Now You See It. Now You don’t 2

June 25, 2013

Slot machine maths:

a lose lose date with the Pokies

slot machine reels

According to Tom Vanderbilt in The Guardian ( Slot machines: a lose lose situation, 8 JUN 2013)

Once seen as a harmless diversion, hi-tech slot machines now bring in more money than casinos – and their players become addicted three times faster than other gamblers.

 Here’s how the math works:

slot machine 2

In Australia pokie machines must return between




of money gambled.

But here is the catch. If you start out with $300 that means, surely, you’ll go home with$255 in your pocket less some for the big payouts.


According to ex-gambler Tom Cummings you’ll probably go home with


In his article, Poker machine maths, (ABC, The Drum, 27 MAY 2011) it is not unusual for someone to start with $300 but put $3,000 into the  machine over 4 – 5 hours. 

Here’s the sting. According to the poker machine, $3,000 was gambled, and $300  was kept (by the slot machine). That means that the machine paid out $2,700… which is the 90 per cent return.

That’s one pension cheque gone for the week.

Warren Buffett has called

gambling in general a 

“tax on stupidity”


or a way of fleecing those who don’t do the maths.


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