Why Are Slot Machines So Expensive?
LCD display, cash-handling device, cabinet, software, and the Intellectual Property of the machine or game. These are just a few of the many parts that compose a slot machine and drive their prices up. They are complex machines that can take a lot of specialized work and a long time to get working properly. Then, the seller needs to put an increased cost on it to make a profit.
It is easy to see why slot machines can cost so much. To give you an idea, the following is how much some of their most expensive parts cost...
Cabinets are the most complex part of the slot machine, containing the power source, lightning, buttons, and a bunch of other parts. They can also include vibrant artwork, that costs extra, to catch players' eyes. Just the cabinet of a slot machine can cost upwards of $2000 to make, while the lower-end cabinets can cost around $500. Cheaper cabinets are generally only offered as bulk deals to casinos, though.
LCD Displays have their cost based on their size and pixel quantity. The bigger it is, and the better its resolution, the more it will cost you. However, that is not the only price differentiator - many touchscreen games will require particular screens. LCD Displays generally cost $200-$300 on average, but certain models and different types of screens can cost many times that.
The game software is a crucial part of the slot machines, and it is a significant portion of what defines how profitable the slot machine will be. As such, it is no wonder that cheaper game software generally starts at $3000, and can have even higher costs.
And you also need to pay anywhere between $100 to $1000 for the embedded gaming board, the piece that installs the software.
Furthermore, you might also need to pay for repairs and troubleshooting of the machine, as well as having to deal with any lost door keys for your machines, both of which can increase the total price of having a slot machine even more.
Add on hundreds of dollars from VGA converters, I/O evaluation boards, and other parts, and you have a price range for modern slot machines that range from $10,000 to $25,000.
Can You Make It Cheaper Somehow?
Yes! There are ways of reducing the hefty up-front cost of slot machines. The first method is to lease slot machines instead of owning them.
Slot-makers might get a percentage cut of the profits from the machine they lease you. For instance, taking a 15% cut of all winnings in their machines. Alternatively, they might just require a fixed price instead, like charging $100 per day on a machine.
One of the big advantages of renting slot machines instead of outright purchasing them is that if the machine becomes obsolete or makes too little money, you can just return it back to the manufacturer, and replace it with a higher-revenue machine. However, if you own a machine, you're stuck with it, unless you can sell it - generally for a much lower price.
Another way to try to soften the blow to your wallet is by making bulk deals with a manufacturer. By buying dozens of slot machines at once, you can get a reduced discount on each individual one. However, no matter which method you choose, slot machines will always require a significant up-front investment.
Buying Collector Slot Machines
If you are not looking to buy a modern slot machine as a business practice or to include in your casino, but as a fan or collector instead, the prices will differ substantially. Public markets such as Amazon and eBay can offer old machines that are either no longer working or have become obsolete in the casino industry.
It is not uncommon for said machines to be bought out of nostalgia, historical preservation, or for personal, casual use. Alternatively, maybe you just think it will be a cool decoration for one of your house's rooms. However, they can be bought with an eye for profit as well - buying now to sell them at a higher price later.
In either case, in most countries you are only legally allowed to have them for personal use. You cannot monetize them in any way. Furthermore, in some cases, like Hawaii and some other US states, even the purchase of these items for personal use is completely off-limits. As such, make sure you are aware of your local laws regarding the purchase of slot machines before parting with your money.
The price of such a slot machine can vary wildly - anywhere from a few dozen dollars, to hundreds or even thousands, and no matter the base price of the slot machine, they will almost always come with a heavy price in shipping, since most machines weigh hundreds of pounds. Of course, you could pick them up by yourself without the need for shipping as well, but not everyone has the means to do so.
What About Online Slot Machines?
Presently, buying online slot machines is not possible. To acquire one, you'd require the right contacts or develop your own system in-house. As a consolation prize, at least you can know that online slot machines tend to have a higher return to players than land-based machines, meaning that they make less revenue for the house. Land-based machines will generally have 88% to 93% RTP, while online machines generally have 95% to 97% RTP. Do keep in mind that both values can vary a lot depending on the particular casino and different slot machines.
There you go, now you know how much a slot machine costs ($10,000 to $25,000), why it is that they cost so much, and alternatives to reduce their up-front costs. Even though slot machines will always require a heavy up-front investment, they can also give big payouts to savvy investors, so don't shy away from getting a few of them for your casino.