Slot Payout Percentages

Slot Payout Percentages

Every slot machine has its own specific payout percentage. This percentage is programmed into the machine's software at the factory. While it is possible for the casino to change the payout percentage, it is not a simple process so it is not done often.

The payout percentage tells the percentage of all bets that are ultimately returned to players as winnings. However, the actual play of each pull is determined by the Random Number Generator (RNG). So one player can play for two hours at a machine and lose and the next player can win a substantial amount with their first play!

The payout percentage is based on the lifetime of the machine. Because the RNG determines the result of each individual play, the payout percentage can be, and often is, realized fully in a relatively small number of high-paying wins stretched out over the lifetime of the machine. All other winning combinations over the lifetime of the machine will be relatively small. This doesn't mean that you can't win. Of course you can! But you must understand that most winning players win small.

All states that allow casino gambling set a minimum payout percentage for slots. Most casinos have a payout percentage much higher than the legal minimum. At land-based casinos, where overhead is higher than online, and the number of slot machines is limited by the casino's size, the payout percentage is usually around 85%. Online the percentages are from 95% to 98%. Even when the house keeps only 2% of monies wagered they make a neat profit.

Click for details on history, how to play, terminology/glossary, types of slots and slots myths.

Confusing Payout Percentage and Payout Schedules

Two slot machines that both have a payout percentage of 98% may have quite different payout schedules. The latter term refers to the types of winning combinations on that slot and the payout for each winning combination.

  • Three-reel slots have fewer paylines than five-reel slots.
  • You may have to bet more units to get the highest money payout.
  • Slots that have jackpots generally pay out less for average wins.
  • Progressive jackpots take from each dollar wagered to fund the jackpot.
  • When the slot is networked with many other slots to create a very large jackpot, even more is taken from each dollar to fund the jackpot.


The payout percentage is an important factor in choosing which slot machine to play. The percentage should be posted on the machine. However, you should also pay attention to how the percentage is actually paid out. If you want to conserve your bankroll and aren't chasing a big jackpot, you can have a great time playing a slot that doesn't have a big jackpot and has a reasonable payment schedule for average winning combinations.

Posted by CCJ Team

Slot Resources

Click for a full range of slot resources like the history of slots, how to play, the different types of slots, the myths and much more: