Are Slots Easier or Tougher to Beat Today?

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Are Slots Easier or Harder to Beat

Slots have never been one of the easier games to beat in the casino. They’re quite volatile and can put you through plenty of dry spells.

Of course, slot machines have also gone through many changes, including some that are in favor of players. But are these developments significant enough to give you a stronger chance of beating slots today?

I’ll answer this question by first going over changes that have boosted your chances of winning. I’ll also cover reasons why slots have gotten tougher and if they ultimately make it harder to win.

The Case for Slots Being Easier Today

Again, slot machines are never easy to beat. However, your chances of winning today have improved for the following reasons.

Higher RTP

Return to player (RTP) has been steadily improving in both land-based and online casinos. Developers and casinos realize that they can retain customers by giving them a better chance to win.

Land-based slots RTP can be all over the place, ranging from 88% to 96% payback. But the latter end of the spectrum is becoming more and more common in brick and mortar casinos.

Two decades ago, most online slots offered between 92% and 94% RTP. Nowadays, you can look forward to 96% payback on average.

RTP Readily Available

Unfortunately, brick and mortar operators have never been forthcoming with payout percentages. Their casino clients can choose from a variety of RTP options, hence why they never feature a uniform payback figure on any given machine.


Online slots developers, on the other hand, routinely display the RTP in the info section. They tend to offer uniform payout percentages across their casino clients, which is why they’re more transparent with RTP figures.

You’re now more likely than ever to know the payback for any online slot you play. Therefore, you can pick and choose games based on your long-term chances of winning.

Bigger Bonuses

Real money online casinos have been offering bonuses for years to attract more players. These bonuses have gotten larger and larger over the years.

In some cases, you can earn thousands of dollars through a welcome bonus. Even under typical circumstances, you’ll be able to earn hundreds of dollars through a welcome offer.

Of course, you must meet terms and conditions before withdrawing money from a bonus. But the key is that you have an opportunity to win more cash than ever with these deals.

Not Everything Is About the Jackpot

In the past, some slots games were all about the jackpot. They featured (and still feature) six or seven-figure progressive jackpots that can deliver a life-changing fortune.

These prizes are great if your sole purpose for playing slots is to get rich. However, they’re also extremely volatile and can drain your bankroll faster.

Chances are, you’re never going to win a massive progressive jackpot. Fortunately, most modern-day slots don’t put so much emphasis on the jackpot. Instead, they offer more ways to win and, subsequently, more prizes.

The Case for Slots Being Tougher to Beat

Higher RTP and larger online bonuses definitely go in your favor. As you’ll see below, though, slot machines can still be tough to beat due to several aspects.

More Volatility

Outside of the progressive jackpot games discussed before, most slots produced today are quite volatile. Long gone are the simple three-reel games that only featured one to five paylines.

You can still find these classic games in online and land-based casinos. But developers don’t concentrate on making them anymore.

Instead, many new slots feature either medium-to-high volatility or high volatility. You can sometimes find a volatility rating in the info section to see what you’re dealing with.

If you can’t find such a rating, then you should assume that volatility is on the high side. Most slots feature multiple features and/or large stake-based prizes that drive up the risk factor.

Everything Revolves Around Features

More features are the main reason for the extreme volatility. Developers now pack their slots with several features, such as expanding wilds, free spins, win multipliers, and random wilds.

These bonuses and modifiers make for a more-exciting slots experience. However, they also greatly increase the volatility of a game.

The fact that you can trigger multiple features in a single round must be paid for somewhere. Lower payouts in the base game are typically the cost.

LDWs Drain Your Bankroll

A loss disguised as a win (LDW) refers to spins where you win prizes that are worth less than your overall spin cost. You may feel a winner after earning any kind of prize, but you’re actually losing money with LDWs.

Here’s an example of this phenomenon:

  • You bet $1 on a spin.
  • You win $0.05 on one line and it seems like you’ve won a good amount.
  • You’ve actually lost $0.95 overall on the spin.

Basic first-grade math shows that this is clearly a losing spin. However, slots feature flashy animations and thumping sound effects following wins.

This combination makes you feel as if you’ve won, even when you’ve actually lost. Herein lies the “disguised” part of the term.

Fewer Comps

Casinos are a little tighter with rewards these days. They aren’t as generous with comps when compared to past years.

Many land-based casinos previously offered between 0.2% and 0.3% comp rates. They typically offer a 0.1% rate to new players these days.

Some online casinos used to be in the 0.2% range. Now, almost every internet casino features a 0.1% comp rate.

You can still get a better rate by climbing in loyalty status. At the ground level, though, you’ll be looking at fewer rewards for your play.

Do You Ultimately Stand Better Odds of Beating Slots Today?

Your chances of winning with slot machines have improved slightly at land-based casinos. Despite the lower rewards, you can still expect better RTP on the average game.

Your odds of winning money with online slots have improved quite a bit. As mentioned before, gaming sites once offered RTP worth around 92% a couple of decades ago.

Nowadays, however, the average internet slot offers around 96% payback. This RTP is better than what certain table games offer, including Caribbean Stud and American Roulette.

Online casinos also do a good job of delivering large welcome bonuses. Depending upon how much you deposit, you could earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars in bonus cash.

You can also expect land-based and online games that don’t center so much RTP on a huge jackpot. Slots today put the maximum win at a more reasonable value ranging from 5,000x to 10,000x your stake.


Of course, not everything is perfect with regard to your chances of beating slot machines. This is especially true of the multiple games that are filled with features.

A slot doesn’t necessarily need to have a $1 million jackpot just to be volatile. Instead, it can contain many features that push up the risk factor.

LDWs have become more troublesome these days. Developers realize that they stand to earn more money from games by making players feel like winners on every payout no matter how small.

Comps are also lower across the board. Fortunately, the decreased rewards are more than offset by the higher RTP. Even still, you just don’t get as many comps at the average gaming site or land-based venue.

Weighing the positives and negatives, slots are a little easier to beat these days. The increased payback is the prime reason why you stand a better shot at winning money. The industry’s move away from bloated progressive jackpots and larger online bonuses are also contributing factors.

In general, you have the best chance at winning money with internet slots due to the higher RTP. You can also look forward to slightly better odds in brick and mortar casinos.


Slots have changed in both good and bad ways regarding your chances of winning. Overall, your odds of winning with slot machines have increased.

Land-based casinos and, especially, gambling sites now feature slots with higher RTP. They realize that giving gamblers a better chance to win can encourage more play.

Online slots are definitely your best bet if you want the highest RTP and largest bonuses. However, you can also look forward to slightly better winnings in brick and mortar casinos nowadays.

Of course, slot machines are always negative-expectation games regardless of if they’re played online or live. Therefore, you should always be realistic about your chances of winning.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for since early 2016. ...

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