Paying minutes: promise of easy profit in online slot games is fraud, experts say
Paying minutes: promise of easy profit in online slot games is fraud, experts say
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Popular on social media and WhatsApp, the strategy for online slot games known as paying minutes is a fraud, say experts and representatives of the betting industry itself. According to the promoters of the strategy, paying minutes would be times when games tend to pay more prizes: if the paying minute is 9, the game could pay more at times that end in 9, such as 12:59 pm or 3:19 pm.A common tactic is to claim that there is a bug in the game and that by following a series of actions during these supposed paying minutes, it would be possible to win money.

This doesn't work, says Ana Paula Gatti, director of the Brazilian Association of Bingos, Casinos, and Similar (Abrabincs), who describes the promise as part of a "parallel universe of unfounded secret strategy marketing."

“If the nonexistence of paying minutes is proven and the randomness of the games is certified, we are dealing with influencers who are deceiving their followers to profit from selling false strategies and from commissions on the losses of these bettors, who may be doubly harmed,” she said.

If, by chance, the strategy does work, then the fraud lies within the platform, according to Ana Paula. This is because slot machines are games of chance and, by principle, the results should be generated randomly, without a defined pattern, and the outcomes should be unpredictable – similar to what happens with lotteries.

The numbers that appear on online slot machines are generated through an RNG (Random Number Generator). The images that appear on the slot machine, such as fruits, bells, bags of coins, tigers – hence the popularization of the term "tiger game" – are just visual representations of these numbers.

“There is nothing a customer can do before or during [a round of a slot machine game] that can influence the result,” says Leonardo Benites, director of communications at the National Association of Games and Lotteries (ANJL), which represents online gaming platforms.

Why, then, is the "Paying Minutes" strategy so popular?

According to experts and industry representatives, the promise of "paying minutes" is often and irregularly made by affiliates of betting platforms, who earn commissions based on the volume of bets they can attract to the platform.

This promise is massively promoted on websites. In the last 30 days, for example, the term had more mentions on WhatsApp than Minister Fernando Haddad and a volume similar to Bolsa Família, according to data from Palver, which monitors 70,000 public groups on the messaging app. According to Luis Fakhouri, director of Palver, the fact that "paying minutes" consistently shows up in the number of daily mentions suggests automated sending.

The ANJL says that affiliates caught promoting false strategies for gaining in games should be expelled by the platform and removed from the association. "The problem falls on the operator [betting house], because when the customer discovers that they were actually scammed, the only contact they have is with the operator. And then the operator says, 'Look, we don't know anything about what's happening,'" says Benites, director of communications at the association.

Magnho José, president of the Brazilian Institute of Legal Gaming (IJL), advocates for clearer regulations on online games. "This conduct by influencers will only be resolved with regulation because the platforms will be responsible for what the influencers are suggesting to their followers," he says.

Law from 2023 authorized online slot games

Online slot games were authorized in Brazil by law 14.790/2023, the same law that regulated the operation of bets – as sports betting platforms are called. The law allows this type of random result game to be offered exclusively online – meaning it does not permit the installation of physical machines for this type of game and prohibits the dissemination of "unfounded claims" about the chances of winning.