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How Does a Slot Machine Know When to Payout?

How Does a Slot Machine Know When to Payout?

When you play on Gold Rush Slots, you will win some spins and lose others. It is the nature of gambling. Of course, some people wonder how a slot machine determines whether it is going to make a payout or not each time you spin the reels. They want to know whether there is something going on in the backend that increases the chances of a spin being a winner, or whether everything is completely random, no matter what is happening with the slot game.

There are some people that even believe that by working out the algorithm behind a slot machine, they have a chance to increase their odds of winning. Is this really possible? Can the actions that you take encourage a slot to pay out more frequently? Can you really crack the 'slot machine' code?

Here, we want to look at what causes a slot machine to know when to payout. We want to talk about whether it is completely random, or whether certain factors will influence the rate of wins. Can slot machine wins be predicted? Let's just jump in and take a look, shall we?

What Determines When a Slot Machine Will Payout?

When a slot machine is programmed, it will be programmed with a bit of code known as a 'random number generator'. This bit of code essentially generates a number for each spin of the reel. The number generated will dictate the symbols that appear on the reels.

For the sake of simplicity, you can think of each number generated matching up to a certain outcome on the reels. When this number is generated, the slot machine will know exactly which symbols it should display on the reels. If these symbols match up to a winning pay line from the paytable, then the slot machine will know that it has to pay out winnings. If the numbers do not match up to anything, then the slot machine sees it as a loss.

As you can imagine, the numbers that match up to winning paylines will be far fewer than the numbers that indicate a loss. The numbers that indicate a win will actually be determined by a couple of factors, and these will be programmed in when the slot is designed:

  • Return to Player (RTP): this is how much a slot machine will give back to the player. For example, if a slot has an RTP of 92%, then you can expect every £100 gambled on that machine to return £92 to players. Obviously, this won't be going to a single player. Some players will make a loss, while others will win. In the UK, each slot will need to be labeled with the RTP.
  • Slot volatility: this is something that is often hidden, and you will need to read slot reviews or work out how to read paytables in order to determine the slot volatility. This will determine how often the slot will pay out, and how much it will. If a slot has low volatility, it means that it pays out frequently, but the prizes are smaller. Therefore, the random number generator built into the machine will match up to a lot of different winning combinations. If a slot is a high volatility, this means that it doesn't pay out often, but the winnings tend to be a bit higher.

The combination of RTP and slot volatility will determine when a slot machine will payout. It is a complex algorithm, but we can assure you that these are the only factors that will determine when a slot pays out. Nothing more. Slots do not pay out more frequently the more people playing the game. They do not pay out more frequently when somebody has been on a losing streak. Every spin is just as random as the previous one. Sometimes it just seems like you are more likely to generate a win after playing for a while.

For the most part, slots should payout at the same rate no matter how much you are gambling. There is just one slot machine that bucks this trend a little bit. Mega Moolah, one of the most popular progressive slots in the world, increases the chance of winning the jackpot based upon how much you bet. The more you lay on a spin, the more chance you have of winning the jackpot. This is an exception to the rule, though. It does not influence the potential prizes in the 'main' part of the slot.

Do Slot Machines Pay Better at Certain Times?

Contrary to popular belief, slot machines do not pay out better at certain times of the day. In fact, this would likely be illegal for a casino to do. The UK Gambling Commission requires that games be fair, and to provide an equal chance of winning on each spin. if a slot machine did payout better at certain times of the day, then the slot machine would clearly need to state that this is happening. If that happened, nobody would play it outside of certain times, and that wouldn't really work in the casino's favour.

Of course, if you head to an online casino that lists winners on the front page, you will likely notice that the winners flow in a bit quicker of an evening. This could give the illusion that more people are winning at night. This is true. However, this is only because more people are playing the slot machines of an evening. We are positive that if you actually looked into it, you would discover that the percentage of people winning prizes remains roughly the same at all times throughout the day.


No matter what people tell you, there is absolutely no way to predict when a slot machine is going to payout. At least not in the United Kingdom. The law stipulates that each machine does need to be completely random. The chances of winning on each spin will need to be exactly the same. Slot machines cannot 'up the chances' of paying out based upon a number of successive losing spins, even though it may seem like it sometimes. Slot machines know to payout based upon a random number generator alone. Nothing more than that.

To get a rough idea of how often a slot machine pays out, then you should always look at the RTP, and read slot machine reviews to learn about the volatility. If you see a slot with a high RTP and low volatility, then you will know that the slot machine has been programmed to pay out a lot more frequently although, of course, you could still go through several spins before you see a win. That is luck for you.