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Bally’s rolls out double zero Roulette

John Grochowski

John Grochowski

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Updated: July 5, 2012 10:24AM

Not all slot machines are designed for mass appeal. Niche games targeted at a specific audience have their place, too.

In the last several years, one game that has earned its niche is Roulette from Bally. This isn’t one of the big multi-station systems such as Shuffle Master’s Rapid Roulette. It’s a single-player game on a 32-inch vertical screen.

Single-player Roulette has been a single-zero game, but now Bally has come out with a double-zero game. Each number has a 1 in 37 chance of turning up on any given spin on the single-zero version, and it’s 1 in 38 in the double-zero game.

If payoffs were the same in Roulette as table roulette, there would be a house edge of 2.7 percent on the single-zero game, and 5.26 percent on the double-zero version. That’s the same as saying a payback of 97.3 percent with one zero and 94.74 percent with two.

Dollar slots often have paybacks higher than 94.75 percent, and some high-denomination slots even reach or exceed that single-zero 97.3 percent. Bally does offer Roulette for denominations up to $100.

But the game also is offered in denominations as low as a penny, and casinos like their penny games returning in the mid-to-high 80 percents.

Some versions of Roulette return 36-for-1 on a winning single-number bet. On a one-credit bet, the wager is immediately deducted from your credits on the screen. If you win, 36 credits are added onto your credit meter. At a table, we’d say 35-to-1. Your one-credit bet would stay on the table, and if you won, you’d get to keep the bet in addition to 35 credits in winnings. Either way, you have your original credit plus 35 more.

To make Roulette work on a low-denomination slot format, some machines have lower payoffs. A reader who wrote to ask about the effect of using two zeroes on the machines reported seeing a 32-for-1 return on a penny game.

At 32-for-1, the house edge on a single-number bet on a single-zero game is 13.5 percent, for a payback of 86.5 percent. With a double-zero virtual wheel, that house edge rises to 15.8 percent, or a 84.2 percent return. If the return rises to 33-for-1, paybacks go up to 89.2 percent with one zero, or 86.8 percent with two.

Those aren’t the kinds of returns you’ll get at table roulette, but for penny and other low-denomination slots, paybacks are normal.

John Grochowski is a local free-lance writer.

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