For this one, I’m going to discuss some of the most misleading casino games and promotions that have ever been foisted on casual and advantage players alike. While most of these are going to be examples of blatant misleading that are technically legal, I’m also going to add a few things that are not necessarily misleading, but seem to be designed to the detriment of players.
The Need to Opt-In
Most state-regulated online casinos offer new player promotions of one kind or another, and to be fair, often state (somewhere, even if it’s hard to find) that a player must specifically, “Opt-in,” to a given promotion by going to a particular place on the site, clicking on a specific, “Opt-in,” button and then making a deposit.
While it’s not exactly misleading, different online casinos handle different new player promotions in different ways and require that things often be done in a highly specific order. For example, I played at one online casino in which I took advantage of a $1,000, “Risk-Free,” sports bet.
Basically, the way that this was supposed to work was highly convoluted. Essentially, a player had to follow the promotion link to the signup page and sign up for the online casino; so far, so good. After signing up for the online casino, but BEFORE making any deposits (yes, the order of these two events was crucial) the player was supposed to go to the, “Promotions,” tab and, “Opt-In,” to the promotion. After that, the player was supposed to make the qualifying deposit and then make the first sports bet that they wanted to be eligible to have receive a, “Free Bet,” in the event that the first bet lost.
The first problem, intuitively, is that if you followed the link from a different website to earn the promotion and used that link to sign up, from that, the casino should be able to infer that you want to participate in that promotion, right? One would think that signing up for that online casino using the link from their own promotional advertisement would de facto opt you into it, yes? There wasn’t anything saying you had to essentially opt-in after signing up through the link, though it’s probably buried somewhere in the full Terms & Conditions.
With all of that, I did ultimately attempt to opt-in, but their site crashed a couple of times during the signup process and a few times when I went to the promotions screen. I finally managed to opt-in (I thought) and make the deposit, but then, after the bet lost, they said I never opted-in.
I responded and explained the situation that I thought I had opted-in. I also pointed out that I signed up through that promotion link and asked, “Why would I sign up through that link and make the deposit if not to use the promotion?”
To their credit, the website ended up awarding it, but it makes me wonder what would have happened if I actually hadn’t done it right or kept arguing with them? Is this something that site tries with everyone figuring that most people will just choose not to argue with them about it—who knows?
Furthermore, I could understand having to opt-in or opt-out of a promotion that might not necessarily benefit the player, but who wouldn’t want the $1,000 Risk Free bet promotion if their first bet loses? There’s literally nobody that promotion doesn’t benefit, and since you can only do it if you are making your first ever bet, you only have one opportunity to ever use that promotion. In my opinion, the whole, “Opt-In,” thing for promotions that are very obviously good for the player is just a means to get them to void the promotion.
Terrible Blackjack Setup
This is one that you eventually get used to and it doesn’t happen as often, but the FanDuel Blackjack game on the mobile app has a setup that can only be designed for the express purpose of the player making mistakes.
The bottom row of the Blackjack game consists of four options which are surrender, double, hit and stand. Some of you are probably wondering, “Where is the split button?”, and I will be more than happy to tell you.
It doesn’t exist.
Okay, it exists, but only when there is an opportunity to split. In fact, it pops up EVERY time there is an opportunity to split, such as on tens. The button to choose not to split appears on the left and the button that says you do want to split appears where, get this, the, ‘Stand,’ button would usually be!
Is this just an unintentional terrible design? I’m not convinced. For one thing, why would a player have to specifically choose NOT to split every time when, almost as often as not, the player wouldn’t split anyway. The most notable thing is that a player would NEVER split tens, and the most common hand with two like-value cards is 20, so players have to constantly specifically refuse a split that they should never make under any circumstances!
Of course, the worst aspect of this splitting problem is the fact that they put the button to accept the split EXACTLY where the Stand button would normally be. They have an entire screen layout that would enable them to put the split/Don’t Split buttons literally anywhere else. Naturally, especially if you’re playing the three-handed game, the player is going to be inclined to go for the stand button when he sees that he has twenty, except it will instead be the button that you would normally use to accept a split.
Obviously, the unintentional splitting of tens isn’t the only problem, there’s also the potential to split poor totals against dealers showing strong cards, but that’s a lot less likely, because these are hands that you typically wouldn’t stand on anyway.
No, in my opinion, the design is pretty specifically so that the player will accidentally split 10’s from time to time, and what could they say in complaint? Technically, they DID hit the button that says that they wanted to split the cards. This is especially problematic in the three-handed game because, even if you have trained yourself out of immediately going for the stand on 10+10 hands, you’ll still occasionally accidentally split out of instinct as you’re cruising through to the second or third hands (from right) and intending to stand on twenty.
Cash Grab/G- Go Claw
This game was first mentioned on the forums and at Wizard of Odds, so I’ve yet to see this game in person. In any event, the game is designed to look exactly like a claw machine where a player makes a bet and has the opportunity to catch a ball with a hidden prize amount. If the player catches the ball and it is held to the end, then the prize amount will be revealed on the screen.
Basically, the game is supposed to resemble and old school claw machine where a player will try to catch a ball in a claw and have the ball get carried to the end. If the ball is carried to the end, then the game will reward a prize. Here’s a video of the game in action.
Anyway, the whole entire game itself is a complete show. As was highlighted on the WizardofOdds page (with pictures of the rules screen) it makes absolutely no difference what the player does in terms of trying to catch and hold a ball. The process is not based on skill in any way whatsoever and the entire display is just for show. A player might as well just play a game in which they bet $5-$100 and the screen just says if they won or lost, because it’s the same thing.
In fairness to the designers, it’s made pretty clear on the rules screen how the game actually works and the fact that a player’s actions do not influence the outcome whatsoever. However, the clear goal of the game is for potential players to see it, think it’s a traditional claw game and think, “Well, I’m pretty good at claw games!” More than that, the game almost always displays a ball being grabbed initially, so for players who do not read the rules screen, the game deliberately gives them the impression that they’re at least getting the claw on the ball every single time—even though it’s essentially an illusion that doesn’t matter at all.
Anyway, it’s becoming increasingly important that players read through the rules screens on every machine in the casinos, because it’s hard to tell what misleading games manufacturers will come up with next.
As a game, 000 Roulette is objectively awful. Compared to the Double-Zero version of the game, it has 150% of the zeroes. Compared to 00 Roulette, (5.26% House Edge on all bets except, “The Basket Bet”) 000 bumps the House Edge up to 7.69%, which is objectively pretty terrible on a game that doesn’t exactly offer jackpot-style payouts.
Of course, it wouldn’t be enough to make this list just to offer a bad game. After all, 000 Roulette arguably allows the casinos to maintain lower table minimums (when they actually are doing that) and the House Edge can be presumed to be better than many (probably most) slot machines and the Big Six wheel. The problem with Triple-Zero Roulette, as you can see on Easy Vegas, is that a few casinos actually once promoted it (or still do) as if the extra green (or symbol) is actually doing players a favor.
This is much different than a Video Poker game increasing the pay on quads, for example, but being a worse returning game overall. If casinos tried to draw players to a new Video Poker game with verbiage such as, “All Four-of-a-Kinds with Increased Payouts,” that could be objectively true, even if it’s a worse game. Anything that would even insinuate that a third zero on a Roulette wheel (or something that is functionally a zero) helps players is blatantly misleading.
Visually Misleading Slots
There are some slots where verbiage on the, ‘Rules,’ screen might or might not add clarity on how the game works, but some slots are visually misleading if people don’t read the rule screen, and even if they do, they might not understand how it works.
88 Fortunes (and others):
The first example that I can think of is a game like 88 Fortunes, which has a visual concept shared by a few other slot machine titles. The way that 88 Fortunes displays is that there is a pot of gold with each Wild symbol appearing on screen sending up some gold that, “Fills,” the pot.
Obviously, what this is intended to convey is that a full pot is good and should be played while an empty pot is bad, right? Unfortunately, as Know Your Slots has written about, that’s objectively untrue.***
***NOTE: I came to this understanding on my own, but since I noticed the article from Know Your Slots before actually writing this one, it seems appropriate to credit them with publishing this first. There may be other things in this list that have been noted by other sites, but if I don’t toss a link in anywhere, it just means that I haven’t seen them published elsewhere.
Anyway, the way that it works is that each symbol represents a chance to go into the game in which players pick drums to attempt to win one of the Progressives. The probability of going to the Progressive game varies depending on the bet amount and, therefore, the probabilities of actually hitting particular progressives also change pursuant to the bet amount.
Which is the second visually misleading factor of this game, though that’s not untypical and will be addressed as a general concept later. In the case of this game, it appears as though each Progressive is represented by three spots that can be selected by the player; when the player matches three, then the progressive is awarded. However, it doesn’t actually matter what the player selects as the Progressive the player will win has already been predetermined; they are not equally likely, even though that’s the visual impression the machine would lend.
Another game with a similar mechanism is Olympus Strikes. The main visual draw to this game is a large image of Zeus presenting a gauntlet with lightning bolt spaces that can either be full or empty.
The misleading aspect of this game is twofold:
The first misleading aspect of this game is that it would be unsurprising for players to get the impression that filling up the gauntlet with lightning bolts will automatically lead to some sort of feature happening, but it does not. The visual representation of no lightning bolts means that the progressive feature was either just hit, or hit somewhat recently, but that’s all that it means. The idea is for players to see the game and perhaps you have a gauntlet with only a few bolts lit up next to a machine that’s only one or two away. Casual players and advantage players alike who don’t think to read the rule screen will think, “Oh, something isn’t far away, so this must be good, right?”
Nope. It’s not.
This game works similarly to 88 Fortunes in that each wild symbol represents a chance to go to the game where players pick symbols and are eventually awarded a prize, but the fullness of the gauntlet makes it no more likely or less likely that a player will unlock the feature on any given spin.
That leads to the second misleading component of this game, which is that a full gauntlet (or one away) would lead the player to believe that hitting any lightning bolt symbol is going to unlock the feature. Once again, it doesn’t.
That’s not to say that these games (and similar) cannot be played at an advantage. If you know the probabilities (perhaps you have access to a PAR sheet) of hitting each individual progressive, and the machines are indeed progressives, then virtually any progressive could be played at an advantage, in theory. Some progressives on certain machines hit frequently enough and don’t represent a high enough percentage of the return of the game to ever be at an advantage, pragmatically speaking, but any progressive theoretically could.
Wheel Spins and Picking Games
There are too many games that would fall into this category to even attempt to list, but any number of games with a, “Pick them,” feature or a, “Wheel Spin,” feature would give the player the appearance that their choices matter, but they don’t.
As we have already discussed, Olympus Strikes, 88 Fortunes and several others, are games in which your prize has already been determined, so what you pick does not matter.
The general rule of thumb for these games is that games that show you what you could have picked, after the game is finished, what you picked actually mattered. Games that do not show you what you could have picked mean that it didn’t matter anyway. Of course, there are some games that even go against this general rule and show you what you supposedly could have picked, despite the fact that your prize had already been determined.
Other types of misleading games are games with Wheel Spins, or similar, features. The visually misleading component of these games is that there will usually be a visual representation of the wheel and a stopper, but based on the size of each of the wedges of the wheel, it may appear that all results are equally likely when they are not. Most of the time, players won’t have to play these games for very long to realize that the actual wheel probabilities differ from what they would visually be led to believe…and typically (if not always)...the Rules screens will clarify this issue. Of course, the visual design is the way it is because slot manufacturers know that most players aren’t going to read the rules screens.
Of course, these types of visual misrepresentations aren’t anything new. Even games as old as Rock Around the Clock have a similar element. With Rock Around the Clock, when the clock reaches midnight, the player will be put into one of two bonus games. The first bonus game is Jukebox Riches (alternatively, Jukebox Jackpot) where the player will be presented with a wheel that fills with colors representing the various Progressive amounts. The player will eventually hit spin and will be paid based on where the spinner lands.
The wedges of the record will correspond to one of three records that the player selects, but none of this matters. While it is true that the player WILL hit one of the Progressives, the one that the player does hit has already been predetermined.
The other bonus game on RAtC is, “Rolling Riches,” where two horizontal rows each containing three symbols will travel around the screen and the spinner will stop on one of them. These symbols consist of various spots that pay different amounts, “Collect,” and also spots that wil;l send the player into the Jukebox Jackpot feature. Once again, this has all been predetermined, but the Rolling Riches feature itself doesn’t give the illusion of choice.
The one area where Rock Around the Clock gets a huge pass from me is the fact that going to any of the bonus games involves the clock hitting midnight. The clock has a single hand with four increments between each set of hours and, of course, there are twelve hours on the clock. Inside of the hand of the clock there are also five what I will call, “Markers.” Every spin fills a marker and, when five markers are filled, the clock progresses to either the next increment between hours or the next hour—no bullshit.
With that, players can determine what the average result of a bonus is, what the average drop on the reels is per spin and can know the absolute MOST that could possibly be bet in order to reach midnight. As players are playing, they will often hear, “Look up,” and the clock lady will move them further along at random.
For my part, I never did an exhaustive analysis of this game, but I liked playing at eight o’ clock or better and anything after nine was an absolute slam dunk. I couldn’t tell you how many plays I’ve taken in my life on RAtC (many hundreds, for sure) and yet I only ever hit the top Progressive once. Either way, it would have been a hugely profitable play for me even if I had never hit the top jackpot.
As with the Progressives on other games, what I am trying to get across is that machines with visual misrepresentations do not automatically mean that there is no advantage component whatsoever. It just means that the visual misrepresentations exist for no reason other than to create the perception of a greater potential advantage (if there is a legitimate advantage component at all) or the illusion that there can ever be an advantage in the first place.
Sometimes, there will be games that don’t have a standard gimmick at all that are made to resemble something that could be played at an advantage. A great example is the game Jackpot Streams, which has also been mentioned on the website Advantage Slots. Once again, this is knowledge that I came into of my own accord, but since I have noticed that this site has also written about it, it seems appropriate to give them a mention.
The way this game works is that the top screen is meant to look like a classic coin-pusher game. You might be familiar with these from arcades, carnivals and sometimes even bars and laundromats. The way that they work, normally, is the closer that things get to the edge, the less money it is perceived to take to push them off. For those of you who have seen the physical games, you’ll mostly have to play quarters and the bottom area is a bed of quarters, but there will usually be a few high-denomination bills folded up in there.
Unfortunately, in the case of Jackpot Streams, you can just call it Piss Streams because this visual representation does NOT matter at all. The idea behind the blatant visual misrepresentation of this game is that players will notice high value symbols near falling, so intuitively, they figure all they have to do is get it to fall and land in one of the chutes that correspond to winning it, right?
The first thing to be noticed, not that it REALLY matters, is that the game can gimmick it so that the symbol falls into a slot where it doesn’t actually award anything. Even then, maybe people think that the symbol just being anywhere near the end must offer some kind of advantage, but it doesn’t.
In reality, when you trigger the feature, the game has already predetermined how much you are going to win, so the visual component will do whatever is necessary to reflect that. This video should give you an idea.
Personally, I think that bear is falling to your left and the bear’s right. It’s partially perched on the coin that goes down the chute, so one would think the coin going out from under it would cause it to fall down and to your left, right? I mean, correct? That’s not what happens, though. The game tells physical principles to go F themselves and sends the bear down the chute that was deliberately selected not to pay anything.
If the game intends for you to win the bear, then it really doesn’t matter where the bear is on the layout. The game will do whatever is necessary to send all other symbols into either bonus (not jackpot) or non-paying spots until such time that the bear makes it to a Jackpot spot.
Maybe these games performed well somewhere, but they certainly weren’t around me for very long. Vultures, such as myself, basically thought the manufacturers were trying to fool us with one…and I’ll admit, it worked on some of us…but I remember even casual players being royally pissed off when I informed them that the display at the top of the screen made no difference whatsoever when it comes to the prizes they would win. Mad enough to boycott Konami games? Certainly not, but many of them definitely stopped playing that one.
…I Really Wouldn’t Care
Personally, I really wouldn’t care about these visual misrepresentations on slot machines if the casinos didn’t already have every conceivable advantage in the world over players on slots.
Honestly, isn’t it already bad enough that slot machines (speaking generally) have the lowest RTP in the casino, by far, and aren’t even required to disclose the RTP’s of the games (most jurisdictions) for players who would at least take the time to comparison shop? While it’s true that some of the state-regulated (and other) online casinos advertise RTP’s for select slot machines (it usually depends on who the manufacturer is), that might even be because it would lead some players to believe the return percentages are the same in land casinos, where they are almost definitely lower.
With that, most players don’t know or care what return percentage they are getting on slot machines, but even that’s not good enough. Some slot manufacturers have decided that an even bigger screwjob is necessary, so let’s create some visual misrepresentations that don’t actually mean anything to compel people to play.
The second problem that I have with it is that there are a great number of variable state machines where visual representations DO matter and that CAN be played at an advantage. The neat thing about these machines is that even some casual players can pick up on it, so if they can figure out that there’s an advantage to be had, even if it’s the only play an individual might know—I say, “Good for them!” If they beat me to the play, then they beat me to the play, so what? I don’t own the machine.
However, I look at these other slot machines as taking advantage of the fact that even some casual players are aware of variable-state machines where the visual representations of certain things DO matter. For the most part, the slot manufacturers aren’t tricking me; I know to check rules screens. The other reason that I don’t usually get tricked is my tendency to observe first, play second. I can just imagine casual players looking at something like Olympus Strikes and thinking, “Oh, one more lightning bolt must be a bonus!”
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a, “I’m a vulture, woe is me!”, diatribe. The casinos can do what they will with me and my hat is off to them if they can pull the wool over my eyes, but I don’t think there’s any reason to use visually misleading graphics on casual players.
It’s a bizarre thing to have happen because you have casino games, such as Blackjack, where the House Edge can be readily determined based on the rules of the table as well as how many decks are used. Video Poker, at least standard line non-feature games, you just look at the paytable and pop it in here. Video Keno games, with only rare exceptions, can be figured out just based on the probabilities of hitting x out of y. Even Video Keno games with unusual Bonus Games and progressives can eventually be figured out, unless a component of the game has nothing to do with the balls that are drawn.
Slots, however, generally cannot without a PAR Sheet. If someone wants to watch several thousand spins and reverse engineer it, they can sometimes get close, but if the game has any sort of feature at all that doesn’t rely on the reels, and you don’t know the different probabilities, forget about it.
With that, casinos have the advantage of often not having to disclose a slot’s RTP, there’s no easy way for players to figure out (assuming it can be done at all) the RTP and now casinos/designers also have determined it’s necessary to blatantly mislead slot players? Ugh.
(Some Online Promotions)
Online casinos have to maintain a sort of balance when it comes to not giving players who know what they are doing too much, but also making sure to give the population-at-large enough of a perception of value to get them to sign up and/or make additional deposits.
Most new player offers at online casinos are pretty good and, if played correctly, can yield an expectation of profit. Obviously, some are better than others. For example, if you can make a $1,000 sports bet and get a $1,000 free bet (even if it only pays to the extent of winnings) if your bet loses, that’s awesome. If you can get a, “Play on Us Risk Free,” for the first 24 hours, that’s also an excellent promotion for obvious reasons and can be played better or worse depending on what your goals are.
Perhaps the most common type of promotion is the, “Deposit Match,” promotion, wherein a player will make a deposit into the casino and then they will receive a bonus of some percentage and must reach certain, “Playthrough,” requirements to be able to cash out.
There are many deposit bonuses out there, such as the 100% match on $250 with 1x playthrough at BetRivers or PlaySugarhouse, that are absolute slam dunks. Just by virtue of not betting aggressively, it would be very difficult to fail to profit. However, there are some deposit match bonuses that, well, aren’t as good.
Some casinos will bury a deposit match bonus in so many Terms & Conditions that it would be virtually impossible not to violate at least one of them. Amongst the MOST ridiculous terms I have seen are terms restricting how much a player can bet, terms that enforce the minimum bet someone can make, terms that say a player can bet more than some multiple of their lowest bet while playing the promotion, terms that say that only one game can be played the entire time (why?) and terms that restrict even certain slot machine games.
Obviously, the slot machine games that are restricted tend to be the highest RTP (Return-to-Player) games, but the restrictions are more geared to the fact that most players taking the Bonus aren’t going to read through the full Terms & Conditions.
Also, which Terms & Conditions? I’ve seen casinos with General Terms & Conditions, a separate page for Bonus Terms and Conditions (not always easy to find) and then sometimes a separate page that lists the Terms and Conditions for a specific bonus, even though the link for that bonus doesn’t always direct you to that specific page. What a mess!
Of course, the easiest way for an online casino to ensure that a player has an expectation of losing is by just having good old fashioned absurdly high playthrough requirements. Basically, what the casino can do is make the playthrough so high that the expectation on the bonus, even if the player plays perfectly, is losing. From what I can tell, the more experienced and reputable casinos will usually set it up such that the expectation is something close to breakeven, but not always.
Even state-regulated online casinos aren’t immune from players being offered bonuses in which the expectation is losing. Once again, most players aren’t going to have the sort of gambling-savvy required to even know that there is a calculation that they have to do, or even if they did, they might not know how to actually do it.
Anyway, the fundamental concept of a promotion is that the casino is adding something that will be of benefit to the player, right? Personally, even if the casino adds, ‘Bonus funds,’ to an account, if the playthrough on the promotion lends itself to a losing expectation, then I don’t see how the player actually benefits. I would think that the player, if they were going to do anything at all, would be better off to play straight up, that way, they could at least cash out anytime they want to.
How hilarious would it be if land casinos worked that way? Could you imagine? You walk into the casino and they say, “Okay, do you have your $400? Good, good, very good, here’s your $100 in free play, don’t forget you have to make a total of $12,500 in bets before you can leave, unless you play Electronic Table Games or Video Poker, in which case you have to make $625,000 in total bets.”
I’m pretty sure that would be a violation of at least three different laws, and certainly of various sections of the gaming code, for a land casino operator.
I guess the simplest way to state my view is that, if a casino is going to call anything online a, “Promotion,” then it should at least have a breakeven expectation.
(Some) Casino Drawings and Promotions
Another example of blatant misrepresentation is that of certain casino drawings that are either outright gaffed, or the full terms are either not made clear (or are unavailable) so that players can actually understand how much equity they may have in a given promotion.
Before I get into this section, I want to make clear that I do NOT think that the majority of casino drawings are gaffed and will not personally be naming any casinos and/or promotions. However, I will say that there are some that I strongly suspect of being rigged in one way or another.
Another disclaimer that I want to make is that I don’t think high-tier players getting more entries to start with, even if it is considerably more, constitutes the drawing being, ‘Rigged.’ I would think of the drawing as rigged if players are led to believe that they (and others) are earning entries by whatever mechanism and nobody is starting with entries or earning additional entries (that others don’t have access to) by virtue of their tier in the casino, UNLESS there is a full list of the promotion rules readily available where any extra entries are spelled out, in which case it’s fine.
This blog speaks of one example of a gentleman who suspected rigged drawings wherein it was later confirmed to his satisfaction. Quoting from the blog, in part:
Out of the tens of thousands of eligible winners with their names entered in the drawing, many undoubtedly who were not present inside the casino last night, how’s it possible that nine of the winners were present? Wouldn’t at least a few be from out of town? Wouldn’t a few be busy with other activities just two days before Christmas? Wouldn’t some have forgotten about the drawing? Wouldn’t a few have trouble finding the stage within the narrow two-minute allotment of time? How incredible is it that nine winners just so happened to be right there on the spot?
But there was something else that smelled fishy. What was even odder was that none of the winners showed much of a reaction. Usually, when people win something they get excited. They scream. They jump up and down. They yell. There was no reaction by any of the nine winners. This seemed beyond normal expectation for what would happen if you randomly plucked nine people out of a casino crowd and told them they were guaranteed to win hundreds of dollars in prize money, and perhaps even $10,000. All the winners appeared to be upscale people, and by that, I mean wealthy locals who had lots of money with which to gamble. They looked like VIPs. It was as though they knew in advance.
Again, I have no direct knowledge of the promotion to which this gentleman is referring, but I can say that I have seen similar instances myself. Basically, people who end up winning the promotion all congregate around a promotions stage rather than waiting for their names to be called, and then, not acting in the least bit surprised when they do win.
I’ve even received private correspondence from people who wondered what they should do about promotions in which the entries were clearly stacked in favor of high-level players, but the promotion rules were either not available or did not disclose that. After first reminding said people that I’m not an attorney of any kind, I said that they could complain to gaming for all the good it won’t do, but are probably wasting their time pursuing it.
Once again, if there’s something in the rules that speak to the effect of, “Players of X tier start with an automatic 10,000 entries,” then I don’t see the problem. However, it becomes misleading when players are given the impression that it’s a simple matter of earning entries between x:xx time and y:yy time and that all players are otherwise equal.
The implication in the linked blog is even worse! In addition to the fact that some of these players apparently received bonus entries, they were flatly told that they were going to be amongst the winners! Again, I’ve had people privately verify similar things to me for unrelated promotions in unrelated casinos that will not be named.
For the purposes of this article, I would like to make clear that there is a huge difference between misleading players and outright cheating them. Most of the examples of misleading that I have highlighted are ones in which, by one means or another, casinos or games create a perception of value that simply does not exist whatsoever.
That’s especially true when it comes to the slot machines that I discussed above. For all practical purposes, slot machines essentially CAN’T cheat, because they’re not really required to do anything. I suppose the only example of a slot machine cheating would be if the slot machine had the visual representation of implements of other casinos games (cards, dice, roulette wheel) and those did not conform to their natural probabilities. In the case of Nevada, and probably some other states, gaming regulations would prevent such machines from ever being approved.
Who knows how long that will be the case, as some games are sneaking in, as discussed here with Keno Explosion, in which one mechanism does not correspond to the natural probabilities. As Wizard points out on this page, this lack of correspondence with natural probabilities is actually helpful to the player, in the case of Keno Explosion, but perhaps they are just testing the waters and will eventually release something that doesn’t correspond to the natural probabilities and actually hurts what would otherwise be the apparent RTP.
As you can see in the discussion thread for Keno Explosion, a few posters agree with my perspective that this game is opening the door for such a thing to take place in the future.
Casinos have the only advantage over players they will ever need, at least on the vast majority of games, they have the House Edge working for them. In the long run, absent some sort of major design mistake somehow slipping past the manufacturer and gaming, every slot machine will be profitable if it is played long enough, so the fact that the manufacturers feel the need to add visually misleading components seems to me, at best, totally unnecessary.