential money that they’ll get from the winner if he or she decides to spend part of their $600,000 winnings on bankrolling another round of gambling.


2. No, the casino did not just lose $600,000 to some random dude. Remember that this is a progressive jackpot; the casino has already taken their cut from the total number of bets that were put into the pot. It’s already accounted for in their revenue. They can very well afford to spend a few more thousands of dollars just to turn instant winners into future loyal customers who can ensure repeat business.


3. These winning customers also offer free advertising. Imagine seeing someone next to you on the slot machines winning something that big- you’d also be driven to win something like that, wouldn’t you? Also, winners are also sure to share where they got their good fortune to close friends and family.


If you want to make money out of a casino, then penny slots are definitely NOT for you. Try games like baccarat where the house advantage is much lower, or improve your skills in poker. Penny slots are machines that should be used solely for entertainment; if you do manage to win a big jackpot out of them, don’t bet it all back. Cash out your winnings instantly and walk away.


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