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How Slot Machines Work

Slot machines operate randomly. This is due to a Random Number Generator (RNG) inside each machine, which cycles through millions of numbers continuously. The outcome of a spin is automatically determined by the RNG at the time you hit the spin button, making it impossible to predict whether you’ll win or lose.

Some machines allow you to stop the spinning reels early. This has no impact on the outcome of the spin, but rather just displays the final result quicker. There’s nothing you can do to actually influence the results or where the reels will stop.

Each slot machine has a unique set of symbols (like a bar, cherries, or the number ‘7’). Some symbols may show up only once on the ‘physical reel’ (the reel visible to you), while other symbols may appear on the physical reel more than once. But it is the ‘virtual reel’ (spinning inside the machine) that determines whether you win or not. So, for example, even if you see the same number of cherries and bars while the physical reel is spinning, the virtual wheel may actually contain twice as many cherries as bars.

For some slot machines, bonus games may be offered where players have a chance to influence the bonus prize amount by interacting with an arcade-style video game. While skill may play a factor in the outcome of the bonus prize, chance still plays a big part.  No matter a player’s skill level, the RNG inside each machine determines the overall payout, including whether a player wins the opportunity to play the bonus game, and the pre-determined maximum amount available to be won during the bonus game.

To learn more about how slot machines work, visit GameSense.ca or watch this video.