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Nevada Gaming Board updated annual slot hold reports | recent data from UNVL

Senior Reporter

While there’s no way to predict a lucky combination on slot machines in casinos, there is a process by which gamblers can determine which operators provide the highest opportunities. Nevada Gaming Control Board released reports this late June displaying slot hold percentages in individual state’s jurisdictions. The new data shows numbers from 2004, all the way up to 2021. The annual slot hold percentages are a useful tool in terms of strategizing and choosing to gamble at a jurisdiction that has the best winning chances. 

Nevada Gaming Board updated annual slot hold reports | recent data from UNVL
Image: pixabay.com

Understanding slot machine payout rates

Winning is never guaranteed when gambling at casinos. Each slot machine has a random number generator chip (RNG) that determines which combinations show up on the reels, and it’s impossible to predict whether the next spin will grant you a jackpot, or swallow your bet money. However, there is a way to figure out which gambling facility offers higher winning chances.

Casino managers decide on the payout percentage prior to purchasing slot machines. When completing the order, manufacturers insert the RNG chips with the requested payout rates. For instance, if the casino operator decides on 97% (return to player percentage), the machine will be automatically programmed to take the total amount returned to players, and divide it by the total amount gambled by players. This means that the machine will pay out $97 for every $100 that goes in.

Slot holds VS. Return to Player Percentages

While it’s easy to find RTP% on online slots, land-based gambling machines don’t explicitly display the winning rates. The quickest way to find out is by looking at reports from gaming jurisdictions. Each state typically provides an annual report that shows hold percentages for individual jurisdictions rather than RTP% of each slot machine in casinos, which can be somewhat confusing at first glance. A slot hold percentage is the remaining amount of money the casino keeps after paying you out.

The easiest way to understand the hold percentage is by subtracting it from 100. For instance, if a slot hold in a jurisdiction is reported to be 8.14%, it means that the average RTP of the casino’s slots in the area is 95.55. That tells players that they should gamble in jurisdictions with the lowest possible hold percentage.  The higher the hold, the fewer winnings gamblers end up with.

Most recent Nevada Gaming Control Board slot hold reports

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) carefully collects data of hold percentages for casinos in the state’s recognized gambling jurisdictions. Nearing the end of July, NGCB shared the annual UNVL report that include slot hold percentages from 2004, all the way up to 2021.

The average numbers of slot hold percentages per jurisdiction throughout the 17 year period are as follows:

  1.   Las Vegas Strip - 7.44%
  2. Laughlin - 7.23%
  3. Downtown Las Vegas - 6.84%
  4. South Shore Lake Tahoe - 6.68%
  5. Statewide - 6.38%
  6. Elko - 5.97%
  7. North Las Vegas - 6.10%
  8. Mesquite - 5.86%
  9. North Shore Lake Tahoe - 5.64%
  10. Boulder Strip - 5.45%
  11. Reno - 5.15%

However, these numbers always change, so basing any decisions on the years-long data collection is useless. The best way to determine which jurisdiction has the lowest slot hold rate is to look at the latest data, which is available on the same UNVL document. The numbers are sorted by year, as well as every month starting from January 2004. Below is the annual 2021 report for 11 jurisdictions, including the average RTP%.

Jurisdiction              Slot Hold          RTP%

Statewide                   6.96%            93.04%

Downtown                 8.12%            91.88%

LV Strip.                      8.14%            91.86%

NLV                             7.22 %           92.78%

Laughlin                     7.95%            92.05%

Boulder                      6.12%            93.88%

Mesquite                    6.47%            93.53%

SSLT                            7.47%            92.53%

Elko                             6.19%            93.81%

Reno                           5.44%            94.56%

NSLT                           5.65%            94.35%

Based on this chart, Reno and NSLT are the best bet in terms of low slot holds and high return to player percentages, while downtown and Las Vegas strip casinos have lesser payouts in the casinos’ slot machines. However, this report information by no means guarantees prizes or jackpots, but rather serves as a way to understand where they are more likely to occur.

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