David G. Schwartz

Document Type

Occasional Paper

Publication Date


Publication Title

Center for Gaming Research Occasional Paper Series: Paper 34

Publisher Location

Las Vegas, Nevada

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Throughout much of its existence, Nevada’s gambling industry has been dominated by table games. Historically, slot machines were of secondary importance because they did not generate much revenue and were costly to maintain and operate. Starting in the late 1970s, a series of technological milestones improved the form and function of slot machines, and fueled replacement cycles on casino floors. Nevada gaming revenue data provides evidence of the economic effects of these improvements. Since 1984, slots generally have produced larger revenue gains than tables, although those gains are distributed neither uniformly over time nor across gaming markets. In addition, slots have achieved most of those revenue gains through superior unit growth, and to a lesser extent, through improvements in efficiency. Overall, the evidence suggests technological advances have broadened the appeal of slots relative to table games. However, there is comparatively little evidence of wholesale increases in the revenue-generating ability or usage of the devices on a per unit basis.


Accounting; Efficiency; Casino; Gaming; Revenue; Slot machine; Technology


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