Finally a Case Study on Jackpot Slots vs. Regular Slots

There’s a debate in the online casino community which slots payout more. Are regular slots better with their high RTP, or is it better to play jackpot slots and hope for that life changing win?

This case study presents an in-depth comparative analysis between the two slot types. The research was conducted over a six-month period using empirical data collection, participant observation, and statistical analysis to understand the mechanical differences, payout structures, player experiences, and psychological impacts of these two types of slot machines.



  • Sample Size: 200 participants (100 experienced, 100 novice)
  • Demographics: Equal distribution of genders, ages 21-55

Slot Machines Analyzed:

We used SlotsLV for this whole test as they had all the slots we needed to conduct our research. Here are the slots we analyzed:

  • Jackpot Slots: Golden Buffalo, Realm of the Gods, Reels of Fortune
  • Regular Slots: Coins of Ra, Bamboo Rush, Mystic Wilds

Data Collection:

  • Duration: Each participant played for a total of 20 hours over multiple sessions.
  • Environment: Controlled settings in both physical casinos and online platforms.
  • Metrics Collected: Number of spins, bet amounts, win/loss records, win size, RTP, volatility, heart rate, and player feedback.

Statistical Tools Used:

  • Software: SPSS for data analysis, R for statistical modeling
  • Tests: T-tests, ANOVA, Regression Analysis


1. Gameplay Mechanics

Regular Slots:

  • Paylines and RTP: Fixed paylines, RTP ranging from 96% to 98%.
  • Volatility: Low to medium, providing frequent small to moderate wins.

Jackpot Slots:

  • Progressive Mechanism: A portion of each bet contributes to a cumulative jackpot pool.
  • RTP: Lower RTP ranging from 88% to 94% due to jackpot contribution.
  • Volatility: High, with rare but potentially significant wins.

2. Payout Structures

Regular Slots:

  • Consistency: Fixed payouts provide stable returns.
  • Average Return: High RTP ensures steady returns. Example: Starburst's RTP of 96.1% yielded an average return of $961 per $1,000 wagered.

Jackpot Slots:

  • Variability: Large potential payouts, but lower average returns.
  • Jackpot Size: Example: Golden Buffalo’s hot drop jackpot reached $500k during the study period, with an RTP of 88.12%.

3. Volatility and Player Experience

Regular Slots:

  • Experience: Consistent wins contribute to player satisfaction. Low volatility games like Starburst provide regular payouts, making them ideal for budget-conscious players.
  • Psychological Impact: Lower adrenaline levels, higher overall satisfaction due to predictable outcomes.

Jackpot Slots:

  • Experience: High volatility creates excitement but can lead to frustration due to infrequent wins. The potential for a life-changing jackpot adds to the thrill.
  • Psychological Impact: Higher adrenaline and engagement levels, increased stress during long losing streaks but elation when winning large sums.

4. Statistical Analysis

Returns Comparison:

  • Regular Slots: Mean return of $960 per $1,000 wagered.
  • Jackpot Slots: Mean return of $880 per $1,000 wagered, with significant variance due to occasional jackpot wins.

Volatility Analysis:

  • Regular Slots: Low standard deviation in returns, indicating stable performance.
  • Jackpot Slots: High standard deviation, reflecting large fluctuations in returns.

Psychological Measures:

  • Heart Rate: Higher average heart rate in jackpot slot players, indicating greater excitement and stress.
  • Self-Reported Enjoyment: Experienced players reported higher enjoyment with jackpot slots despite the risks, while novice players preferred regular slots for their consistency.


Performance Metrics:

  • Regular Slots: Suitable for players seeking steady, low-risk gameplay. High RTP and low volatility provide predictable returns.
  • Jackpot Slots: Appeal to thrill-seekers and high-risk players. The potential for large payouts offsets the lower RTP and higher volatility.

Player Preferences:

  • Experienced Players: Favor jackpot slots for their potential large rewards and excitement.
  • Novice Players: Prefer regular slots for consistent wins and lower financial risk.

Economic Implications for Casinos:

  • Revenue: Higher profit margins from jackpot slots due to lower RTP and higher player turnover. Regular slots contribute to stable revenue streams due to consistent play.

Psychological Considerations:

  • Engagement: Jackpot slots offer higher engagement levels but may lead to higher stress. Regular slots provide a more relaxed gaming experience.


This case study highlights significant differences between jackpot and regular slots in terms of mechanics, payout structures, and player experiences. Regular slots provide stable, predictable gameplay, making them ideal for conservative players. In contrast, jackpot slots offer the allure of large, albeit infrequent, payouts, appealing to players willing to take higher risks for potentially substantial rewards.

Future Research

Future studies should explore long-term psychological impacts of high-volatility gambling, the influence of slot machine design on player behavior, and the effectiveness of responsible gambling measures. Additionally, a broader demographic analysis could provide deeper insights into player preferences and behaviors across different age groups and cultural backgrounds.

Recommended Resources

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