Casino slot machines feature varying payout percentages. For the most part, though, they all fall into a certain range regarding return to player (RTP).
Land-based slot machines typically offer between 90% and 95% RTP. Online slots, meanwhile, usually feature between 95% and 97% RTP.
But what about gas station slots? Slot machines in convenience stores are a fairly new concept. Therefore, you may wonder how well they pay.
The following guide discusses the basics of gas station slot machines (a.k.a. skill games). It also covers their RTP in comparison to casino slots.
What’s the Deal With Gas Station Slot Machines?
A gas station slot machine is virtually the same as any slot found in a land-based or online casino. The key difference, though, is that these games often include skill elements.
The skill factor can be as simple as tapping wild symbols to ensure that they apply. It can also be complex, such as a memory game that requires memorizing card values before they’re flipped over and concealed.
Developers who supply gas station slot machines must include these skill elements for legal purposes. After all, states with legal gambling require casinos to obtain licenses. Such licenses allow casinos to legally offer gaming.
Convenient store chains specialize in selling gasoline and snack items. They don’t, however, plan to become full-fledged casinos.
That said, these chains offer slot machines through legal loopholes. By introducing skill into the equation, they can feature slots without being considered full-blown gambling establishments.
Skill Affects Your Winnings to a Degree
Depending upon your skill level, you can win more money with convenience store slots. If you’re really good at a memory game, for example, you’ll enjoy higher RTP than the average player.
Even something as simple as tapping the wild symbols can pay dividends. Provided you’re alert, you’ll always spot the wilds and ensure that they’re activated.
Of course, you can’t expect to win huge profits due to the skill factor alone. Developers still program these games to give the house an advantage.
A slot machine may offer up to 96% RTP. However, the skill might only account for 4-5% of the payback. If you’re really bad at the bonus round, for instance, then you might only be looking at 92% RTP.
What Is the RTP of Gas Station Slots?
If you’ve played slot machines in land-based casinos, then you may realize that they don’t usually supply RTP information. Instead, you merely need to guess on the payout percentages.
Unfortunately, skill games aren’t much different in this regard. You probably won’t find a gas station slot machine’s RTP in the help screen or elsewhere.
Of course, this isn’t always the case. You may be able to find the payout percentage by accessing the help/info screen.
But unlike with real money online slots, this information isn’t always going to be available. If you’re used to playing slots in land-based casinos, though, then this aspect shouldn’t be foreign to you.
Why Don’t Gas Stations List Payout Percentages?
Are the developers trying to hide the payback from you? No. Much like with land-based casinos, these developers can let convenience stores choose from a list of payout percentages.
For example, one slot machine might feature options for 93%, 94%, and 95% RTP. Considering that gas stations select from different options, the developer can’t list a uniform payout percentage.
Given the lack of RTP in most cases, you can only guess on the payout percentages. A good way to make this guess involves looking at how much casino slot machines normally pay.
States with legal casinos set guidelines on the minimum payback. The average state requires casino slots to offer at least 80% RTP.
Of course, gambling establishments have learned over the years that they can keep customers happier with higher payout percentages.
That said, few casinos have any games that offer less than 88% RTP. Most land-based slots feature 90% payback or better.
Should You Fear Skill Games Due to the Lack of Regulation?
As covered above, you can use casino slots for guidelines on how our gas station slot machines pay. But then again, you also can’t guarantee that this is how skill games will be.
After all, convenience stores don’t need to obtain licensing to offer slot machines. They feature skill-based games to exploit legal loopholes.
You can never guarantee if these machines are completely fair. Just like with casino slots, though, slot game developers realize that low RTP doesn’t draw repeat customers.
Therefore, you can likely expect at least 90% RTP with these games. Some skill games probably provide up to 95% payback or better.
Which Pays Better: Casino or Gas Station Slot Machines?
Both casino slot machines and skill games leave mysteries regarding their payout percentages. Land-based slots developers supply games to many casinos or convenience stores.
They allow customers to choose from a range of RTP options. This fact prevents them from offering the same payback across the board.
Again, you simply need to make educated guesses on how much either gas station or casino slots pay. As to which type pays better on average, the answer likely varies.
Some casinos are generous with RTP compared to others. The Palms and Gold Coast, for example, are two of the best Las Vegas casinos when it comes to high-paying slots. Meanwhile, the Bellagio and Venetian have a reputation for offering the worst-paying games.
Convenience stores aren’t as easily defined in terms of skill game payout percentages. But the same general concept applies here.
Certain gas stations will feature better-paying machines than the competition. Of course, you may have difficulties figuring out which ones.
If you frequently play slots, then you might be willing to do some experiments yourself. You may find that certain gas station slot machines pay more consistently than others.
Volatility always makes it difficult to judge slots RTP through experience alone. However, you’ll have more luck in this endeavor by playing a high volume on a few local machines.
Can You Get Slots Comps at Gas Stations?
Comps are one of the best aspects of playing casino slot machines. They include free drinks, meals, spa passes, nightclub passes, hotel stays, and more.
You won’t find such robust VIP programs at convenience stores. The latter almost always offer some type of rewards plan, but they don’t give out traditional comps.
Gas station loyalty programs offer points when you buy fuel, food, candy, drinks, and more. You can then redeem these points for free merchandise.
Whether skill games fall under these programs depends upon the convenience store. I suggest looking for gas stations where your slots play qualifies for rewards. This way, you can earn points that’ll save you money on fuel, food, and other items.
Another Reason to Avoid Gas Station Skill Based Slot Machines
I might be the only gambler that has this problem with playing skill based slots games in casinos, but I doubt it. The thing that bothers me the most about playing slots in gas stations is the machines can be dirty.
Of course, you can’t see germs, but you can see dirt and grime. And this is what I’ve found on many gas station skill based slots games.
If you’re concerned about picking up germs when you’re gambling like I am, you want to be careful about playing in gas stations. Most gas stations don’t do a good job keeping everything clean. Casinos seem to do a better job at keeping their machines clean.
Unfortunately, the RTP on gas station slot machines isn’t usually available on the info screen. That said, it’s hard telling if these games pay well or not.
Skill games likely pay in the same neighborhood as casino slots (90% to 95% RTP). Therefore, they aren’t terrible bets in the overall scheme of gambling.
Given that you can’t find exact payout percentages, though, I suggest not going crazy with these games in the beginning.
You might feel out certain games to ensure that they do indeed deliver wins. If you’re comfortable with one or more gas station slots, you might gradually begin dedicating more play to them.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …