If you’ve been a slots player for a while you’ve probably heard the term “tight slots” in reference to someone losing or a casino’s greed – either way it is associated with the player losing money. In general “tight slots” refer to slot machines with lower payout rates and higher house edges which means that casinos should make more money on these types of machines, but actually they may be hurting themselves by having these slots on their floors or in their games offering.
While lower payouts mean that players lose their money quicker and that can translate into less frequent visits to their favourite casino/s. This results in casinos having to spend money to get these players back by either offering comps or free play. Due to the fact that casinos already spend a great deal of money to attract new players, retention is key and when players lose and play less often, this can mean serious trouble for the casinos bottom lines and offering huge amounts of free play to get players playing disturbs the very fine balance between profitability and loss. This is a huge problem for land based casinos in particular that have very high overhead costs.
Let’s take a look at the factors that have led to tighter slots and challenging land based casino environments in recent times.
The advent of advanced games
Slot machines developers are continually engineering increasingly advanced slots and players can now enjoy graphic and detail rich slot machines with 3D animation, video clips, bonus games and extensive paytables. While all of this does add to the enjoyment of the slot, it has proved to lower the number of spins that players make per hour as the games take way more time to finish than they had previously done and this ultimately means less money spent and lower profits. As such, the house edge is higher to compensate for this.
The popularity of Penny Slots
Penny slots are popular thanks to the fact that they are so cheap and you can enjoy playing a slot for a penny per spin. The problem with these machines is that you get really low payouts and you end up putting loads of credits in on multiple paylines because you think it’s cheap but it all adds up and becomes really expensive anyway.
Players losing more money in a shorter time
We all know that casino games have varying house edges, yet we still want to get decent entertainment for our money and on some slots that just isn’t happening – especially at some of the land based casinos around the world. The tighter the slots are, the more money you lose and the shorter you get to play for and eventually you lose interest and the casinos try to keep you playing with free play offers.
Free Play being awarded to the wrong people
A lot of casinos don’t do a great job of rewarding the right players because free play is usually dependent on how much a player wagers in conjunction with the game that they plays house edge (this is also known as a theoretical win). The problem with this system is that is doesn’t take into consideration players that end up losing their money quickly without getting to play much.
This means that if you put $100 into your favourite slot and lose it all in an hour, but another player wagers $90 on another slot and plays for three hours, they will get more free play than you do. The flaw is obvious here.
As one can see, the brick and mortar casino industry faces a dilemma in trying to keep players playing while not giving away too much free play credit to the wrong players. Tighter slots and penny slots with lower payouts also are not the answer for ensuring repeat business.
That is where online casinos have the advantage – their floor space is not limited and they can literally offer hundreds of different types of slots with varying payout rates without having to worry. They also calculate free money offers based on both time and spend at the casinos and they don’t have the overhead costs to justify higher edges on all of their slots. So next time you play, rather do so online where there’s more on offer for your benefit!