A closeup of a slot machine in Las Vegas.

How To Win Big: Loosest Slots In Las Vegas

With more than 160,000 slot machines, Las Vegas has more than enough one-armed bandits to keep you occupied for days. But with so many machines, how do you know which ones to choose? 

You might look at things like a casino’s theme or interior design—there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re serious about getting the best return on your investment, then you’ve got to know where to find the loosest slots in Las Vegas. 

Read on to learn more.

Some Definitions

Even if you’re a Las Vegas regular and avid gambler, you may be unfamiliar with some of the terms we’ll be using in this article. To fix that, here’s a quick glossary to help you out. 

  • Payback percentage rate - The portion of all wagers placed into a slot machine or group of slot machines that is returned to any and all players (not just you) who put money into the machine(s). This may also be called the “theoretical payout percentage" or RTP, "return to player."
  • Payback percentage “range” - The range of payback percentages available to casinos when they buy a given slot machine from the manufacturer.
  • Loose slot - Slot machines that offer a higher than average payback percentage.

General Tips For Finding The Loosest Slots In Las Vegas

The Strip’s 30 casinos offer an average 91.47% payback rate. Anything more than that improves your chances of winning and is a good place to spend some time. Here are some more quick tips.

  • Newer and more luxurious hotels are known for having the overall poorest payback percentages.
  • Flashy machines may catch your eye, but older-looking machines usually offer much better paybacks. 
  • High traffic areas near elevators, a front desk, aisles, showrooms, and registration areas contain the loosest slots in the casino.

How Do Slot Machines Work?

A closeup of a man’s hand pressing the bet button on a slot machine.

These days most slots are digital, but the way they work is very similar to old machines.

Now that you have some basic knowledge, let’s see how slot machines work

The easiest way to understand slots is by picturing a traditional three-slot reel. On these reels, there are usually 22 physical “stops” on a wheel. A stop is the space on the reel with either a symbol or a blank that registers on the pay line.

Computerized slot machines are governed by a similar “virtual reel.” Each of the 22 reel stops is assigned a random number—let’s call them 1 through 22. Symbols are then assigned numbers 23 and up. 

These values form theoretical number sets—from hundreds in a traditional slot to tens of thousands in a multi-line video slot. When you press the spin button, the computer freezes the random set of numbers and translates them into their corresponding reel stops. The computer then tells the video screen what to display. 

As anyone who’s played slots before knows,  jackpot symbols come up infrequently, while lower-paying symbols and blanks are much more common.

How To Determine A Machine’s Payback Percentage

A machine’s payback percentage depends on a few factors. First, a programmer can manipulate it according to how many numbers they assign to each symbol or blank. 

More numbers assigned to higher-paying symbols and fewer numbers assigned to blanks means a higher payback percentage. Conversely, more numbers assigned to blanks and cherries yields a lower payback percentage. 

Payback percentage also depends on individual casinos. When a manufacturer sells a machine to a casino, they offer several theoretical payback percentage ranges. Each casino chooses the range they want for each denomination (for example penny, nickel, or dollar slots) based on house policy. 

Even though it’s possible to find payback percentages, it’s important to keep in mind that they are theoretical. They’re not based on a single spin, or even a night’s worth of play. Rather, they’re based on the average outcomes of millions of spins. That’s why it’s possible to play for hours and still lose. It’s not you. It’s not the machine. It’s statistics.

What Makes A Slot Loose? Some Myths, Some Truths

A woman pulling the lever on a slot machine while smiling.

Forget what you’re heard about loose slots—there’s a lot of misinformation out there.

Spend a few hours in Vegas and you’ll probably hear the term “loose slot” thrown around at least a few times. Gamblers are always looking to tip the odds in their favor and loose slots help them do just that. 

Read on to understand more about the myths and the truths of loose slots.


Before anything else, it’s important to note that payback percentage is one of the most misunderstood terms when it comes to gambling. Many players think this percentage represents the amount of money that will come back to them after wagering money in a slot machine. Others think that casinos control the payback percentage using a hidden switch in a secret back room. 

Both of these assumptions are false and contribute to the myths and misconceptions about slots. Let’s look a bit closer at these, and other myths.

Myth: Percentages are changed on the fly. 

Fact: Percentages are programmed into the machines before they’re installed.

As mentioned previously, casinos buy payback percentage programs when buying machines from the manufacturers. The percentage they choose is based on company policy. 

When a machine is installed, the chip that governs the payback percentage is sealed inside. Changing it requires opening the machine in the presence of a regulatory official. In a similar vein, casinos are required by law to report their payback percentages to regulatory agencies. 

If a game under-performs, it’s more likely that the casino will change the game, rather than the percentage.

Myth: A machine’s payback percentage will reflect the payout you receive.

Fact: Payback percentage is long-term.

If you see a sign on a slot machine advertising a 98% payback, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to win. Thinking about table games makes this easier to understand. For example, blackjack has a payback percentage similar to a slot with a 98% payback. Even with those odds, you don’t always win at blackjack. It’s the same for slots. 

And even a 100% payback doesn’t guarantee a win. A 100% payback just means there’s no inherent house edge. In terms of slot machines, it means that over time, the amount wagered will eventually equal the amount distributed in jackpots.

Always remember that paybacks are theoretical. What’s more, the theoretical payback is computed through simulations over the life of the machine—over several years, in other words. In the short term, anything can happen. 

Myth: Payback percentage is the same as hit frequency. 

Fact: Payback percentage and hit frequency are completely separate. 

Just as a high payback percentage doesn’t guarantee a win, neither does it mean you’ll hit a lot of jackpots. In most cases, the highest-returning slot machines, percentage-wise, often have the lowest hit frequency. That’s why you need a big bankroll for these games—you may lose a lot before you win big.

Myth: You can tell a machine’s payback percentage just by looking at it. 

Fact: You’ll have to do your homework to know a machine’s payback. 

While video poker games will tell you the payback percentage on the pay schedule, the same can’t be said for slot machines. Video poker games are restricted, by law, to one number for each possible result in a poker hand. When it comes to slot machines, it’s impossible to know how many simulated reel stops have been placed into the program.

The best way to ensure the highest payback percentage is to keep track of the statistics (see the next section for tips) and play at the casinos that consistently offer players good returns.

Loosest Slots On The Strip

Now that you’re an expert in all things slots, let’s take a look at some of the casinos with the loosest slots. We chose these casinos based on a study conducted by a team of gambling researchers from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. 

The team conducted a survey of every Las Vegas casino’s slot machine inventory to determine payback percentages. The list below is based on their findings. All of the casinos listed below offer a higher than average payback percentage to players.

Circus Circus Casino and Resort

Exterior view of Circus Circus Casino in Las Vegas at night.

It’s not the most beautiful casino on the Strip, but it does have one of the best payouts.

Circus Circus is one of the older casinos on our list, but their slot machines are some of the best we’ve found.  Playing slots at Circus Circus gives you an average payback percentage of 92.56%, the highest offered by any casino on the Las Vegas Strip. 

Here you’ll find classic machines such as “Double Diamond” and “Red, White, and Blue.” It’s also home to a diverse collection of “Classic Coin Machines” —the kind which still take quarters and use a pull-lever.

Luxor Hotel and Casino

Exterior view of the Luxor Casino pyramid and pharaoh in Las Vegas at night.

Luxor has one of the biggest collections of slot machines in all of Las vegas.

Luxor houses more than 1,100 slot machines, one of Las Vegas’ largest inventories. Put together, they offer an average payback rate of 91.92%. 

There’s everything from classic three-reel machines to modern video slots equipped with movable seats and sound effects.

Paris Las Vegas

Exterior view of the Paris Las Vegas hotel lit up at night.

A great selection of slot machines plus world-class amenities make Paris Las Vegas a great bet.

Like Luxor, Paris Las Vegas is sitting on a 91.92% overall payback rate.

With more than 1,700 machines, the slot selection is irreproachable. There are three-, five-, and even six-reel games, plus a wide selection of machines. When you’ve had enough gambling, experience Paris’ other amenities like world-class dining, shopping, and entertainment.

Excalibur Hotel and Casino

Exterior view of the Excalibur Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in daytime.

If you can deal with the cheesy theme, Excalibur is a great spot to play some of Las Vegas’ loosest slots.

Next up on the list of loosest slots in Las Vegas is Excalibur Hotel and Casino. All told, Excalibur’s slot menu offers an average 91.84% payback rate, which definitely beats the baseline for casinos along the Strip.

Here the machines number in the hundreds, running from $0.01 to $100 stakes. Even better, they have all of your favorite machines, including 88 Fortunes, Buffalo Grand, Dancing Drums, and Monopoly Hot Shot. 

After gambling, be sure to enjoy the Casino’s Medieval theme, complete with Old English dialogue, jousting tournaments, and oversized turkey legs.

Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino

Bally’s Las Vegas at night.

You won’t find much in the way of high-tech machines at Bally’s, but you will find good odds.

Bally’s hundreds of slots average out at 91.82% payback. These high-paying slots are enough to drag you away from some of the fancier joints on the Strip.  

Bally’s is a no-frills casino so expect to find lots of staple titles and jackpots, but less in the way of cutting-edge technology.

New York-New York Hotel and Casino

View of the New York-New York Hotel in Las Vegas.

New York-New York has all of your favorite slot titles, plus lots of additional amenities.

New York-New York’s 1,500 slot machines average out with a payback rate of 90.99%. You’ll find popular titles like Wheel of Fortune, Megabucks, Jackpot Party, Monopoly, and Wizard of Oz. 

As an MGM Resorts property, New York-New York boasts all of the “extras” gamblers today have come to expect, like restaurants, retail shopping outlets, bars, and in-house shows.

More Ways To Find Loose Slots

While we’re confident that we’ve put together a pretty comprehensive guide of the loosest slots in Las Vegas, we acknowledge that it’s a complex question with ever-changing answers. Because of that, we recommend doing more research if you’re really serious about finding the loosest slots. 

Here are some places to look: 

  • Message boards and online threads - Check out sites like Tripadvisor, Wizard of Vegas, or Vegas Message Board for conversations and slot reviews. 
  • Promotions - Sign up for casino player’s clubs. These groups give you access to unique games, free slot plays, and make you eligible for freebies on your next trip to Las Vegas.
  • Nevada Gaming Revenue Report - If you’re not afraid of statistics and have some extra time on your hands, check out Nevada’s official statistics. Published yearly, these figures breakdown payouts by region, slot machine denomination, and casino revenue range. They’re available in downloadable PDF form and are available on the Nevada Gaming Commission’s website. 
  • Podcasts - Loose slots are a popular topic on Las Vegas podcasts. A few of our favorites include: 

  • Five Hundy by Midnight
  • Vegas Never Sleeps
  • 360 Vegas
  • You Can Bet on That
  • Gambling with an Edge
  • Vegas Confessions Podcast
  • Vital Vegas

Time To Head For The Casino!

A closeup of a man pulling the lever on a slot machine.

Now that you’re an expert in loose slots, go out there and win big!

Gambling is one of the must-do activities when you head to Las Vegas and it’s always a bonus if you have the odds in your favor. Use this guide of the loosest slots in Las Vegas as a reference before you head out on your next gambling exhibition. 

For more Las Vegas tips and tricks, check out this article!

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