How Are Slot Machines Different To The Lottery?

Published 1 Nov 2018, 9:40 a.m.

Slot machines and video lottery machines are often identical in nature. This „often“ suggest that there are some differences between them. So, how are slot machines different to the lottery? We’ll try to explain. First, let’s review our history about slots and lottery in general.

What Are Slots

Slots were invented back in 1887, and have taken the casino world by storm. Reels are the main unit of slots, holding different symbols that line up into ‘paylines.’ When slots were first invented, reels were actual physical things, while nowadays they are mostly digital representations of old-fashioned reels.

What Is Lottery

Lottery is a type of gambling in which winners are chosen by drawing of lots, from among those who have paid money to participate. In video lottery, all terminals are linked together in a network so that the players really do play against each other.

Differences – Are There Any?

It may look like a regular slot machine and play like one, but a video lottery terminal differs quite a bit in terms of how winners are determined.

VLT gaming machines usually offer games like bingo, pull-tabs, scratch-offs, or lotto rather than slots. This is because there are a pre-determined number of winners, and players are competing with each other for a prize and not against the house. Also, there doesn’t necessarily have to be a winner in each game.

Is Video Lottery Terminal a slot machine or not?

Well, the short answer is that a video lottery terminal determines winners very differently from the way a slot machine does.
The word “lottery” in the description of this type of game is the clearest tip-off to the difference between a normal slot machine game and a video lottery terminal.  In a lottery game there are many players and potentially many winners, but the number of winners is fixed before the game begins.  In a slot machine game there is usually only one player that plays against the casino. Even in a multiplayer progressive slots game each person is playing his or her own game. 

Lottery Or Slot Machines – Which Is The Better Bet?

These are both good games for anybody who likes a pure gamble. But what’s the better bet here?

This is a hard question to answer because there are multiple types of slot machines and lottery tickets that each offer different payback. You also have to consider the rate of play.

With that in mind, keep reading to find out how payback and play rate can determine the best wager.

Slot Machines Payback

Slot machines have random number generators (RNG) that decide when payouts are delivered. An RNG cycles through thousands of number combinations to determine results, ensuring that spins can’t be predicted.

Progressive slot machines are a bit different, in a way that they feature variable payback or return to player (RTP), based on the jackpot’s size.

Online slots payback can range from 94% to 99%, with the average for modern internet slot machines being 96%. Another good thing about online slots payback is that it usually stays the same regardless of whether you’re betting $0.01 per line or $1. In land-based slot machines, on the other hand, you need to bet $1 or more to enjoy higher payback.

Lottery Payouts

A lottery drawing issues tickets to players, with fixed odds of winning each prize. The odds of winning the lottery remain the same no matter how many tickets are sold. However, the number of prizes increase along with the amount of tickets in circulation.

Players can either pick the numbers themselves or have a lottery retailer’s machine select the numbers. The odds don’t change either way, because the results are completely random.

Scratchcards work the same way as lottery drawings, meaning they have the same fixed odds and the prizes are distributed the same way. The only difference is in how these games are played. As the name suggests, you scratch these cards to reveal symbols or numbers, hoping that you match enough symbols/numbers to win a prize.

The Pros of playing Lottery Games

-        You can play several weeks in advance with the same numbers. Some lotteries even let you play continuously by Direct Debit or similar.
-        They are very easy to play and understand - no technology is required, all you need is a pen to mark off your numbers or a click with the mouse.
-        All wins are automatically paid to the winner on production of the winning ticket, just remember not to lose your ticket!
-        Smaller winnings can be collected at lottery outlets, or paid direct into your account.

The Pros of Slot Gaming

-        There is far bigger choice of slot games and they are all accessible and easy to play too.

-        One spin on a slot can cost considerably less than buying a single lottery ticket.

-        Slots can be played 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

-        You can increase or decrease the amount you wager depending on your bankroll.

How Are Slot Machines Different To The Lottery – Conclusion

Slot machines and the lottery overlap in many things, including in terms of their player bases, but there are also gamblers who strictly prefer one game over the other.

Some players like how slot machines provide hours of entertainment and better payback. Of course, many are not against buying a few lottery tickets when the Mega Millions or Powerball reach an enormous amount.

One of the best things about slot machines is that, with the exception of the shared progressive jackpots, players don’t have to announce the prizes they receive to other players, and it doesn’t matter how many other people are playing around you.  In a video lottery terminal game the number of players affects how quickly the pool of pre-programmed “tickets” is used up and how many people are likely to win. On the other hand, in a group of 1,000 slot machines it doesn’t matter how many people are playing and they all have about the same chances of winning no matter how long they play.

In summary, when deciding which game best suits your needs, keep in mind the things you read about payback, play rate, and entertainment value. Feel free to use this to help you next time you’re on the fence about whether to buy more lottery tickets or play slot machines.

Now that you know how are slot machines different to the lottery, you can choose which game is better for you and enjoy playing it!