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How Casinos Use Mathematics While You’re Playing Slots


When you enter a casino or log into an online casino, you will not fail to notice that slots are one of their biggest revenue generators. Hundreds of thousands of people sit at a slot machine on a daily basis, and most of them don’t even know how they operate “behind the curtain”. Slot machines date back to the 19th century when the first one was developed in San Francisco. It’s an uncommon thought how casinos make their money, and if you want an answer to this question, then this article is just for you. In order to understand this in the best possible way, it’s important to think beyond the generic economic rules, as math and algorithms play a crucial part.

The casino always wins a percentage

Although there are more and more options for gamblers in both live and online casinos, the keystone of the modern casino’s revenue is still a slot machine. It’s said that “the house always wins”, but this is not always the case – if it were, people wouldn’t be trying out their luck. So, it’s safe to say that the chances of you winning are 50-50. Sometimes the player wins, and sometimes the casino. Because of this, the casinos need an advantage. It comes in the form of the RTP percentage, also known as the Return-to-player percentage.

The RTP percentage of the casino varies based on numerous factors such as the location and local laws on gambling. All players have thought if slot machines are rigged at least once, but everything can be explained through the RTP. It’s also important to understand that rigging slot machines is practically impossible today. One thing is general – the percentages are often high, most commonly over 90%. If the RTP percentage of a game is 96%, then for every $100 a player bets, he/she receives $9.6 in payouts.

Casinos are using the algorithm technology

In order to control the RTP percentages and make sure that casinos make money from slot machines, casinos and game manufacturers have developed slot machine algorithms. This means that the spin outcomes rely completely upon chance and luck. These mathematical algorithms look at two essential factors:

  • The drop, which is the amount deposited by the player,
  • The handler, which is the total amount bet by a player.

Here, it’s important to mention that the handle can be larger than the drop as players will often win and continue to play with their winnings. These algorithms allow the game to remain random. As a result, each time a player spins, the result is completely random, and the algorithm selects from a paytable that details much more and how often the slot machine pays out.

House edge

Apart from the RTP percentage, another important math concept that casino players need to know about is the house edge. House edge is the percentage players can use to compare casino games and gambling opportunities. This being said, casinos with the highest house edge are the worst ones to play, and you should always opt for the ones with the lowest house edge. This is the percentage of money the casino gets as profit based on how much a player is betting. If a player bets $1000 on a slot machine with a house edge of 10%, the casino takes $100 of the money the player bets.

Probability and odds

Another thing to bear in mind is probability, but also the odds. Probability is the ratio of the number of times a particular outcome occurs to the number of times a player experiments. On the other hand, odds is the long-run ratio, that is the number of times an outcome occurs.

Casinos expect players to spend more time on slot machines

All casinos expect players to spend more time on slot machines, as they utilize the theory that players tend to play longer when they’re losing. This is the basic principle not only of slot machines but other casino games as well. They keep players engaged by providing near misses, for example. As a result, players hope they will win the next time, and this is the thing that makes casinos thrive. A near miss is, for many gamblers, an almost victory, which means they will play more, believing a winning is just around the corner. From a psychological point of view, there is a dopamine rush, which is perfectly logical. However, players need to bear this in mind and stay in control of their time and finances.

How to win at casinos?

There are, however, specific ways to boost your game and increase your chances of winning at a casino:

  • Know that the game selection is significant, so always go with more profitable games such as blackjack and table games.
  • The payouts of each game need to be taken into account.
  • Understand that playing longer doesn’t mean winning.
  • Learn some strategies and tactics of a particular game, especially if you opt for games such as poker or blackjack. Understand the game first, then play to win.


Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to win at a casino; it’s even possible to get a jackpot and earn more money than you have ever dreamed. But this is just pure luck; slot machines exist to earn money for the casino, even though they will provide you with winnings if chance is on your side. Make sure you know the RTP percentage and the house edge and choose your games wisely. It’s also important to stay in control and know your time and the budget you can wager.

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