How Casino Slot Machine Denominations Work for 2024

Lynsey Thompson

Updated by Lynsey Thompson


Michael Graham

Fact Checked by Michael Graham

Content Editor

Last Updated 16th May 2024, 10:13 AM

Let’s be honest, there’s a lot to be confused about in a casino. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed the first time I walked into a Las Vegas casino. The sheer scale, sounds, and number of games left me feeling quite intimidated and I didn’t know where to start.

But that’s just the start of it. There’s also so many questions. Do I need coins or notes? Can I use my card? What bet level can I play at? How do you actually play? What happens if I win? How does waitress service work? 

Once you dive in, most of those questions get answered quite naturally. However, there is one niggling issue that seems to confound gamblers more than any other and that’s denominations. In fact, even experienced players at the best online casinos can get befuddled by it when they gamble in person.

With that in mind, I’ll try to break this down and simplify it below. 

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❓ What does denomination mean?

Denomination is basically the value of one credit in the slot machine. 

It doesn’t refer to the actual bet amount, rather it refers to the base credit of the bet. You then set the bet amount by choosing how many credits you want to play.

In Las Vegas, 1c is the lowest denomination you can set on a slot machine. Most players that I know play denomination levels between 1c and $1, but high rollers can bet up to $25 denomination or higher.

For info, quite a lot of slot machines don’t come with different denomination levels. Some only have the 1c denomination so, if that’s the case, you don’t have to worry about it. 

How does denomination impact your bet level?

While denominations relate to the value of one credit, bet level refers to the amount of credits you want to bet.

Although in Las Vegas you can still find a limited number of penny slots, the majority of video slots on a 1c cent denom have a minimum bet of 0.40 or 0.50 cent.

That basically means you are betting 40 or 50 credits at 1c. It’s simple mathematics.

With higher denominations it is exactly the same mathematics, only multiplied. So, at a 10c denom, if you bet 40 or 50 credits, then your bet level will be $4 or $5. Think of it as 40 or 50 nice shiny dimes.

The table below shows the difference that denomination makes on your bet level when betting 50 credits.



Bet amount 


50 x $0.01

50c bet 


50 x $0.02

$1 bet


50 x $0.05

$2.50 bet


50 x $0.10

$5.00 bet


50 x $1.00

$50 bet


In a nutshell

As far as slot machines are concerned you don't bet money, you bet credits. The demonination tells you what cash value is applied to one credit.

How do I choose the best denomination for me?

For many slot players, denomination is a secondary choice. The main priority is bet level and budget. Most low rollers or newbies will stick with a 1c denomination as its simpler to understand.

More experienced slot players, meanwhile, tend to move between denominations and try out different bet amounts.

The best denomination for you is based entirely on what you’re willing to bet.

Let’s take a look at this in practice with one of Las Vegas’ most popular machines Dragon Link.

Dragon Link offers six different denomination levels – 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, $1 and $2.

If you want to stick with a 1c denomination to make it easier, you can choose to spin at the following bet levels:



Bet amount


50 credits

0.50 cent bet


100 credits

$1 bet


150 credits

$1.50 bet


250 credits

$2.50 bet


500 credits 

$5.00 bet


Alternatively, you may choose to keep your bet level below a set amount, say $2 per spin, and mix up the denominations. In the case of Dragon Link, you could choose from the following bets:



Bet amount


50 credits

50c bet


100 credits

$1 bet


150 credits

$1.50 bet


50 credits

$1.00 bet


100 credits 

$2.00 bet


25 credits

$1.25 bet

This means you can be experimental with the denominations, even when you’re low rolling.

The other factor to consider with denominations is betting lines, as these can change according to your chosen denom.

For example, a $5 bet on Dragon Link at 1c denomination covers 50 pay lines. While a $5 bet on the $1 denomination only has 5 pay lines. Fewer betting lines makes it harder to hit pay line wins, but when they do hit, they pay out much better.

How do denominations affect progressive jackpots?

Progressive jackpots refer to the pots of money that are available to win while playing a slot machine. They usually have a name – Mini, Minor, Major, Grand for example, but this varies depending on the machine.

In some cases, these are fixed amounts, or have upper limits, for example, some machines have a maximum Major progressive of $1000.

Some wider-area linked machines have progressives that just keep growing until they hit. This is often the case when you hear of a big $1Million plus winner in Vegas.

Going back to our previous example of Dragon Link, the denomination you select also applies to the value of the progressives. This can be seen as follows:

  • 1c denomination – $10 Mini, $50 Minor
  • 2c denomination - $20 Mini, $100 Minor
  • 5c denomination - $50 Mini, $500 Minor

This is something to look out for, as there could only be a small difference in your bet level of say $1 or $1.25 bet, but the progressives will be significantly different at various denomination levels. 

How do denominations impact payouts?

Generally speaking, the higher the denomination, the bigger the payout. But of course, this isn’t a guarantee.

I’ve personally had just as big, if not bigger wins, on a 1c denomination as I have on a 10c denomination. So, it can vary hugely. 

However, higher denominations on the whole will usually give bigger value wins, for a number of reasons:

  1. Higher denomination usually means higher bet levels
  2. Wins are usually based on a multiplier of your bet level. Therefore, higher bet levels will naturally lead to higher value wins
  3. Progressives can increase in value with higher denominations
  4. Statistics show that casinos tend to offer a higher payback percentage as you move up in denomination. 

If you are playing a slot machine that has ‘balls’ or symbols with values on them and a ‘Hold and Spin’ feature, then denominations will impact the value.

So, if a ‘100’ value symbol lands, then on a 1c denomination, this will be valued at $1 (one hundred pennies), but on a 5c denom, that ball is valued at $5 (one hundred nickels). 

What happens if I play the incorrect denomination?

Every single slot player I know has accidently hit a high-limit spin due to not paying attention to the denomination. You go to a machine, think you’re making a $1 spin, but it turns out to be $10 and your heart is in your mouth watching the reels turn.

We’ve all done it!

Of course, it makes sense to always check your denomination and bet level before you hit the spin button. But this is gambling and sometimes sense is optional. 

If you do accidentally play a denomination higher than what you intended, there is nothing to do but pray(!) and hope that it pays off. I have been in both situations with this. 

I once accidently played $50 instead of $5 and it lost. That one hurt. But I’ve also accidentally spun a $5 bet instead of 50c and not only did it win but I got a Hold and Spin and hit the Major, Minor and Mini winning over $800 on Queen of Olympus. So, it can happen.

Ultimately though, my go-to when I first sit at a slot machine (now) is to always check the denomination. However tempting the spin button is, it’s not worth the panic!

💰 What denomination gives the best win return?

Well, that is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? 

The chances of hitting a big win are increased with bigger denominations, that’s for sure. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen on the lower denominations, it’s just less frequent.

But the chances of busting out with nothing when you bet higher denominations and bigger bets are also increased.

As a player you have to weigh up the pros and cons of betting at each denomination taking into account your own individual budget.

I’m a real mixed bettor and bet anything from 50c to $50 spins. However, the majority of my bets are between $1 - $5. I enjoy playing around with denominations as, for me, it’s just a little more exciting. 

I play a lot of Link machines which come with Hold and Spin bonus features and, believe me, landing a $500 Minor is a lot more fun than landing a $50 Minor.

The key is bankroll management and experimentation. Once you get more familiar with different denominations you will feel more comfortable mixing it up. Just ensure you keep in mind your overall spend at all times.

The key is budget management and experimentation. Once you get more familiar with different denominations you will feel more comfortable mixing it up. Just ensure you keep in mind your overall spend at all times.

💡 Denomination strategies

Despite there being no magic formula to winning, many slots players develop their own theories. You only have to look at YouTube to see the amount of slot channels who think they’ve found the secret strategy to winning! 

Call me cynical if you like, but I think if you have found a sure-fire way to succeed, you’d keep it hush hush to make the big bucks, not go public with it to risk being found out. But that’s just me.

Nevertheless, trying out denomination strategies can be fun and certainly keeps things interesting. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

Ladder betting

As I mentioned earlier, you can flick between denominations and try out different bets even if you have a tight gambling budget. This strategy involves increasing the bet after every spin as you go (up the ladder!). 

Start off with 1c denomination and place just one spin at every bet level starting from 50c upwards. Then go to 2c, 5c, 10c and do the same, obviously sticking within your budget at all times. The hope is that you might hit lucky on a bigger bet level without having to constantly play at that level.

High then Low

Another strategy using denominations is to start betting at a high denomination and then come down. Some players are convinced that you can ‘trick’ the system by placing a few bets on the $1 or $2 denomination first, before coming back down to 1c or 2c denomination bets. They believe it results in higher multipliers on your wins. 

Split betting 

Although not strictly a denomination strategy, split betting can be done on different denominations. This involves choosing a denomination and then going between two different bet amounts. For example, on a 1c denomination, alternating between 50c bets and $5 bets on each spin. 

Overall, your bet level will average out at $2.75 per spin, but you have the opportunity to hit a bonus on a $5 spin which could prove a lot more fruitful in the end. This type of split betting can be done on every denomination.

💭 Denomination Summary

When it comes to denominations on slot machines, it can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be.

It’s basically a maths sum. Take your basic credit amount (denom), multiply it by how many credits you want to play, and that equals your bet level.

But, in reality, when it involves real money and occasional high stakes, it can be daunting.

My advice is to spend some time getting familiar with it. Choose a slot machine you enjoy, start at the lowest denomination, and try a few bets out. 

Your actual bet amount and overall credit is always displayed so you shouldn’t go too wrong. And if you do place a wayward bet, just immediately correct it on your next spin.

Once you’re more comfortable, you’ll find the level you enjoy playing at and you might even experiment with different strategies.

I have friends who swear by the 5c denom $1.25 bet level and others who love the 10c denom $5 bet. Each declares them as their lucky bet! I wish you the best of luck in finding yours.

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Meet The Author

8 Years
Lynsey Thompson
Lynsey Thompson
Writer Writer

Lynsey is a regular Las Vegas visitor and a keen slots and roulette player. As well as significant experience as a writer in the iGaming and gambling industries as an expert reviewer and journalist, Lynsey is one half of the popular Las Vegas YouTube Channel and Podcast 'Begas Vaby’. When she is not in Las Vegas or wishing she was in Las Vegas, Lynsey can usually be found pursuing her other two main interests of sports and theatre.

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