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Video Lottery Terminals

Video Lottery Terminals, also known as VLTs are a type of gaming machines generally found across the United States. They look and play similar to land-based slot machines but they’re actually quite different as they’re much closely related to games such as bingo, scratchcards and the lottery than slots due to their pre-determined outcomes.

But how do VLTs actually work, and why are they pre-determined? Let’s find out.

What Are VLTs?

Video Lottery Terminals were first introduced in America during the 1990s and soon became popular before popping up at numerous Indian Gaming casinos or racinos, casinos that also feature a horserace track, all over the United States. In fact, the introduction of VLTs made Racinos incredibly popular even though they’re only legal in the states of Delaware, Rhode Island, Louisiana, New York, Ohio and West Virginia.

VLTs are normally found in groups at these sites because players at the machines compete against each other for the prize rather than against the casino or machine owner. Each machine has a pre-determined number of wins and losses and the entire group is programmed to payout at specific times.

They’re very similar to scratchcards and the lottery as many players may not win anything when playing at VLTs. Much like the lottery or scratchcards, the overall winner of a group of VLTs is pre-determined. For example, when a VLT game starts the machine requests a “ticket” from a large pool which determines whether the player is the winner or not.

This pre-determined ticket means it’s impossible to predict whether the player will win or not. However, when the machine selects a pre-determined winning “ticket”, it informs the player in an entertaining way. When the pool of “tickets” are used up, the system creates a new pool.

The Differences Between Slots and VLTs

Video Slot MachineWhile VLTs and slot machines both look and play similar, they’re actually part of two different classes. VLTs have grouped under Class II games and favoured at Native American casinos while slot machines have been classed as Class III games. But what are the classes anyway?

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act divided the different kinds of games into three classes:

Class I: Traditional games played by the Native Americans.
Class II: Games such as bingo, pull-tabs and scratchcards.
Class III: Traditional casino games of chance such as baccarat, slots, poker and more.

As mentioned above, slot machines fall under the Class III category because of their randomly generated and chance-based outcomes. So, while VLTs are programmed to play a certain amount of times before a winner is determined, slot machines are completely based on chance and each player has the same chance to win because they’re determined randomly by an RNG (Random Number Generator).

In addition to this, slot machine players don’t need to announce they’ve won compared to VLTs where players are required to tell other players that they’ve won the game. VLTs also have a lower RTP compared to slot machine games because there are less of them. The higher the RTP the more chance a player has of making a win.

Are VLTs Worth It?

Many people have openly denounced video lottery terminals due to their low RTPs, payouts and their pre-determined nature. In fact, many regular gamblers have urged people to avoid them at all costs due to the low chance of winning and have encouraged players to play regular slot games.

However, VLTs may be the only option for many people who want to gamble in the US as they may live too far from an ordinary casino or cannot participate in online gambling. Meanwhile, some people may enjoy the way the machines are pre-determined and can even make an event out of it with their friends.