Fruit machines or slot machines are gambling mainstays that make up a large portion of most casinos’ income. Players usually pull a lever or press a button (the latter is more common on modern machines) and wait as the electronic images or reels spin around. Once the images stop moving, the result comes out to a win or a loss for the player.

How It Works

Fruit machines are by far the most popular part of casinos, both physical and digital. That’s because they are very simple to use and require no knowledge of rules. Many players aren’t even aware of their chance of winning at each machine they try. Players can play a single machine at a time or multiple machines at once.

They play by inserting a coin or a ticket into the machine. On digital fruit machines, the cost of playing the machine can come directly from the player’s bank account, credit card or site account credits.

Then players either press a button or pull a lever to activate the machine. Once they do, they have to wait while the numbers or images on the machines spin around. Fruit machines usually use easily-identifiable images so that players can easily tell if they have made matches. These could be pictures of fruit, geometric shapes, numbers or even famous people or fictional characters in themed fruit machines.

The goal is always to match up winning combinations. That can mean matching up three or more of the same image or some other pre-set winning match. The machines usually have a printed list of winning conditions on the side or front. Online sites will use an easily accessible list that appears on the screen. This lets players know what constitutes a winning condition. Some machines allow for a win when three different images are the result or anytime a certain image appears in the results. For machines that use fruit images, any result that has a cherry in it is often counted as some sort of win.

Different payouts are usually given for achieving different winning conditions. The rarest winning condition (such as three of a kind) may result in the highest payout. More common conditions, like having specific image show up anywhere in the results, may result in a lesser payout.

The rules vary from casino to casino, and players should make sure they understand what constitutes a winning condition before they play. The more winning conditions that are available, the higher your chances are of winning something.

Payout Chances

The chance that you win something from a fruit machine varies from casino to casino. In some states of the US, there are legal requirements as to what the lowest possible payout percentage can be. These can range anywhere from 70-90%. This means that the machines pay back to players 70-90% of what players put in. The machines are always designed to have an edge for the casino and take in more than they give out. These percentages cannot be guaranteed with certainty, but they have to be statistically sound.

The way a payout percentage is determined is by calculating how many images are displayed by the machine, how many slots the machine has (usually 3-5), and how many win conditions are permitted. So a machine that only displays a few different images likely won’t pay out as often as a machine with many images. But the payout per winning result will likely be higher on the machine with fewer pictures. And both machines can have a net payout that is at the same percentage.

Casinos will, from time to time, increase their machines’ payout percentages. This can drive in more business temporarily, and they still get to make a profit. If you want a chance of winning, this is the best time to play the machines.

In physical casinos, the payout for individual people can differ from in online casinos. In a real world casino, many different people can be playing on the same machine. This changes the odds for each person. The machine still pays out at the same rate, but after one person comes and plays on the machine for a while, the next person is playing off of odds that are affected by those who played before them.

It doesn’t work that way in the online casino. There, each person usually plays on an independent machine. The odds are inherent to them and change only as they play more on the same digital machine.

Because all fruit machines are designed to offer truly random outcomes, it is impossible to say how much someone will win or lose. But if you win in the short run, you can bet you will lose it again in the long run. The machines and the odds are always designed to work in the favour of the casino.