Those same manufacturers, though, are fueling another option for players looking for the “loosest” slots, thanks to a resurgence of the traditional high-denomination stepper slot.
Manufacturers such as IGT and Scientific Games are re-releasing many of the most iconic reel-spinners of decades past, with modern hardware and some video-style features like free spins, but with the same low hold percentages as in the past.
Other manufacturers like Aristocrat and Everi, traditionally squarely in the video realm, are moving forward with new game groups consisting of traditional high-denomination stepper games.
“There absolutely is and will continue to be a market for high-denomination, lower-hold games,” Sweet says.
“There is always going to be a segment of the gamer that likes simplicity. So many people speak like the older slot player is dying off rapidly and our industry is facing a major crisis.
They need to remember that from 2012 to 2032 there are 10,000 people per day turning 65 years old.
These new retirees have a long life ahead of them, and I believe spending time in a casino will be one of the ways they enjoy their golden years.”
“This is a segment that has potential and has been somewhat neglected over the years,” adds Paige, “with low denomination being the larger share of the manufacturers’ attention.
Future of “Loose” Some manufacturers have begun to allocate some time and energy to this segment.
They have increased the hit frequency to keep the customer engaged.
They need to make sure the customer knows that this is something new and different.”
“High-limit rooms are still doing very well,” says Frank, “and most of them feature games in the 4 percent to 6 percent range.
Most also have a strong selection of older reel games.
Frank notes that the one sanctuary for smart players looking for high RTP remains video poker.
“Anyone other than a novice can see the hold percentages on every game,” he says.
A 9/6 Jacks or Better pays 99.54 percent, while a 6/5 variation pays 95 percent. That 4 percent variance is huge, and given a choice, every player will select the 9/6 game.
Future of “Loose” “Here’s the rub—even at the extremely tight 6/5 setting, this game is still looser than most reel-spinners or video reels anywhere.
Naturally, most of the big guys tighten, or get rid of, their video poker games. They simply don’t want those ‘advantage’ players in their casino.
I have the opposite view. If you don’t have the loose pokers, you won’t have a certain group of players.
Some say good riddance to that group, but I think they are both loyal, and they are, importantly, opinion leaders.”
As far as running a “loose” slot floor in this day and age—and heralding it from the rooftops—opinions on its viability are mixed.
For Lombardo, who ran his floor at Bally’s at a 94 percent overall RTP, it’s a no-brainer.
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