Are Slot Machines Honest?

When it comes to the gambling industry, the question of honesty almost always crops up in conversation. Indeed, you walk into any casino or use an online gambling site – you’ll find yourself wondering; “is this honest? Can I actually win here?”. 

Well, the short answer is yes – slot machines are generally honest. The chances of winning are usually explained, but of course – there’s a lot more to understand than just this. 

Are Slot Machines Honest?

To clear up some of the confusion, we’ve written this handy guide. We’ll look at if slot machines are honest, what we mean by honest and a whole host of other handy pieces of information.

So, if you’re looking to learn a lot more about honesty with slot machines – then read on! 

What Do We Mean By “Honest”?

When we think of the word honest, we might think of it in a few different ways. Primarily, we are asking if slot machines are fair and free of deceit. 

When we think of honesty in this way, then the answer would be yes – most slot machines would be considered as honest. However, if we’re asking if slot machines are morally correct and virtuous – then the answer might be a little more complex.

What we must understand first is that winning from slot machines is not in the same way as earning money. There is no hard work involved, so as a result – we need to recognize that there is always going to be a huge element of luck. 

The best way we can start to examine a slot machine’s honesty is by looking at the mathematics of how these machines work. 

How Slot Machines Work Mathematically 

When we’re looking at the honesty of slot machines, we must first learn how these game machines work mathematically. Bizarrely, the mathematics of these machines is far more simple than some would have you believe. 

Primarily, we must look at the basic concept of probability. In other words, we’re looking at how likely it would be for something to happen – usually known as an “event”. 

The probability of an event occurring is often represented by the number zero or one. A guaranteed event occurring would be represented by the number one, whereas no chance of an event occurring is shown through the number zero. 

Of course, half of this is 0.5 providing a 50% chance of an event occurring. Now, while most machines would show you a probability in the form of percentages or fractions, this example makes things a lot simpler to understand. 

Probability For Games 

Outside of the context of slot machines, most games have their own probabilities which are easy to calculate. For example, if you are going to roll a dice and want to know your chances of rolling a six, then your probability is ⅙.

However, when we’re looking at slot machines, then we’re looking at the larger probability of rolling three of the same symbol. For this example, we will assume that the three symbols are a lemon, a cherry and an orange. 

The probability of rolling an orange for the first symbol is 1/3 and the probability of rolling an orange for the second symbol is 1/3 and so on. 

However, this is of course not how you would win anything from a slot machine because you must roll three of the same symbol. So, the equation for this probability is 1/3 x 1/3 x 1/3 resulting in a probability of 1/9.

What this means is that the probability of not winning anything is ⅔. So, when we’re talking about the honesty of slot machines – this sounds primarily honest, but of course – the casino or online gambling game will pocket the 2/3 of non winners. 

Of course, this is just a simple example. Modern slot machines are far more complex than this and have many more symbols which significantly reduce your chances of winning even further. 

In the long run and with multiple slot machines, the gambling industry inevitably makes a profit at your expense. There is therefore an argument of dishonesty here, but once again – this will depend on your definition of honesty.

Do Slot Machines Cheat The Player?

Are Slot Machines Honest? (1)

Not necessarily. It’s of course important that we understand that all of these machines have a mathematical advantage over the player, but most players will understand this before taking part in the game originally. 

Many places that have legalized gambling will have high regulation for their games, such as in Nevada for instance. As a result, the probability of winning something is going to be ensured. 

However, you might be wondering if it is impossible to win the jackpot on these slot machines. Once again, it’s not impossible – but the probability of winning the jackpot is incredibly unlikely. 

Most of these slot machines numbers are controlled by what is known as an RNG (random number generator). Therefore, the chances of winning the jackpot will be dictated by this system. 

As a result of this, the only people that know about the probability of winning the jackpot will be the computer itself and the casino manager. 

What About Online Slot Machines?

The chances of winning online will be the same as winning physically. Once again, genuine online gambling entities will be heavily audited and regulated – so, while it is not going to be impossible to win the jackpot, the likelihood of winning it will be low. 

Overall, the major winner of these slot machines is not the player, but the gambling industry as a whole.

Final Thoughts 

To summarize, slot machines are honest in the sense that they do not cheat the player. However, the advantage of winning will always be to the casino or to the online gambling organization. 

We hope we’ve cleared up some of the confusion!

Richie Thames
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