Question Why would a 'random style' slot be compensated?

ChopleyIOM

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Random games are now the default as the 'pub fruit machine' in the UK (and also here on the IOM), generally speaking you're talking about digital cabinets (i.e. screen based), running a load of different games that the player selects from the main menu. RTPs are a bit shit (90-92% usually), but they balance this out with very small top prizes (100x in the UK, 250-500x on the IOM), so you can still get a half decent game out of them.

The vast majority of these games are random, and indeed when you open up the HELP screen, there'll be some text in there that says 'THIS GAME IS RANDOM'.

However, a small number of them are compensated, and have text in the HELP file to communicate this.

What we can't work out, is why?

To be clear, these games operate exactly the same as any random slot, you just put your money in, select your stake, and press START. There is no player choice in terms of old fashioned fruit machine stuff like holds, nudges, hi/lo gambles etc. Unless you went in and checked the help file, you'd have no idea you were even playing a compensated game.

It's not even like the machine needs to protect itself from back-to-back massive wins or suchlike, since they max out at 500x on £1 stake, or 250x on £2 stake, for a top prize of £500. (In the UK it's even smaller, at 100x on £1 stake, but these have compensated machines on the cabinets as well.)

We can't see any reason for this design choice, especially when the vast majority of the games on the very same cabinets are random and say so.

Any idea?

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More like 78-88% depending on stake in uk on £100 jackpots both random and compensated.

It is my opinion that most of the ‘random’ games on said terminals don’t make the RTP they advertise unless you are prepared to smash the gambles.

Most (especially blueprint/bet soft/ G Squared) are utterly appalling on £1 stake.
 
Traditionally pubs preferred compensated, as they are more likely to be in profit each week, whereas a random game can be in negative several weeks running and they preferred the stability that compensated better provided. Basically compensated tend to be a smoother income stream over random.
 
Any sort of game with "community" bonuses also has to be compensated to avoid manipulation, such as playing a second terminal to repeatedly bonus a terminal that's on max stake.
And any stand-alone versions of that sort of game in pubs still have to be compensated because of the wild picks. If you pick wrong and get less than the best prize available the game wouldn't achieve RTP% unless there was some mechanism in there to repay that lost money over time.
 
And any stand-alone versions of that sort of game in pubs still have to be compensated because of the wild picks. If you pick wrong and get less than the best prize available the game wouldn't achieve RTP% unless there was some mechanism in there to repay that lost money over time.
I don't believe that is the case. I've seen videos where the FOBT has mentioned "optimal strategy" (as do many online games) and you'll see statements e.g. RTP 94%, random strategy 70% RTP.

From an operator perspective, you can understand why these games have become more popular in recent years - every mistake is RTP being left on the table for good.
 
I don't believe that is the case. I've seen videos where the FOBT has mentioned "optimal strategy" (as do many online games) and you'll see statements e.g. RTP 94%, random strategy 70% RTP.

From an operator perspective, you can understand why these games have become more popular in recent years - every mistake is RTP being left on the table for good.
You're correct - but I meant if you wanted to state one RTP% on a compensated game ?
 
I will also throw a joker into the mix at this point and mention some Blueprints such as Cat C Wish Upon A Jackpot which states random but has a blatantly compensated pie gamble! ?
 
I'd never heard of "compensated" slots before so I looked it up. I'm pretty sure they don't exist in the U.S. which is where I do slot programming. Here's the
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, but to spare you trying to parse their jargon, here's my take:

(1) Compensated slots get looser or tighter based on previous play, to meet a target RTP.

(2) They're *still* random, in the sense that the stops are chosen randomly.

(3) There are two ways they can get looser and tighter, while staying random:
(a) The payout for a winning combo can go up or down.
(b) The odds of getting a winning combo can get longer or shorter.

As for why they do this, any or all of:

(1) To give operators a more consistent result.
(2) To give players a more consistent result.
(3) According to the UKGC website, pub games can be "too complex" to meet an RTP target without compensating. I don't buy that, but maybe they just worded it poorly. Elsewhere they state that a normal slot could take millions of spins to reach a target RTP while a compensated one could do it in just thousands. If that's what they mean, then I'll buy that.
 
In terms of this conversation, we are likely talking about random with compensated elements.

Regarding AWPs (e.g. older fruit machines found in pubs and arcades) you can basically forget the word random - they are heavily controlled, they are compensated, and they can - to use the technical term - "block like a bastard" (that is, extended periods of play without any wins or any meaningful wins - e.g. a £5 hard limit on a £100 jackpot machine).

Compensated machines only existed in a few jurisdictions - such as the UK and Netherlands - and it's where a lot of the global confusion comes up regarding "winning" at slots or "professional slot players"... because that was actually a thing here in the 80s, 90s and 2000s.
 
And still is even on ‘random’ machines.

Yeah, I found this surprising but there was at one point a couple of lads doing the rounds up our town in the bookies and arcades, directly approaching the staff in some cases, asking if there terminals had "The original version of Reel King"

Never did find out if there was an exploit or anything in it, closest I got was being told (how true this is, I don't know) that the gamble was a true 50/50 so in time I guess you could kind of "force" the £500 top prizes out of it, who knows?
 
Thanks for all the answers folks, it feels like we've got a few explanations and suggestions around it, but for my money not an absolute answer as to why a digital cabinet that's festooned with a load of random games, would have a couple of compensated ones in there.

I totally get that compensated machines are allowed in the UK, and that this is a vestige of the old Amusement With Prizes machine era, as these were complicated games with loads of player choice and features and strategies and suchlike. Where it makes no sense for me, is on a game where all the player has to do, and indeed can do, is press START and see what happens.

The flatter profile that an operator/location might prefer sort of makes sense, but unless these games are balancing themselves out over a really small sample size (1000 spins or something), is it really going to make that much of a difference?

Also, over at Desert Island Fruits one of the members there owns a few of the cabinets that have been found in pubs and arcades in the UK, and he says that from a factory reset, some of the games have a predictable behaviour pattern, even games that are explicitly listed as random. Also that some of them seem to block big wins until they've had a chunk of cash through them.

Also as @Jono777 notes above, there have definitely been..... 'things' on some games in the arcades, that needed to get fixed with program updates, that shouldn't really need to happen on games such as this.
 
Yeah, I found this surprising but there was at one point a couple of lads doing the rounds up our town in the bookies and arcades, directly approaching the staff in some cases, asking if there terminals had "The original version of Reel King"

Never did find out if there was an exploit or anything in it, closest I got was being told (how true this is, I don't know) that the gamble was a true 50/50 so in time I guess you could kind of "force" the £500 top prizes out of it, who knows?

Hills once put reel king on their terminals with all pots at £500. Obv people were running around trying to cycle the pots out knowing it was a jackpot anytime pots were triggered. You could obv get lucky and get some out cheap but they could still take the piss but overall it was a +EV opportunity.

What people didn’t know when they got removed was that it wasn’t because of the above, you could have them out very quickly by being able to play them on max stake but for 25p thanks to a very quick stake switch and start press.

This happened on several other games on hills and betfred terminals. Incredibly one of them even got loaded back on about a year later for a few days. Yes you couldn’t make it up.

The gamble on reel king is a true 50/50 apparently yes. Or at least it use to be.

The original reel king could also be had out by switching the terminal on and off with a combination of buttons pressed if I remember correctly also. This was single play cabinets in the arcades.
 
Thanks for all the answers folks, it feels like we've got a few explanations and suggestions around it, but for my money not an absolute answer as to why a digital cabinet that's festooned with a load of random games, would have a couple of compensated ones in there.

I totally get that compensated machines are allowed in the UK, and that this is a vestige of the old Amusement With Prizes machine era, as these were complicated games with loads of player choice and features and strategies and suchlike. Where it makes no sense for me, is on a game where all the player has to do, and indeed can do, is press START and see what happens.

The flatter profile that an operator/location might prefer sort of makes sense, but unless these games are balancing themselves out over a really small sample size (1000 spins or something), is it really going to make that much of a difference?

Also, over at Desert Island Fruits one of the members there owns a few of the cabinets that have been found in pubs and arcades in the UK, and he says that from a factory reset, some of the games have a predictable behaviour pattern, even games that are explicitly listed as random. Also that some of them seem to block big wins until they've had a chunk of cash through them.

Also as @Jono777 notes above, there have definitely been..... 'things' on some games in the arcades, that needed to get fixed with program updates, that shouldn't really need to happen on games such as this.

Yes for what it’s worth I wouldn’t trust many ‘random’ games on numerous terminals around these days.

Some of the compensated games are actually ok tbf. But I wouldn’t want to be balls deep in them playing them on £1 stake going all out. You’d be in a world of trouble on some of them with no chance of clawing much back.

The ‘random’ games on the reflex cabinets over here in the UK on £100 pots are a disgrace IMO. Just can’t see how they get near RTP. And as for the G Squared stuff?? Absolute robbery. Disgusting.

The later blueprint stuff seems a bit fairer, but the earlier stuff as I said earlier on in the thread was awful and again it’s my opinion that they run way below stated RTP unless you get lucky on pushing the gambles. It’s like they took them from their £500 counter parts, changed the jackpots down to £100 but forgot about the fact they use to be £500 and changed fuck all else!!
 
Yeah, I found this surprising but there was at one point a couple of lads doing the rounds up our town in the bookies and arcades, directly approaching the staff in some cases, asking if there terminals had "The original version of Reel King"

Never did find out if there was an exploit or anything in it, closest I got was being told (how true this is, I don't know) that the gamble was a true 50/50 so in time I guess you could kind of "force" the £500 top prizes out of it, who knows?

Someone posted a really good explanation of how those 50/50 double or nothing gambles work over at Desert Island Fruits. They are (or should be!) genuine 50/50, completely random, and ultimately pay out at 100%. What they also do though, is make the game massively more volatile for the player.

------ COPY AND PASTE FROM DIF ------

If it says it's a random game then the main game (reels and features) will return 86% without the gamble being used. The gamble is random, has a 100% return and won't affect the overall expected RTP of the main game.

What it will do though is widely skew the short-term overall RTP% depending on how it is used - for example if you're going to punt every single win for £100 you'll be adding tremendous amounts of variance to the results, depending on whether the gamble overpays or underpays. On a random gamble like that on £1 stake you can expect to drift as far as +£1000 / -£1000 away from even quite easily. And the main game isn't going to be affected by that; it will keep plodding along at 86% giving you wins and bonus features as normal because it doesn't look at how the gamble is performing. Any extra variance added to a random game by a player using the gamble is only going to be levelled out by the continuing to use the gamble - the main game won't adjust its behaviour.

By using the gamble you are effectively playing two games; a 'front game' at 86% where you get wins to use on the gamble, and the gamble itself, which returns 100% of the money taken into it from that front game, on average. Neither game knows or cares what the other 'game' is doing.

In an abstract way it's a bit like those disgusting roulette games with the pre-gamble spinner at the front, except on Centurion the gamble returns 100% instead of 97.3% for single-zero roulette or whatever.

People who think they have found a strategy on these sorts of games by gambling all of their wins are sadly mistaken; they have simply experienced an extended run of positive variances that has seen them make a profit far exceeding what the main game can return, but which will even itself out in the long run and they'll be left with a loss of 14% of the value of their total plays on the actual slot itself, and a gamble that has retruned them 100% of the money they've bet on it over time.

I'm not criticizing anyone's playing style in this post by the way - a lot of people would rather gamble all out for big wins on these games because it's more exciting than sitting for hours dribbling your money away trying to hit a rare big win on the reels. But people need to be made aware of the extreme volatility you get from playing like that, even on £100 jackpots
?
 
Pretty much, the pre-gambles and pie gambles are among the most regulated parts of the game. Unless it explicitly says in the game rules (e.g. Red Tiger), then they should behave as you see them - true odds at 100% RTP.

Regarding play styles, it can be interesting in terms of raising the overall RTP for some secondary objective (e.g. rake races, bonus wagering) but as mentioned above people mistake variance for strategy far too often.

Additionally, I should clarify that this a) may only apply to the chosen gamble, and b) may only apply to whether it wins or not. There's an alarming trend of providers do shady stuff in this area - e.g. losing gambles look closer than they are (e.g. the server says win or lose, the client can do what it wants with that information), or non-selected gambles win with significantly increased frequency.
 
Also, over at Desert Island Fruits one of the members there owns a few of the cabinets that have been found in pubs and arcades in the UK, and he says that from a factory reset, some of the games have a predictable behaviour pattern, even games that are explicitly listed as random. Also that some of them seem to block big wins until they've had a chunk of cash through them.
A random game producing the same results after RAM reset sounds like it's playing off a fixed RNG seed or something. It doesn't sound like expected behaviour. That sort of thing would be easily picked up in a test-house, but Cat C games are not required to be externally tested; they can be done in-house.
 
Talking of bookies you've just reminded me of that Mega Pots Bar X Gold game

It was a 'random' game but each of the 5 reels had progressive pot values above it, and out of curiousity I pondered 'does that mean Reel 1 has to pay out by £100, Reel 2 by £200, Reel 3 by £300, Reel 4 by £400 and Reel 5 by £500' and it turned out that was exactly how it worked!

I didn't think too much of it at the time (I initially remember playing it in Ladbrokes) until William Hill (and arcades) rolled it out across all their terminals...with random pot values from the install and were bonkers enough to set many of them high enough to almost be ready to pay out straight away (once I loaded it up in an arcade and the Pot 5 was at 479 or something!), you could also sometimes end up building up multiple pots and getting several out as you were building them all up as you played

Of course every man and their dog eventually clocked on and it became a bit of a pointless venture even checking after that (amusingly once you won a pot it reset that reel value to 0.00!) and then of course the game just vanished into oblivion but early on you had every William Hill in the country x 4 terminals at your disposal...and this was when they had fortune spins too which had seperate pot values so essentially 8 chances per shop to find one worth a go!

The base game also didn't play too badly and it loved a £100 coin and even several £500 coins now and again

How was that classed as a 'random' game when the pot values HAD to pay by their limit? (granted they could obviously pay quite early below their limit but I believe there was still a minimum amount it had to build to)

I suppose it was a similar idea to the casino linked progressive pots that MUST be won before $99,999,999 and everyone gets excited because it is currently sat at $99,900,999 but builds up at the dizzying heights of $0.99 a decade
 
It was never in the help file about when the pots had to come out by or when they could come out.

For example it was absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for say pot 5 to come out before £400 so anybody expecting to get a so called random pot awarded while it was sitting on anything between £0-£399.99 had no chance what so ever.

The same breakdown on other pots was also the case.

Of course for those in the know these were great money makers. But the poor fuckers who genuinely believed they had a chance at getting the pots out at any time in reality never had a chance as the programming wouldn’t allow it.

Disgraceful really. Another example of how random really isn’t random unless it is explained clearly.

Hills then had the program changed so they could only come out at £X.90 and £X90 onwards for pots 2,3,4 and 5. Again with no mention of any of this in the help file making them even less random than random.

Filth that goes unnoticed and never punished. Goodness knows what other parameters have been set in thousands of other games that were never made clear in help files.

U expect a random chance on a random game don’t you?? Not in this case and I doubt in many others.
 
Yeah I'm really not a fan of any random games that essentially have scenarios whereby 'Thing X can only happen if condition Y is met'.

Even when the original Immortal Romance was released I raised an eyebrow at the progression track to unlock the different characters, my understanding is that the RTP for each was the same (hence the game only had to declare a single RTP figure), but Amber's bonus round for example was short, volatile and spiky, whereas the third one along, Ripoff Shit Twilight Bloke Vampire Whose Name I've Forgotten, we'll call him Gerald, was quite a flat and more protracted affair.

So in essence whilst you only had Amber unlocked, you were playing a more volatile game than when you had all four characters unlocked and to choose from.

However that pales into comparison to what we have now, games that are pitched as random, and somehow meet the legal definition of it (or at least, the regulatory definition), but in actual fact 'build up' their RTP over time depending on funds invested.

One thing I'll say for Bonanza, (not withstanding the usual claims that it's compensated), is that all spins are entirely equal, you just get a call from the RNG and it can, theoretically, deliver any of the billions of possible results from that single spin.

This was always a problem with compensated games which were inherently designed to 'store value' and were vulnerable to all sorts of fuckery, or even simple malfunctions like the battery backed RAM failing (or unscrupulous operators deliberately resetting it), so to introduce that kind of nonsense into the world of random games gets two thumbs down from me.

For example rechips that could turn compensated AWPs into entirely new games without any requirement to tell the player what had changed (or of course changes in RTP), and whilst I haven't had any first hand experience of what's being discussed above, I have heard about all sorts of nonsense on 'random' games in arcades and bookies that really shouldn't exist.

Regulators asleep at the wheel, going to town on stuff like autoplay and not getting to grips with the fundamentals.
 

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