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So I study gaming. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Back when I worked security in an Atlantic City casino , patrons would often ask me, Which slot machine is the one thats going to hit? My usual response was, If I knew that, I wouldnt be working here anymore, followed by a knowing chuckle. Never failed to get at least a smile in return. Even slots with physical reels use sophisticated software and circuitry. Now that Im the Director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, every now and then someone asks me, Which machine is the one thats going to hit? My usual response is the same, but Im in a better position to explain how slots work, why people play them, and what you should know about them. Slot machines remain the most important money-making part of casinos in the United States. In many states, casinos make between 65 and 80 percent of their gambling income from slots. In Las Vegas, the percentage varies from 88 percent in casinos that cater primarily to locals to 50 percent on the Las Vegas Strip, where high rollers betting tens of thousands a dollar a hand skews the results in favor of table games. Every day, players put millions of dollars into slot machines. Why?

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