Quick Guide To The Evils Of Fruit Machines


In this following pages I am going to explain in my own opinion how slot and fruit machines work. When I say work I mean the fundamental basics of how they make money from you. Like I say this is all in my opinion but having played them for many many years I’m pretty sure i’m not far off the mark.

Payout Percentages

Starting with the most fundamental aspect of slot machines is the payout percentage.

So going back to before the basics, ever wondered about the different categories of fruit machine? You know how you see category B4 written on them in your local working men’s club, or category C is you local Wetherspoons?

Legacy Fruit Machine Category D

If so feel free to have a read of the Explanation of machine categories pdf file. This explains about the categories. The reason I mention this you will see many different fruit machine all with different levels of Jackpot, stakes and more importantly payout percentages.

Ok, so we now know that there are a whole host of different slot machines. Each with their own limits, and as I mentioned all with very different payout percentages. The interesting this is that the document above makes no mention of limiting the payout percentage of the slot at all. So could the owners set it to whatever they liked? Essentially with this the onus is on you before playing check the payout percentage. It will either be displayed on the machine, or on the splash screen as the game loads when playing a video slot.

Generally slot machines in arcades (excl £500 video slots), pubs and clubs will pay between 70 and 80%. £500 Video slots in arcades and book makers can pay well in excess of 90% and casinos can pay even more than this.

So in terms of for every pound I put in which machines are the best to play… judging by the numbers above it will be the casinos, but beware this higher payout usually attracts a higher stake per spin. £5 a spin with a 10K JP is the maximum I have seen that you can spend on a casino slot (Correct March 2017)

What does the Payout % mean?

In my opinion this means for every coin, note or debit card transaction that goes into a slot machine the percentage reduction is applied and the remainder is the amount that then goes on to be paid out.

Putting this into context

In my local Wetherspoons I decide I’m going to do battle with Noel Edmonds on the latest Deal or no Deal slot. Called the “no one cares its just another dull boring flogging of a dead horse” edition. I notice that it pays out at a rate of 80% (Quick note some of these machines pay out at higher percentages on the higher stakes e.g. 25p = 76% 50p = 80% £1 = 82%). Anyway this version is a flat rate of 80%. I’ve decide i’m going to put a £5 note in, I do so and I play the whole fiver without a win. In this instance the pub has just earned £1 (20%) and the machine has added £4 (80%) to its payout pot. That is the absolute basic mwthod by which the slot machine owners make their money.

To and Fro

OK so in the above simplistic example the pub haven’t made that much money from me easy come easy go right. But what if I decided to put more in, what it I had a few wins along the way what would be the implications then?

Be sure and check out the Payout-Percentage-Explanation guide here. This has a couple of examples and looks at a couple of the extremes of what can happen.

To summarise the document every time you take money out of the machine and put it back in again the percentage reduction is applied again.Thus more money is taken out of the overall pot. This is what the owners of the machines want, all they care about are the number of coins that go through that top slot the more of them there are the more profit they make.

Smoke and Mirrors

Definition : Smoke and Mirrors (Credit to urban dictionary)

01: Something/Someone that deceives or distorts the truth.
02: Something/Someone that distorts or blurs facts ,figures, etc., like a magic or conjuring work; artful deception; tricky inventiveness.

That sounds an awful lot like slot to machines to me. So we know the basics are that an amount goes in an amount comes back out the bottom. But if you put £1 in and it paid out 80p every time it would be a bit boring, right?

So smoke and mirrors come in to play. The money is hidden, shuffled around. Made more difficult to get back out again. So Deal or No Deal despite being able to pay a Jackpot still refuses to do so, continually putting 1p in your box. Features and functions on fruit machines are a lot of the time there to distract you from what you are trying to do which is win the Jackpot or even make a profit.

How many times have you had £10 cash, but opted to play Deal or No Deal and ended up with a penny?

Going back to my friends who play slots professionally when they are offered a go on the Deal or No Deal board do they play it? Nope they gamble everything until in black and white they are offered the Jackpot they desire. So this would be getting a “Go All the Way” or hitting Mega Steak Red. The essentially cut through all the BS and hold the game to task that what goes in must come out.

Smoke and mirrors are what make the slots more entertaining but at the same can make them very frustrating.


With regards to slot machines you will hear the term emptier. So I cannot be 100% sure how exactly these work but if you look at the facts nobody has ever made their fortune out of slot machines, and fruit machine manufacturers have not all been going bust. Take Bell Fruit Games for example

“Every day, pub-goers across the country try their luck on fruit machines made by one of Nottingham’s most well-known companies. Operating for more than 53 years in Lenton, Bell-Fruit Games still employs 200 people at its Lenton premises, which make around 9,000 machines every year. So dominant is its position in the industry that you would struggle not to find a Bell-Fruit Games machine at any of the large chain pubs across the UK.”

So they still seem to be making a few quid along the way, to this end I suspect emptiers still operate within the bounds of the payout percentage. What they do is put a cheat or a glitch on the software of the fruit machine that allows people to cut through all the BS (smoke and mirrors). Then just take the machine for everything it has to give. Which is great for them, not to good for anyone else who wishes to play them as they will play rubbish with being empty.

My honest opinion on this is that there are ways for individuals to enhance their profits, but the pub or club don’t care they have still made their money. It does just facilitate a poor playing experience for the people who play the machine next.