Dollar vs. Penny Slots Games

Dollar vs. Penny Slots Games

One of the great things about slots games is that they give everybody a chance to play – regardless of bankroll size. So you’ve only got $20? Well you can still play online slots for just a penny a spin! Those who are a little better-funded can opt for the dollar games or higher, where larger jackpots usually reside.

Seeing as how there are such a wide variety of coin denominations in slots games, some players wonder if they should opt for penny or dollar machines. Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer for this thought because penny and dollar games both have pros and cons. That’s said, let’s take a quick look at the factors you should consider when choosing between the two coin denominations.

Payout Percentage

It’s always important to consider payout percentage when you play online slots. The higher the payout percentage is, the more likely you are to earn profits. Dollar slots are almost always better in this regard because they have payout percentages of 94% - 96% (assuming you bet the $1 max). Penny slots, on the other hand, feature payback worth anywhere between 85% - 93% based on whether the games are in land-based or online casinos. But before you go running to the dollar slots games, make sure to consider the next point too.


Expected Losses


Payout percentages aren’t the only thing a slots player should think about. This is especially true when it comes to expected losses because higher payback doesn’t always constitute the cheaper option. For example, let’s assume that a dollar slots game offers 96% payback and a penny game offers 88% payback. If you made 200 spins on each machine, you’d theoretically lose $8 on the dollar game (1 x 200 spins x 0.04 expected loss) and just $0.24 on the penny game (0.01 x 200 spins x 0.12 expected loss). So those with a small bankroll would obviously be better off wagering a penny when they play online slots.


Jackpot Size


Those looking to hit a big jackpot will definitely appreciate dollar slots because top prizes are pretty large in these games. In fact, some of the bigger progressive dollar games feature jackpots worth $1 million or more! As for penny slots, top prizes usually start at 5,000 “coins” and go up a little higher. Obviously this isn’t as big as some of the larger dollar slots, but there are certainly some nice prizes available nonetheless. 




Everybody likes to get something for free when they play online slots or in land-based casinos. And dollar games are definitely the quickest way to build up comps and loyalty rewards. Because you’re wagering more per spin and thus giving more money to casinos on average, you’ll collect extra benefits. Of course, frequent penny slots players can also pick up some rewards if they make enough bets over time. As for the comps, online casinos give out points which can be exchanged for cash while brick and mortar establishments offer free meals, limo rides and hotel rooms. 


Bankroll Swings


Earlier we established that it’s going to cost more money on average to play dollar slots games. So obviously you’ll need a larger bankroll when wagering a dollar or more per spin. However, you also have to consider that the variance swings will be greater in these games as well. Sure the prizes you win are much larger than with what’s seen in penny slots; but your expected losses per spin are also bigger too. So if you have a $100 bankroll to play penny games with, you’re probably going to want $500 or more for dollar slots just to survive the downswings.

As you can see, there are multiple factors that should be considered when trying to figure out if dollar or penny slots games are right for you. Big jackpot lovers usually gravitate towards dollar coin denomination games while those who are just looking for entertainment will be found on the penny slots.