UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLASS III AND CLASS II SLOTSIn many of the strategy articles about gaming machines–video poker, video keno, slot machines, etc.–we emphasize the role of the random number generator (RNG) and with good reason. The RNG is the ‘brains‘ of these machines and understanding how it works is essential. It’s essential not only in terms of developing a proper strategy and selecting the right machines but it’s also important to dispel many of the incorrect and potentially costly player myths. Once the player understands that the concept of randomness on these games is legit he no longer holds on to long-running superstitions and conspiracy theories.

There is one major exception to the ‘RNG based‘ gaming machine and that is a Class II slot machine. These machines (which can also include video poker and keno-style games) operate differently from the slot machines that we’ve been discussing. You won’t find many of them online but they’re fairly common in US land-based casinos due to the downright silly gambling laws in some jurisdictions. Throw in the always absurd involvement of the Federal Government and you’ve got the ‘Class‘ system for casino games. For this reason alone, it’s a good idea to understand the definition of and differences between Class III and Class II slot machines.

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We’ll talk about the Class III slot machine first since it’s the easiest to explain. It’s easy because it simply refers to the type of slot machine that we’ve been discussing extensively in the strategy articles on this website. You won’t hear the ‘Class’ system discussed in casinos in Las Vegas since it is derived from and refers to properties and jurisdictions under the auspices of The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. This act establishes three classes of games. Class I gaming is defined as “traditional Indian gaming, which may be part of tribal ceremonies and celebrations” and social gaming for minimal prizes. This class falls under the jurisdiction of individual tribal councils and doesn’t concern us.

We’ll skip Class II for the moment–Class III gaming is anything that doesn’t fall under Class I or Class II. Simply put, Class III is traditional ‘Las Vegas’ or ‘casino-style’ gambling. The table games like roulette, blackjack and craps would all fall under Class III as would the slot machines and video poker games you’d find in any Las Vegas casino. As far as it concerns slot machines, these are the RNG based games that we’ve described in the previous content in this section. While each individual machine is programmed to pay back a certain percentage of what it takes in it is otherwise completely random. You have the possibility of winning a jackpot on any spin of the wheel if the random numbers generated by the machine fall in your favor.



Before we explain Class II slot machines, it’s helpful to understand what the Federal government defines as ‘Class II Gaming‘. According to The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act it is “the game commonly known as bingo (whether or not electronic, computer, or other technological aids are used in connection therewith) and, if played in the same location as the bingo, pull tabs, punch board, tip jars, instant bingo, and other games similar to bingo.” At one point, it was very common for tribes to offer high stakes bingo games in big warehouse like bingo halls. That has become less common as gaming has become more hi-tech and Tribal Gaming operators have sought to capture a more ‘Vegas like‘ vibe in their gaming offerings.

All of that leads us to the Class II Slot Machine. In theory, the fact that the definition “specifically excludes slot machines or electronic facsimiles of any game of chance from the definition of class II games” would seem problematic. There was at one point some contention over this proviso in Florida–the Seminole Hard Rock properties there are one of the industry leaders of ‘Class II Slots‘–but that’s been nearly a decade ago. For now, everyone seems content with the arrangement–presumably since everyone is making money.

In theory, the Class II Slot Machine falls into the part that permits ‘electronic, computer or other technological aids‘ used in conjunction with a bingo game. Class II machines are in many ways indistinguishable from their Class III cousins. In fact, many of the same popular titles you’d see in a Las Vegas casino will be found in a Class III property. The big difference is that the results of each spin are based on electronic bingo games involving multiple machines throughout the casino. You’ll even see a little LED bingo card in the top right-hand corner of the game. These bingo games are conducted in the background while the player experiences a virtually identical slot machine experience that they’d have on a Class III machine. Any relationship to actual bingo is tenuous, though in some jurisdictions the player has to touch the screen to daub the bingo card to collect winnings.

In future articles, we’ll talk about the Class II machines in greater detail and give you some specific strategy tips for this type of game.

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