The VLT – It May Look Like a Slot, But It’s Not

So what’s the difference between a traditional class III slot machine, video poker machine and a class II Video Lottery Terminal? Read on:

Traditional Class III Slot Machines

All outcomes on these gambling games are controlled by a small computer chip called a random number generator (RNG) inside each machine. This device allows the unit to continuously roam through random number combinations at the rate of thousands per second. These combinations are mapped to a specific outcome. It will not stop to select a display until the spin button is pressed or the handle is pulled. Each spin is independent of the next one. They have no effect on one another.

The RNG is installed at the factory to the payback specifications requested by the casino. A chip in each individual machine allows for jurisdictions to order different payback percentages in the same family of machines. (The payback percentage is the total amount of money returned to players over time.) They usually vary between 85% and 98%. Penny machines usually return the lower % amounts while the dollar and up machines return the highest. Contrary to what most players think, a casino CANNOT alter the payback percentages on a machine. This can only be done by factory personnel.

Class II Video Lottery Terminals

Have you ever thought about scratching off about 600 instant lottery tickets in about an hour? Play a VLT at one of the New York State racetracks and you’ll be doing just that. In contrast to the aforementioned, a VLT plays a virtual lottery game that is linked to a central computer operated by the NYS Lottery in Schenectady, NY. They determine the outcome of each wager using an RNG, but with a pre-determined number of winners. The VLT operators can program the number of payouts in advance. Once you start play, the machine receives a virtual scratch off ticket.When the video reels stop spinning he results will be consistent with whatever is on the ticket. The payback percentages are controlled by the scratch off games. In NY the law requires a minimum 92% return.

Other VLT games that operate in Native American jurisdictions are virtual bingo games that are linked together, forcing players to compete against each other for the prize payout(s).

Video Poker VLT’s

There’s a big difference between the class III and class II games when it comes to video poker. A traditional class III machine deals 5 cards from a virtual 52 card deck. After you discard, your final hand is determined randomly from the remaining 47 cards. Your knowledge and skill are a big factor when trying to win.

In a class II VLT, your final hand will be whatever the virtual scratch off ticket dictates. Even if you make a mistake and discard winning cards, a virtual “genie” will appear on your screen and change your hand to the pre-determined winning result. No skill is needed to win. It’s not a 52 card deck. It’s nothing more than a slot machine.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from playing VLT’s. You can win as well as lose. A 92% payback is a 92% payback. Whatever games you decide to play, you’ll always need a visit from Lady Luck!