David G. Schwartz

Document Type

Occasional Paper

Publication Date


Publication Title

Center for Gaming Research Occasional Paper Series: Paper 01

Publisher Location

Las Vegas, Nevada


Since the advent of the current economic decline, speculation about the impact of “tighter” slot machines on gaming revenues and visitation patterns has been rife. Indeed, it is easy to make an intuitive link between higher slot hold percentages—that ultimately make the slot playing experience either shorter in duration or more costly, or both—and declines in revenue, handle, and visitation. But examining the slot hold percentages and slot denomination mix in the context of the changes in slot technologies over the years 1992 to 2009, it becomes apparent that there was no sudden arbitrary decision by slot managers to increase hold percentages. Instead, players have chosen, in increasing numbers, to play higher‐hold, lower denomination machines in place of lower‐hold, higher denomination ones. Player choice, not managerial initiative, has been the key determinant of higher slot holds in Nevada, and this pattern likely holds across the national industry.


Boulder Strip; Gambler; Gaming; Las Vegas Strip; Nevada; Slot hold percentage; Slot machine; Slot player


Sociology | Tourism

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