Introduction to Unique Slots
I explain how the state of Washington’s system of unique Class III slot machines work at tribal casinos and how to win on them.
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Two Classes of Gaming Machines
Each gaming jurisdiction is different. Every U.S. state has a different but similar gaming system because Nevada has taken a leadership role in helping other gaming jurisdictions offer gaming for 80-plus years.
But Washington handled their startup issues on their own.
There are two types of slot machines in the state of Washington, Class II bingo-style competition machines found only at tribal casinos as well as Class III slot machines.
In general, commercial casinos have Class III machines while tribal casinos without a gaming compact like Texas have only Class II machines only while federally recognized tribal casinos with a tribal state compact can have both Class II and Class III machines.
In Washington, their tribal casinos have a gaming compact. So, they can have Class II bingo machines as well as Class III slot machines. How many of each does a particular casino have?
That’s a reasonable question without an easy answer. Casinos don’t tell us that online, including any state with tribal casinos with gaming compacts. Some have all Class II, others have all Class III, and yet others have some amount of both. To find out in a Washington casino, we must walk the gaming floor and observe.
Two Types of State Lotteries
Washington’s slot machines are video lottery terminal run by a state-run lottery. This general approach isn’t unique, as many other U.S. states have VLT slot machines run by their state lottery.
What makes Washington slots unique is that their Class III slot machines are based on the state’s scratch ticket lottery. Other states with VLT slot machines are based on a draw ticket lottery.
A draw ticket lottery ticket is created at the time of purchase. The player then waits for the drawing where the winning numbers are randomly generated. Sometimes this random number generator is a bunch of numbered balls from which several are randomly chosen.
A scratch lottery ticket is pre-printed. Once the player buys a ticket, they typically take a coin and immediately “scratch off” a removeable surface of the physical ticket to determine if they are a winner. Any randomness is due to which ticket you are given from a pre-made roll from which your ticket was next in the sequence.
Washington’s Tribal Lottery System
In Washington, Class III slot machines are connected to the Tribal Lottery System (TLS), receives an electronic batch of virtual scratch tickets, then proceeds to reveal the pre-made results one by one as a slot machine is being played.
This explanation sounds complicated, but the actual experience of playing is exactly like playing any slot machine. What’s different is how the slot machine works in the background. There is no random number generator. The slot machine results are from a virtual batch of pre-made tickets.
How to win on these unique slots is based on details of how electronic scratch tickets are batch fabricated and their subsequent distribution to slot machines in Washington’s tribal casinos. Let’s start by asking these questions:
- Over how many batches does the 75% minimum theoretical payout requirement apply?
- How many bets make up a batch?
- How many slot machines are included in a single batch?
Answers from Compact Appendix X2
Knowing the answer to the first question would tell us if “winning casinos” exist, if it was a huge number, although not which casinos. Knowing the answer to the last two questions help us win at a Washington casino.
What we know from Appendix X2 of Washington’s tribal-state compacts is there are batches from which are made sub-batches. Section 3.2.1 states that batches have the 75% minimum theoretical payout requirement. Section 3.2.4 states that sub-batches have between 5,000 and 10,000 tickets, except for the last batch which can be less than 5,000 tickets.
We didn’t get direct answers to our questions. But knowing there are batches and sub-batches is helpful. As is knowing that the 75% minimum limit apples to batches only. And knowing sub-batches have 5,000 to 10,000 tickets is very helpful indeed.
With this information, let’s construct a winning strategy for Washington’s unique slots.
Because batches have the 75% limit, rather than sub-batches, this means a sub-batch can have:
- Mostly winning tickets resulting in a greater than 100% payout
- Mostly losing tickets resulting in a less than 75% payout
- Both winning and losing tickets with a 75% or so payout
Conclusion? Play sub-batches with mostly winning tickets. But how?
How to Win on Washington’s Slot Machines
Part of finding winning sub-batches is to know more about their distribution. How many slot machines work from the same sub-batch? We can estimate how many by making reasonable assumptions.
With 5,000 tickets in a sub-batch, and players making one bet every two seconds, that’s almost nearly three hours of constant play. With 10,000 tickets in a sub-batch and similar gameplay, that’s nearly six hours of constant play.
It’s also a reasonable assumption that more than one slot machine works from the same sub-batch, otherwise why bother with the expense of a central server to hold sub-batches?
As an upper limit, let’s consider how many slot machines would be too many to work from the same sub-batch. This reasoning comes down to convenience. Whose? Everyone’s!
If sub-batches are constantly being replaced because of a large network of slot machines, that’s just begging for maintenance trouble. For instance, a network of one-hundred slot machines means switching out a new 5,000-ticket sub-batch every 100 seconds or less than 2 minutes.
Making an educated guess, let’s choose every twenty minutes to switch out a sub-batch. That’s between ten and twenty slot machines in a network when using 5,000 to 10,000 tickets per sub-batch.
Like two chess players getting to the end of their latest game, do you see how this winning strategy plays out?
To win at Washington’s unique slot machines, be the only player on a nearby group of ten or twenty slot machines. You need to only play one of them to collect all winnings in a sub-batch. If you aren’t winning after a little while, move to another group of ten or twenty slot machines and check if its sub-batch is a winner.
Optimizing this Winning Strategy
If someone else is playing “your” group of ten to twenty slot machines, you’ll share any wins. That’s not good if it’s a stranger, but excellent if it’s your spouse.
Otherwise, there are three things you need to figure out for yourself.
- When does your casino have so few people in it that you can be the only player in a section of ten to twenty slot machines?
- How many bets do you make to evaluate if you are on playing through a winning sub-batch?
- When does the slot machine you are playing finish with a sub-batch and start another?
You’ll likely also want to ask yourself if, when you find a winning sub-batch, whether it’s good enough or should you keep searching for an event better sub-batch. And of course, you’ll need to be able to tell the difference between these unique Class III slots and bingo machines.
You now know how to go to a convenient store and win at scratch tickets. Buy up to eight tickets in a row from the same spool of a favorite game.
If you’re working from a winning spool, you’ll end up with better results than one ticket at a time from different games. That’s how scratch ticket players have told me they win.
Summary of Unique Slots
I explain how to win on the state of Washington’s system of unique Class III slot machines work at tribal casinos.
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