Class 2 Casino

As we said earlier, when you see a slot machine at a Native American casino with a bingo card somewhere on the screen, it means you are looking at a Class 2 machine, not a Class 3 slot machine. Likewise, Class 2 machines have an additional small window that displays the bingo patterns. Class III, the big attention-getter because it’s the biggest revenue-generator, includes everything else—horse racing, lotteries and what are commonly known as casino games, such as banking-card games like baccarat and blackjack, roulette, craps and slot machines. These are generally the most lucrative games for a casino. 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. All you need is a steady internet connection an online casino you trust and you are set. Speaking of casinos, (land-based or online), there are two types of slot machines they feature; Class III and Class II. The two slots machines operate differently. The Class II slot machines are common in slots parlors.

  1. Class 2 Casino
  2. Class 2 Casino Definition

If you’ve ever visited a Native American casino, chances are you’ve seen a Class II slot machine. They’re the games that display a bingo card somewhere on the screen.

So what are Class II slots and how are they different from the slot machines you’d find in Las Vegas?

A Brief History

In 1988 the United States enacted the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), establishing the framework governing Native American gaming laws. The act established 3 classes of gaming:

  • Class I: traditional and social games for minimal prizes
  • Class II: games of chance based off bingo
  • Class III: a catch-all category of games that can’t be considered Class I or II, like slots, roulette, blackjack, etc.

Knowing the hurdles Native American casinos faced to allow Class III slots, gaming companies began developing Class II gaming machines: games that play like regular slots but are technically fancy versions of bingo.

Difference between Class II Games and Regular Slots

Regular (class III) slots use a random number generators (RNG) that generate thousands of random numbers each second. When you hit spin, that RNG locks in the value at that moment. Then the slot assigns reel positions to parts of the random number and evaluates your win (if there is one). We covered this in more detail here.

To be legally considered as such, class II slots have to be based on bingo. This is where class II game developers have been creative, often implementing different approaches. On some, like WMS and Multimedia Games, your machine’s “bingo card” remains constant and the drawn numbers change each time. On others (like VGT), you stay in the same game while your card randomly changes each spin.

What is a class 2 casino

The implementation doesn’t especially matter. What matters is that the game has the necessary elements required to be bingo: more than 1 player (class II slots must be networked together) and a set of numbers drawn that must match a pattern to result in a win that ends the game (a game-ending pattern).

The fact is Class II slots still rely on RNG to generate the cards and drawn numbers. It doesn’t matter if the RNG is creating simulated bingo cards/numbers on a class II game or virtual reel positions on a class III slot – the results are still random. Payouts are determined on regular slots by adjusting the reels and likelihood of landing on any position. Payouts on class II slots are defined by specifying the bingo patterns that must be matched and within what number of numbers drawn.

Why NA Casinos Prefer Class II

Class 2 Casino

While many modern NA casinos have a mix of class II and III games, the numbers almost always skew heavily towards class II games. Why?

For one, the IGRA granted tribes the power to self-regulate Class II gaming, whereas tribes have to enter state compacts to offer class III games.

But the big reason NA casinos prefer class II games is that tribes don’t owe taxes on class II revenue like they do on class III games.

Licensed slots and most of the fancy new, popular games aren’t available in class II form, so NA casinos keep a mix. However, slot manufacturers are taking an increased interest in offering Class II games. Aristocrat bought Oklahoma-based bingo game developer VGT and used their technology to start offering some Aristocrat favorites in Class II form.

The Bottom Line on Class II Games

Class 2 Casino Definition

Modern class II games can look, act, sound, and feel like typical class III, Vegas-style slots.

Class II games are sometimes criticized for their mysterious nature, leading some to believe they can be rigged. They’re networked together as a central server determines the wins.

Class III slots go through rigorous third-party and government testing to ensure their randomness and resistance to rigging. Class II slots go through some of the same tests, but the self-regulating nature and lack of transparency of NA casinos have historically raised questions about their fairness.

Though their back-end operates different, both class II and class III games still ultimately rely on RNG. Casinos don’t need to rig the machines because the games’ math is already in their favor. That’s not to say their games’ programmed payout percentage is going to be to your liking, but the notion of some casino worker selectively deciding who’s going to win and lose on class II games is just a myth that doesn’t make sense.

Your Take

Do you love or hate class II slots? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below!