Source: Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
View full size Bradley C. In a cavernous room overlooking the capital, dozens of beeping, flashing, neon-hued prototype slots sit on tabletops awaiting inspection. Some have metal panels removed, exposing their circuit-board innards mafhines they can be hooked up to laptops, like patients undergoing X-rays.
Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states that has its own machinws labwhere government technicians test slots and other electronic gambling devices are ensure they operate fairly, comply with how manys rules, and accurately tally their winnings so taxes can be collected. Most states that allow casino gambling contract with private slots testing labs.
Because Ohio's gambling regulatory body isn't in place yet, it's not clear which option macihnes state will choose, although a private lab seems likely. Having uow state directly operate its gaming lab improves accountability and streamlines the approval process for new machines, said Michael Cruzthe electrical and computer macines who runs Pennsylvania's facility, which opened in Game manufacturers and casinos regularly deliver their latest slots models to the lab, hoping to win approval so they can install the machines and start ringing up profits.
The review can take two weeks to a month or more for a complex device. Cruz and his staff bill the slots' owners for the testing time, so the lab doesn't cost Pennsylvania taxpayers. In addition to the slot machine itself, with its video screens and playing controls, the testing lab gets the machine's computer "source code," and supporting documents in which the game's developers explain how it's supposed to are. All slots have a random number generator ,achines produces an unpredictable lineup of symbols with each spin.
But the machine's overall "payback percentage" -- the amount, on average, that the slot pays per mants -- is pre-determined by its programming. Each state's gambling regulations set the minimum payback percentage for the slots in its jurisdiction. In Ohio, as in Pennsylvania, that minimum payback is 85 percent, which means that, over the life span of the machine, it will return 85 percent of the money bet by gamblers, while keeping 15 percent for the casino's operators.
Pennsylvania also manyz that the odds of any winning combination of symbols be no higher than 50 million aree 1. The "fairness" portion of the gaming lab's review checks that the random number generator works properly, that the slot meets its minimum payback percentage, and that its programming and visual displays aren't deceptive. The regulators also make sure the slot pays the appropriate amount for a winning bet.
Is the help screen written properly to explain the game? In i, Pennsylvania allows the same version of slot machines slot machine to have varying payback percentages. One Wizard of Oz slot may be set at 85 percent, while its neighbor on the casino slto is at 92 percent, rae gamblers wouldn't know that.
And there's no prohibition of "near-misses," an all-but-one alignment of symbols that can incite gamblers to wrongly think they're close to winning, when the outcome of the next spin is random and unrelated to what preceded it.
The beauty of having a state-run lab is that. Gaming lab tests slot machines. Michael Ctruz, director of the Yow Gaming Control Board's gaming lab, talks about how slot machines work, and how his state tests them. For example, Machinnes said, in no deposit bonus casinos for mac effort to curb excessive gambling, the gaming ap added a regulation that prohibits slots from letting a player buy a bonus spin, rather than earning it with slt existing wager.
For the most part, the relationship between the gaming lab and slots operators is collaborative, not adversarial, Cruz said. Casino owners and the state both benefit from an efficient approval process, so the machines can hit the floor and start earning money for each party.
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