Over the past few days we’ve talked about the difficulty of quantifying the return percentage of slot machines. Unlike video poker, there’s no established framework such as is provided by a deck of playing cards. That means that it’s difficult to come up with the ‘true odds’ of hitting each winning combination. Without that, the pay table data is not particularly useful. This type of information is extremely valuable, but difficult to come by.

We’re in the process of trying to pin down some concrete casino level data on slots that isn’t outdated or otherwise completely useless. In the meantime, here are a few things that we’ve learned from our research that you can benefit from immediately:


BEST: THE PALMS: Year after year, the Palms Casino Resort consistently ranks as one of the top Las Vegas casinos for slot machine players as well as video poker players. Slot machines pay out in the 92% or 93% range and they’ve got a good selection of full pay bonus and deuces wild video poker machines with most video poker paying in excess of 98%.

WORST: MCCARRAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: Not a huge surprise that the slot machines at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport rank among the worst paying not only in the city but in the entire state of Nevada. How bad are the airport slots? Payback is somewhere between 80% and 85%.

BEST: ORLEANS HOTEL & CASINO: The Boyd Gaming property is a favorite of both locals and tourists. Their generously paying slots and video poker are a major reason why. Slot payback is usually in the mid to high 92% range with most every video poker machine on the property paying 99% or better.

WORST: VENETIAN HOTEL & CASINO: Generally speaking, the resorts on the Las Vegas Strip have a lower return to player than anywhere else in town. The Venetian might be the lowest paying property on The Strip. Video poker isn’t horrible though compared to the other properties in the state it’s pretty bad with most games paying in the low 98% range. Slots are even worse, paying in the high 80% range.

BEST: PEPPERMILL HOTEL CASINO RENO: Northern Nevada has a strange statistical profile when it comes to slots and video poker. Most video poker and slot machines in Northern Nevada pay well but not as well as the best machines in Las Vegas. Virtually every property in Reno will offer slots in the 92% payback range and video poker at 98% or higher. One of the best all around casinos in Northern Nevada is the Peppermill which has higher than average payouts across the board.

WORST: BELLAGIO HOTEL AND CASINO: There’s a rule of thumb that the ‘nicer the casino the lower paying the slots’. That’s not entirely true but the dynamic is in play on the Las Vegas Strip. Most Strip properties pay reasonably well with their video poker machines since it’s tougher for them to get away with. At the Bellagio, video poker pays mostly in the 98% range but slots are in the high 80% range. To be fair, that’s in the same range as most Strip properties.