I am curious about other people’s view on max bet settings. I have heard and seen in practice multiple theories on how to determine this setting. Looking outside of specialty areas like High Denom and just at the average floor penny slots how do we break this down. Do we have and/or use mathematical formulas? Do we go off of “it feels right?” How is it best to determine the max bet? Having been in the industry for a while now, I am constantly in the mood to improve my understanding of how most people set their games and why. How can we best serve our gamblers and our casinos?
When I first took over as a major decider for a casino’s game settings I was in a casino with the average max bet for pennies being from $8-$10. The theory before this was that the higher the max bet the more players would play. I.e. if they had the option to play higher amounts they would play higher amounts. The casino to then ensure the highest average bet under this system would go with the highest max they could. This was the first theory I was exposed to, it was a theory that allows for the customer to have a huge amount of options, they could play from $0.40 to $10.00.
But as a gambler, this always felt off to me. I liked to play max bet. Gamblers often feel the drive to hit that max bet option. But when the bar is too high I just personally will not jump that high. I may play a dollar game for $8.00 max, but not usually a penny. If I am playing a 40 line game at $1.20 and winning I would never jump to an $8.00 max bet. I might jump to the next one or two up ($1.60-$2.00) tops. I just felt like that $8.00 was unreachable so why try to reach it. Gambling at other casinos I noticed that when the max bet was $3-$5 I was much more likely to increase my bet to max. Because the max felt attainable, even though it was above my normal bet, I was very likely to eventually reach for it. This made sense to me psychologically.
I really had no scientific data to confirm this and was still new enough in the industry to just chase it rather than experiment. At this stage in my career, I would pick a few banks or a section and test my theory, but with the fire of youth I just jumped on my theory and captured buy in with my passion for the idea. I moved to have all of our machines target their max bet for pennies to around $3.00 (with some $4.00 and $5.00s in there to test them out). The theory was that if the max bet was seemingly out of reach the guests would never attempt to reach the bar. By lowering the bar to still higher than our average bet, but attainable, they might reach for that bar (probably when winning).
Under my leadership, we as an organization made the change and saw a growing increase in our average bet. But the techs and hosts asked about the people who wanted to actually play the $8.00 instead of the being stuck down in the $3.00 range. It would be easier to here say, “Go to the High Denom” area, but that is still a mid-level bet for a High Denom area, and gamblers want to play “their” game, “their” way, where that game is. So about six months after changing our max bets we further modified our system. Every game that was available to be a multi-denom we made a multi-denom with three multi-denom options.
We did this across the board, so most penny games became penny, nickel, and (dime or quarter depending on the game and top award). The higher denoms each got worked out individually per game and theme (which is how we discovered G+ 5 lines are amazing $15.00 max bet dollar games). We really looked at the top award to ensure our maximum non-progressive liability per game was within reason. But the attempt was to offer those higher bets when the player desired them, but the “penny max bet” was still at the $3.00 level. This had an interesting effect, the players who wanted a higher max bet had it through the high denom, but the penny players still perceived their max bet as the $3.00, and would still chase it.
This system of max bet is still used by the casino to this day, though I understand they are debating on changing it up, and have begun making some changes. Changes can be good assuming that the slot analysis works out and the numbers are made. Tell me what is your theory on Max Bet settings?
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