How much money slot machine makes?
By: John Grochowski
If you play slots, you have a pretty good idea of what they earn from you in an average day. But you're not the only player at any given machine in one day. There can be dozens.
Where does that leave the casino in terms of earnings per slot? How much do casinos make from an average slot machine in one day?
When players ask that question, they're usually talking about the Las Vegas Strip. That's gaming's glamour spot, and the area with the greatest concentration of slot machines.
Let's look at the July 2017 revenue report from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. We can start on the Strip, then look at some other areas.
Keep in mind that revenue reports in most jurisdictions lump together all electronic games. So totals here will include not only slot machines, but video poker, video keno and video blackjack.
In that month, there were 38,434 slot machines in operation at the Strip's 40 locations. They earned $269,527,000.
If we divide the revenue by the number of machines, that comes to $7,013 per machine for the month. Divide again by 31 for the number of day, and that's $226.
So for July, the average slot on the Strip earned $226 per day.
Figures for the year ending July 31 are similar. With 39,680 machines in operation producing revenues of just over $3 billion -- $3,172,890,000 -- the average machine earned $79,962 for the year and $219 per day.
There's a lot of room for variation among different casinos. Slots at some casinos will earn quite a bit more than that and some will earn less. But we can't put a finger on precise numbers because Nevada's statistical report doesn't break down figures by individual casino.
We can break that down by coin denominations, too. How much did the average penny slot earn per day vs. the average dollar slot?
That's a real video vs. three-reel mechanical slot showdown, since penny slots are almost all on video and dollars are the favorites of three-reel players.
In July 2017, the 13,831 penny slots on the Strip earned $105,408,000. That's $246 per machine per day.
The 2,961 dollar slots earned $24,801,000, or $270 per day. The dollar slots don't draw as much action as penny games, but those who play dollars come well-bankrolled.
What if we get off the Strip and check out downtown Las Vegas? Downtown on and around Fremont Street has long had the reputation of offering some of the best gambling anywhere.
The resorts downtown mostly are older than those on the Strip, and rarely rival the Strip for amenities and spectacle, but those who go for the games love it.
Let's look at the July figures first. There were 9,187 slots in operation at 12 downtown Las Vegas locations. They earned $34,166,000. That comes to $120 per machine per day, showing us the average machine downtown was earning just about 55 percent as much as a machine on the Strip.
We can do that for pennies and dollars, too.
In downtown Las Vegas, 4,529 penny slots earned $17,756,000, or $126 per slot per day, while 741 dollar slots earned $3,400,000 or $148 per day.
We can do this in a couple of other jurisdictions, too, to see how slot performance in different areas compare to Las Vegas.
Let's go to Atlantic City, which has had legal casinos longer than any American jurisdiction other than Nevada.
In August, A.C.'s seven casino had 14,062 slot machines in operation, and produced 166 million in revenue. That's a whopping $380 per day, even more than on the Strip.
Atlantic City's monthly gross revenue reports are broken down by individual casinos. Let's take a look at a couple of the highest earners.
Borgata, long the most successful A.C. casino, led in slot revenue in August with 3,030 games earning $47,962,654. That's $510 per machine per day.
Next in line is the Tropicana with 2,329 slots producing $28,347,361, or $393 per machine per day.
Atlantic City overall doesn't do as well as the Las Vegas Strip, especially in non-gaming revenues from the resorts, has had frequent financial trouble and difficulty in meeting nearby competition, but in the specific area of how much a slot machine makes per day, it more than holds its own.
Let's travel one more time and get a comparison from the Midwestern United States.
In Indiana, where there are 11 casinos, an August revenue report shows $15,053 casinos produced a little over $117 in revenue.
That comes to a little over $250 per machine per day, just a little more than the $219 average on the Las Vegas Strip.
We can check out the biggest, most successful casino in Indiana, too. That's the Horseshoe, a stone's throw from Chicago across the Illinois-Indiana state border.
In August, Horseshoe's 2,450 slots produced $23,648,347. That's $311 per machine per day -- a figure that would put a smile on the face of most Las Vegas operators.
So the grand answer to the question "How much does a slot machine earn per day?" varies per area.
On the Las Vegas Strip, you won't go far wrong if you say about $220 per day. Elsewhere, it varies by local conditions.