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Slots Odds

How do odds work in slot machines? Unlike some other games, they’re fixed. However you play, the odds of winning do not go up or down, but always stay the same.

Payout odds vary based on the machine. Two slot machines may look identical, yet may have different odds. So you can’t tell by the appearance of the machine.

The odds of hitting the top award vary greatly by machine, and may be as low as one in 16,000,000 spins – comparable to winning Lotto 6/49.

Gumball machine showing a single orange gumball among blue and green ones
Tip

Over the long run, the machine is guaranteed to make money.

Slot Payouts

When playing slots, knowing the payback or payout percentage of various machines can help you understand your chances of winning.

What's the payback percentage?

What's the payback percentage?

  • Every slot machine arrives from the manufacturer with a computer chip capable of pre-determining how much of the overall player spend the machine will pay back to players over its lifetime. Machines are set by the casino, also known as the house, to payback a certain percentage of coins played, including paying out the jackpot
  • The pre-programmed amount that the house keeps is called the hold

The payback percentage, regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), is: Minimum: 85%

The payback percentage is meant to be representative of the machine’s entire lifecycle, which can be many millions of spins. When the payback percentage is 85%, this doesn’t mean that you can expect to win back $85 if you gamble $100 on that individual session.

The payback percentage doesn’t affect the short-term. Because of randomness, anything can happen when you play.

Compared to other casino games, slots favour the house more.

Payouts of different machines

Paytable showing various payout scenarios

It's easy to think the higher the “denomination”, the more a machine pays out - for example, that a dollar machine will pay more than quarter machines. In Ontario, this isn't always the case. Always check the paytable to know what a machine pays out.

Can the payback percentage change?

Hand turning a knob showing different payout levels

OLG doesn’t have complete control over the payouts of slot machines. This is regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).

Casinos are not allowed to change a machine’s payout while someone is playing or winning on them, nor can they adjust machines during weekends.

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