Gambling Perception: Lotteries vs Slot Machines

The many differences and similarities between lotteries and slot machines
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Gambling Perception: Lotteries vs Slot Machines
  • Author:
    William Monroe
  • Published:

The perceptions of playing the lottery vs playing a slot machine are numerous, identical, and totally opposite.

Where both offer the chance of winning large prizes, neither does it in the same way. And while results for both are determined randomly, determining your win from the results is done differently.

And when it comes to myths and misconceptions about gambling, there are a multitude more for slot machines than for lotteries.

Number generation

For instance, results for both are determined by Random Number Generation

For slot machines, this means an RNG program generates a series of numbers that have been assigned to various positions on each physical or virtual reel. If that series matches one on the predefined pay table, the corresponding prize is paid.

For lotteries, either the same type of RNG program is used to generate numbers, or balls are used to pull the numbers. Players’ tickets must match a minimum number of pulled numbers to be eligible for a prize.

With slot machines, results for each spin or “play” or “game” are available in about 10 seconds.

For lotteries, results aren’t known until the next draw, which could be a few days to a week away.

Slot players therefore can get more entertainment value per game, however could end up spending much more money.


Lottery winnings can take weeks to months to receive depending on the information provided by the winner. Winners have to be interviewed, tickets have to be checked and validated, and other processes might be involved.

Wins on slots are either paid immediately by coin, token, or ticket, or if a jackpot is won, the machine is investigated to verify the win, which could take a couple of hours.


As for the myths surrounding both types of play, slot machines win easily in the number of false beliefs that exist.

Compare below a sample of two very common lottery myths to many more very common slot machine myths.


  • Always play the same numbers, as eventually you will win. As the numbers for each draw are chosen at random, whether you play the same numbers every time, or different numbers every time, any number can come up. You could win with your numbers on the next draw, or never win in thirty years.
  • The more tickets you buy, the better odds you have. Not really. As the amount of tickets sold fluctuate, and with thousands to millions of tickets available for any one draw, you would need to buy twice as many total tickets for each draw to have an actual chance of increasing your odds.


  • Surveillance cameras are used to determine who the casino wants to win the jackpot and pushes a button for that slot machine. No, surveillance cameras are used to detect cheating and for the safety and security of patrons and employees.
  • Security walks around and looks for who they want to be winners, then reports that in on their radio or by phone and then the player hits the jackpot. If a player hits a jackpot after a security officer passes by, it’s by shear luck as security has nothing to do with slot machine results.
  • Jackpots are set to go off at specific times on specific dates. No can do. Slot results are due to the Random Number Generator and have nothing to do with dates or times.
  • If slot attendant, slot technician, or supervisor goes into your machine to “change paper,” do a “repair” or “sign the book”, then they are going to press a switch or turn a knob to prevent you from hitting the jackpot. However, if they are doing that to a person beside you then they are actually setting up the jackpot to hit for them. This belief is very contradictory. Either way, there are no switches or knobs inside the machine that lets anyone make a machine win or not win. The results are only decided by the RNG on the machines computer motherboard.
  • Jackpots are set up to always go off on end machines, and jackpots are set to never go off on end machines. Contradictory observations by players. Slot machines with higher percentage payouts, meaning more winning combinations are available on the paytable, can be place on the ends or banks or in the middle of the banks. Over a long time, players may notice that these machines may hit more pays overall. But this will be maybe one credit here, five credits there over a year or so.

Therefore, there are many differences and similarities between lotteries and slot machines. Which one you play is personal preference. Just remember to play responsibly.

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