Slot machines are a casino staple and available throughout the world and now in a virtual version in online gaming. Although it is always a gamble to play slot games and there is never a guarantee you are going to walk away with more money than you went in with, it is a fun way to pass the time. Because there is no skill involved with slot games (unlike some card games) anyone can play it and could possibly end up winning a good amount of money.

Slot Machine Value

Decide how much you want to gamble on the machines or in online slots strategy games. Slot machines typically range from one penny to a dollar. Although you are set to lose more money on the larger bets you also increase your chances of winning more. Slot machines in casinos are arranged by value, so most of the one dollar machines are placed together while the penny and nickel slots are positioned in their own specific location.

Locate Slot Machine

Find an online slot machine that displays multiple icons on each slot row. This improves your chances of winning as you can score diagonally and horizontally (instead of the slot machines that only allow you to win horizontally).

Play Slot Machine

Select the amount you want to bet. Even though the machine states “25 cents” or “$1” you are able to bet more than that. This, again, increases the amount you either win or lose. Make sure to read the instructions printed on the side of the slot machine. With many slot machines a smaller bet reduces the lines you win on. A line is how similar icons are connected on the machine for you to win. For example, if you make the smallest bet possible on the machine the matching icons must appear in a perfect, horizontal line. However, if you place a larger bet you can win not only on the horizontal line, but diagonals and even zig-zags.

Choose the number of rows you want to bet. This is only for machines that allow you to win diagonally. Betting on additional diagonals increases your bet. This is on top of betting a larger amount. This increases the amount of money bet on each row, which boosts the pay out on your win.

Push the “Bet” button or pull the handle to activate the slot machines. Wait for the machine to complete its rotation. If you win anything the machine lights up and counts up the won bet. Repeat the same process to continue using the slot machine.

The Slot Machine Monster

On track to achieve a huge revenue in the next fiscal year, the International Game Technology (IGT) is highly profitable with gross margins swelling to 54%.

The company collects a stream of recurring income from about 60,000 machines installed throughout casinos in key gaming markets around the globe. IGT has international operations in Russia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, South Africa, Japan and Macau (a small territory on China’s south coast that serves gamblers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan).

Slot machines are generally more profitable than traditional table games such as blackjack and roulette. This is due in part because slots require no dealer and therefore have lower labor costs. Increasingly casino floor space is filled with row after row of machines, with casino managers eager to try out the latest models knowing that a successful slot machine can pay for itself within weeks. An average slot at a busy Las Vegas casino can generate about US$300 daily.

According to Casino Player magazine, IGT has produced 7 of the top 10 most popular video slots. Some are based on favorite television game shows such as Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune and The Price is Right. Best-selling poker titles include Triple Play Poker and World Poker Tour video slots.

Due to strict regulations and stiff barriers to entry, IGT faces few competitors yet continues to invest almost double what others spend on research and product development. The company launches a plethora of new gaming products annually, the latest being an extensive series of flamboyant Marilyn Monroe slots.

IGT customizes gaming machines exported to international clients so that they meet the demands of local cultures. For example, Japan’s Pachisuro slot machines differ from U.S. slots in that they feature a small pull-lever that looks like an arcade joystick on the front of the machine. Players spin the reels by activating the lever, and have 3 small buttons on the front of the machine to stop each reel.

And The Winner Is…

Key to IGT’s success as a world leader in the global gaming industry is technology. Below are drivers that fuel IGT’s success.

  • The company’s EZ Pay Ticket System features gaming machines that print and receive tickets rather than coins. Casinos prefer cashless slots because the machines eliminate the need for workers to supply change and to stock the machines with coins, thus saving some 30% on labor costs.
  • IGT engineers comprehensive systems that allow operators to remotely manage game bonuses, player tracking, ticketing and payout rates of machines. Again, these reduce labor costs.
  • IGT offers multi-site progressive slot systems that combine payouts from a group of networked casinos. Higher ‘pooled’ winnings attract more gamblers and encourage more plays for bigger prizes.
  • In August 2005 IGT acquired WagerWorks in a deal that enables the company to distribute its vast portfolio of gaming content across online channels, including the Internet, mobile devices and interactive television. Such new offerings could significantly increase company revenues should online gambling be legalized.

While supplying slots and related software to North American casinos remains profitable, that market is reaching maturity and is increasingly competitive.

However, the booming international appetite for new slots technology should drive IGT’s revenues for many years. International operations now contribute 25% of total company revenues, up from 20% just last year. Many experts believe that, with Macau becoming the Las Vegas of fast-growing Asia, the growth rate for slots in international markets is set for explosive growth.

Odds are that the ‘Slot Machine Monster’ (IGT on NYSE) will continue to offer substantial payouts to its shareholders.