casino management; casino marketing; slot machines; slot math


Gaming and Casino Operations Management

Document Type

Original Research Article


Based on modified versions of licensed pay tables from reel slot machines, simulations of play failed to indicate a statistically significant difference in the spins per losing player (SPLP), despite a marked difference in the pars (i.e., 7.9% vs. 12.9%). To reflect a volume of play consistent with frequent gambling, the simulations included results from 1-4 visits per week, for the equivalent of one year. Additionally, this level of play was repeated for 100 “years,” within multiple scenarios of buy-in amounts and stoppage-of-play criteria. Still, most outcomes indicated a negligible decline in SPLP, in spite of the 63%-increase in the par. These results were reproduced from a second pairing of games featuring a 117%-increase in par (i.e., 4.6% vs. 10.0%). The findings spotlighted considerable limitations of popular industry heuristics related to the relationship between par and play time. While additional studies are warranted, the outcomes suggested that operators may be overly mindful of the fallout from increased pars. These overbroad beliefs are likely to impede critical progress toward revenue optimization.

Funding Sources

This work was supported by a research grant from the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Competing Interests

Anthony Lucas has owned common stock in the following gaming companies: MGM Resorts International, Las Vegas Sands Corp., and Wynn Resorts, Limited. Dr. Lucas has also received funds from the US Department of Justice, Las Vegas Sands Corp., and FortuNet, Inc. Dr. Singh has no competing interests.