This is one of the questions that trouble slot players – do online casinos change the payout on slot machines? Before we dive into that discussion, let us take you back in the old days, where slot machines consisted of three spinning reels and a total of five symbols. In order to set the reels in motion, you had to pull a lever and there wasn’t even a direct payment mechanism.


For many more years, slot machines remained purely mechanical because they gave players the feeling that they could control the game and the outcome.

The development of networked slots underscored the growing convergence of gambling and technology. Slot machines, once highly mechanized, are now highly computerized; only about half the machines have actual spinning cylinders. The rest are computer-generated facsimiles that allow gamblers to play numerous animated reels at once, and induce them with the promise of bonus rounds.

Casino operators have sought in recent years to use technology to offer new games and make a science of their business. But those advances are raising some eyebrows. In the case of the new slot machines, regulators want to make sure the systems cannot be invaded by outsiders, while consumers want to know casino operators cannot too easily manipulate the odds. After all, gamblers aren’t known for being the most trusting individuals. They tend to be quite suspicious, especially when it comes to the integrity of online casinos, and even the land-based variety. While every responsible gambler knows that entertainment should be the #1 goal when playing slot machines, they are also in for the big win. And if there’s any chance the casino is altering its slot machine payout percentages, boy would they flip some tables!

Can They And Do Online Casinos Change The Payout On Slot Machines?

Many of today’s leery gamblers have asked this question before. It’s a reasonable one, no doubt. Especially when it comes to slot machines uploaded as software onto the systems of an online operator, wouldn’t it be simple for them to change the payout percentage of slot machines anytime they like?

Casinos Can’t Directly Alter Payout Percentages

While there are some conspiracy theories, in reality, the answer is a quick and resounding “No!” Here’s the thing, it’s not the casinos that make the slot machines. They aren’t staffed with mechanical engineers, computer technicians and software programmers.

Every casino—online and on land—pays to install the slot machines made by these companies. This means that the maintenance of those machines is only performed by the original manufacturer. Regarding internet gambling sites, they pay a licensing fee to software companies to install the games on their servers. Given this, the casino actually has no direct control over the payout percentage of slot machines once they’ve been installed.

No Magic Switch for Casino Slot Machines

When a new game is being installed in a land-based casino, the casino can request the payout percentage be set at a specific amount. The manufacturer will oblige, so long as the selected percentage aligns with local regulations.

After this, if the casino wishes to alter that payout rate at some point, they would have to make a request to the manufacturer. Rest assured, there is no magic switch to be flipped. The manufacturer can’t simply press a button to change the game’s programming. Not only is it a time consuming job, it’s also an expensive one that most casinos would rather avoid paying for.

Another thing to be considered is the fact that many casinos advertise the payout percentages of slot machines directly on each device. So, if they were to alter the payback rate, they would have to change the posted signs as well. Since this all has to be announced, not only would that deter customers, failure to do so could result in a very hefty fine from the local regulatory body.

In the case of online casinos, the payout percentage is usually set by the software company that made it and the operators don’t generally have any say in the payout rate.

The Random Number Generator (RNG)

In every online slot game, there is a computer component normally referred to as the Random Number Generator (RNG) which creates random sequences in intervals of a millisecond all day, every day. The RNGs always produce random and different series of numbers every time you click the spin or bet max button. All online casinos have to have an RNG to determine the outcomes of the numerous online slots they offer. These outcomes are all dependent on a combination of algorithms and the RNG software, and these systems alone determine the outcome of each spin you bet on, regardless of any previous spins.

How The RNG Works

One thing that needs to be remembered is that the slot game does not have a memory. Neither the random number generator nor any other part of the slot game knows whether you have won big or lost big. Your fate is usually determined by certain mathematical equations, and the moment you initiate a play sequence, it is instantly decided upon by the RNG and the results of your online slots spins are not – nor can be – pre-programmed.

When you start an online slot game, the RNG begins spitting out whole numbers, at the rate of hundreds per second. Whichever number the RNG is on at the split second you click your mouse determines what symbols the reels will land on. For example, when you press the start button on a three-reel slot game, three numbers are being recorded from the RNG (one for each reel) that determine the reels’ position. This also applies to five-reel slots and other slot game variations.

How Video Slots Work

Video slots feature on average 50 individual paylines, but sometimes up to 100 or more. As soon as you press the play button, the programs draw five random numbers each on every reel. The system then quickly calculates the complex mathematics behind your win or loss once the last reel stops. The prizes are instantly and automatically summed up to your balance. In case a certain number of Free Spins is awarded or a bonus round is triggered, the reels spin consistently through the same Random Number Generator process.


So, to sum up: Do online casinos change the payout on slot machines? – No. Players can trust that the games are fair thanks to third party auditing firms like eCOGRA. These companies regularly run the slot machine software through a rigorous test, involving up to a million cycles of the reels, to determine its exact payout percentage.

Put your mind at ease and enjoy your slot games experience!

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