How are slots programmed?

| Oct 21, 2019

In a previous world, slot machines were mechanical, operating using a series of levers based on pressure points, weights and measures.

However, very few of these still exist today and if they do, it is often in keeping with their environment and usually for novelty purposes at venues looking to inspire nostalgia.

Every slot now though is computerised which ensures from an efficiency standpoint that casinos are operating at their maximum level of potential.

At the very centre of every slot, there is what is known in the casino industry as a random number generator (RNG), which is essentially the fundamental element of any slot machine and as such forms the most important part of the programming.

What a random number generator does is provide an outcome in terms of results of each spin on a slot machine, though the whole point of it is that all numbers have an equal chance of appearing.

However, while this might be arguably one of the most important parts of a slot machine, there are other elements which form part of the programming.

How are slots programmed?

 

Pay tables are definitely just as essential in a slot machine

While these are visible to a player, they remain one of the most important features of a slot machine, even though the person using it might not be aware of what is going on behind the scenes and the programming involved.

The pay tables are a critical factor which helps to contribute towards determining the house advantage, due to the fact that they display the symbols of each spin.

What is crucial to the casino, is that the probability of each symbol landing is completely hidden to the player and as a result this is programmed in a way that ensures mathematical certainty for any combination.

 

Ultimately Slots are intelligent computers!

With considerable and sophisticated advancements in technology, it is always still worth remembering at the end of the day, that slot machines are highly intelligent computers that have been programmed to do a job.

While they are monitored by the relevant gambling commissions, they do however, have to adhere to certain regulations such as staying above and below certain thresholds for payouts, because any signs of flouting this can lead to them being penalised heavily.

Such is the advancement of technology, slot machines now, are hooked up to a server in casinos, which allows for certain executives to be able to tighten or loosen the slots, which dictate how often slots payout.

Effectively, this means changing the volatility of them, either making them high or low. Although this isn’t directly affecting the programming, because you can argue that the programming is already preset by the manufacturer, there is some participation though it is testament to that slot’s computer for remembering that it has been either loosened or tightened!

Many people often don’t think about how slot machines are programmed or even apply logic of mathematics; they just get too wrapped up in them or frustrated by them, though if you really understand how they work, this could just work to your advantage!

Charles Baxendale (BSc, MSc Mathematics and Computer Science)

Charles Baxendale

(BSc, MSc Mathematics and Computer Science)

A keen researcher in the development of methods and theories for computer sciences. A lover of algorithms and mathematical computation. Consultant to online slots software companies and a player in my spare time.