Balancing Payout Opportunities In Online Slots

Published: April 10, 2015

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Online casino players like bigger payouts and more frequent payouts in slot machines. In the competitive online casino environment, the developers of video slot machines have to provide these. But they also have to do a balancing act because online casino operators want slot machines with average return to player of around 95%. This article looks at some of the avenues used by the online slots developers to fulfill both these requirements.

The basic document is the payout table, which gives the amount won for the various combinations of like symbols. The most obvious option for increasing the payouts is by increasing the amount won. Usually the highest payout for getting five of the wild or most important symbol in an active payline is a few thousand coins. In a few online slots you will find that this payout is as high as 10,000 coins. In order to balance this, the number of these symbols is reduced in the reels so that five-of-a-kind combinations occur less frequently.

Usually line payouts begin when three of the same symbol appear on a payline from left to right. In order to satisfy players who want more frequent payouts, some slot machines start paying for two like symbols. There are slot machines where the wild symbol appearing on the first reel awards a payout. These payouts are only one or two coins per coin wagered. For even more frequent payouts some slot games award payouts both from left to right and from right to left.

The free spins bonus round is where most of the innovations are taking place. Some slot games offer upwards of 50 free spins with five scatter symbols in the triggering combination. However, this is such a rare occurrence that most online casino players do not pay heed to this. Software providers therefore include more visible payout opportunities. Some of them allow the wild symbols to remain frozen until the end of the free spins. In some cases the multiplier increases with each spin. Unless the player is extremely unlucky, he will receive a bonanza payout in the last few spins of this bonus round. If such a free spins bonus round is triggered very frequently the online casino will start losing money. Therefore the slots developers ensure that frequency for the trigger so as to maintain the average return at 95%.

Whenever online casino software developers introduce a high payout opportunity in an online slot, they balance it by reducing the payout somewhere else or by decreasing the frequency of the payout. You have to learn to read whether the online slot game is volatile or not from the features offered and make your choice accordingly.


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