Between 60% and 70% of Las Vegas revenue is derived from slot machine games. Table games seem to be more profitable on the Strip than Downtown. But some of that probably stems from better table game conditions for the player in Downtown. (Good luck finding a single deck blackjack game on the Strip.)
Casinos love slots. Players do too. Their reasons differ, though.
Players love slot machines because of the chance at a bigger win than they could achieve at a table game. They also enjoy how easy and stress-free these games are. You never need to worry about someone correcting your strategy at a slot machine like you do at a blackjack table.
Casinos, on the other hand, like the math behind the game. The overall average hold percentage for slots games on the Las Vegas Strip is about 8%. Most table games have a house edge of about half that.
On top of that, table games require dealers and additional space. In a business where revenue is measure in dollars won per hour per square foot, this makes a bigger difference than you might imagine.
But you probably didn't need convincing that slot machine games are popular. you just want to know WHICH slot machine games are most popular.
I've listed the most-played 7 games below:
Wheel of Fortune is the most popular game in IGT's stable of games. (And since IGT is the leading manufacturer of these games, that's saying a lot.)
But why is this game so much more popular than other slot machine titles?
IGT didn't know, so they did some research. After surveying hundreds of slots players, they learned the following:
The most overwhelming response from Wheel of Fortune slots players-when asked why they liked this game so much-was the same:
It reminded players of spending time at their grandmother's house watching the show on television.
Multiple versions of Wheel of Fortune slots, with various gameplay details, have been released through the years.
I also read an account once of a player who had won the progressive jackpot-over a million dollars-who was disappointed that she didn't get to spin the wheel on the top of the game.
THAT is brand loyalty.
Of course, the same demographic that watched Wheel of Fortune on television with their grandparents also probably spent hours at the kitchen table playing Monopoly. It shouldn't be a surprise that Monopoly slots are #2 on this list.
Like Wheel of Fortune, the branding for this game carries over to multiple actual gameplay experiences. They all have pictures of the iconic Monopoly man character and use various game pieces as symbols in the game.
Some Monopoly slot machine games are attached to a progressive jackpot, but others are flat top machines.
This game was originally called "Lucky Larry's" Lobstermania. The character of Lucky Larry is still part of the game experience, but the branding experts eventually concluded that just "Lobstermania" was plenty. What hasn't changed is how popular this game continues to be.
This is also the first game on this list that isn't tied to an existing intellectual property. Rather than adapt a TV show, a cartoon, or a movie into a slot machine game, IGT rolled the dice and created a new, unique intellectual property for this game.
I wouldn't be surprised if Lucky Larry and Lobstermania didn't eventually get an actual movie or television show of their own. If I were a casino owner or a slot machine designer with an eye for increasing my potential audience in the future, I'd shop all the major producers in Hollywood.
In fact, this sort of thing goes on all the time. If you've ever been to Dave and Busters or even Chuck E. Cheese, you'll notice that they have games which aren't quite slots which evoke the sounds and sights of slot machines in Vegas (especially Wheel of Fortune). A cynic might think they're trying to raise a generation of slot machine gamblers to insure future profits.
Da Vinci Diamonds slot machines combine two different themes-Leonard da Vinci, the original Renaissance man, and gemstones. Famous personalities are a common theme with gambling machines. Items of treasure, like gemstones and diamonds, are also popular. Combining the two is a no-brainer.
What makes Da Vinci Diamonds so popular is its "Tumbling Reels" feature. Games with this feature have an initial spin and results, just like any other slots game. But once the winnings for that first result play out, all the winning symbols disappear. The symbols tumble down, and new symbols come up, making new winnings results possible. This continues until you get no more wins.
This kind of game can result in huge wins.
Double Diamonds and Triple Diamonds are both games which focus on the ever-popular treasure theme. Considering the lackluster theme-at least when compared to glitzy and complex themes like game shows and legendary personalities-it's amazing how popular these games are.
In fact, both of these games are perennially popular.
This is one of the only games on this list that wasn't designed by IGT. Blazing 7's, (AKA Hot Shots), is a progressive jackpot game designed by Bally. If that name sounds familiar, it's probably because slot machine design is only one thing this company is known for. They also developed pinball machines when those were still popular. And they have a casino in Vegas, Bally's.
The number 7 has always been significant to gamblers and superstitious folk because of its association with good luck. Anything related to luck (like horseshoes or shamrocks) is fair game for a slot machine theme.
Blazing 7's is about as generic a slot machine game as you can imagine, but this hasn't hurt the game's popularity at all.
Invaders from the Planet Moolah, like Lobstermania, is an original intellectual property creation. You'd think, based on the title, that these invaders would be similar to the aliens in Space Invaders.
But they're not.
I laughed, too, when I first made the connection.
Invaders from the Planet Moolah has great sound effects, a clever theme, and good graphics. The payouts and hit frequency seem to be higher than average. This probably adds to the game's popularity.
Of course, what's popular today will be forgotten tomorrow. You don't see many people playing Liberty Bell slots anymore, do you?
But as of today, these titles seem to get more attention than most other slot machine games.
Slot machine titles are now closely tied to other brand names. As various celebrities, TV shows, and movies become popular, new titles will launch. They'll grow popular, too, only to eventually be forgotten again.