What’s actually loose when referring to “loosest” slots?

I first saw the term “loosest slots” in a Simpsons episode, and which I thought was a pun of some sort. Since then I’ve seen or heard it numerous times when referring to slot machines that purportedly pay out more than others. So I was curious as to the origin of the use of “loosest”, and can’t quite find it.

Since early slot machines were probably all mechanical, was there a certain part in the machine that, when loose, paid out more coins? Is it a metaphor, such as a person referred to as “loose” who succumbs more willingly to sexual advances? Or is it something else entirely?

You know how someone who doesn’t like to spend money gets called a tightwad?

Think of the opposite.

Slots that payout more are loose; those that don’t payout more (often) are tight.

It it ambiguous or does loose refer to the number of hits or the dollar amounts paid out? You’d need a heckuva lot of $5 payouts to equal just one 4-figure jackpot.

Early slot machines had reels with notches on the back that a pin could drop into to stop. I guess a lightly spring loaded pin would bounce along and drop in if it had the chance. Odds could be changed by having reels with more or less symbols. Owners could even cheat by placing a bar across a slot so that the winning symbol could never hit. So I suppose there could be some actual reference to a looser pin mechanism that dropped down more then it should have. Or it is just an extension of “looser” meaning someone gives out money too easily. As opposed to a tight wad.

In the gaming business, the relevant term is RTP which stands for ‘return to player’, which means the percent of every dollar put in that is returned to the player. Most gaming regulators specify a minimum and maximum RTP allowable in their jurisdiction. When I first worked in the industry I was surprised to learn that this range is typically something like 95% to 99%. Slot machines, video pokers, etc are configurable to play at a wide range of RTPs.

On top of that, casinos are in competition with each other, and one strategy for getting people in the door is setting machines to the highest allowable RTP. This is exactly what, “loosest slots in town,” means legally, and it is a claim that regulators will verify.

Note, Harry Reid Airport (formerly McCarran) isn’t really in competition with anyone. The slots there are the tightest in town. Wait until you get downtown (downtown casinos are usually looser than strip casinos).

Probably a good idea to explain the difference between “downtown” and “the strip,” since the vast majority of the people in the world are going to visit The Strip without ever entering Las Vegas proper.

The loosest pursestrings. Let’s money out the easiest.