Cheating at Slots
Slot Machine Cheating Methods
Slot machines make up almost 80% of a casino’s revenue. They are the most popular game in the casino and most players will sit and watch the reels spin for hours in an attempt to win that big jackpot. Loose slots with high payback percentages will give out the most winnings but in the long run, the player will lose more than they win. So it is no wonder that some players are always trying to find new ways of cheating at slots. Back in the day when slot machines were mechanical, players started to explore different methods of cheating at slots. This bad habit has continued as slots have evolved with computer technology. The consequences of trying to cheat at slots are severe. Casinos will blacklist cheaters and they will more than likely be arrested and prosecuted. A cheater can, at the very least, find themselves banned from ever playing in a casino. There are a lot of different methods cheaters will try.
Why It Is Hard To Cheat Modern Slot Machines
There are stories about players who cheat by counting cards or figuring out the odds on a hand of poker. These games have probabilities that can be calculated to give a player an edge. This is not the case with slot machines. Modern slot machines are all computerized. They have a computer chip inside them that controls a random number generator that makes the game operate on pure luck. Every spin of the reels is random. There are no more mechanical gears that an experienced engineer might be able to jury-rig. Also, more machines take slot cards and tickets than coins these days. Back when slot machines were strictly coin-operated, cheaters would try slipping slugs or foreign coins into the slots. Other times they would try to tie a string to the coin and pull it back out after it had been deposited. For the machines that take cash, most only take paper money and their super-sensitive scanners do not accept torn or defaced bills.
Also, since a modern slot machine’s computer is designed to give out random results, the odds of hitting big wins repeatedly on a machine are extremely high. And guess what? Casinos know what those odds are and as soon as a player starts to consistently beat those odds, the casinos get suspicious.
Methods of Slot Machine Cheats
Casinos are littered with surveillance cameras that can keep track of almost the entire gaming floor. Almost. There are always small blind spots and invisible pockets on a casino’s video security and it is these spot that cheaters take advantage of. They are not interested in the loose slots situated in high traffic areas. They want the machines in the corners and out of the way places. After all, the devices used are going to empty the machine of its payload anyway. Also, no matter what method or device a cheater uses, they must constantly move from machine to machine or else they will draw suspicion. Some players who are veterans at cheating at slots will employ lookouts who watch for security. Other veterans will train other cheats and send them in a casino to do the dirty work. This keeps new faces coming in which makes it difficult for casinos to lock onto one person. These lookouts and trainees will get a cut of the profit.
Instead of using devices to scam a slot machine, sometimes the machine can be tampered with before it arrives at the casino. A cheater who might have some inside knowledge can install a glitch into the machine’s computer which can be used to give out huge payouts. It is extremely risky to try because there are fail-safes and tests within the gambling industry to try to prevent such a thing.
A Historical Slot Machine Cheater
There have been many cheaters over the years but perhaps the best known slot cheater was a guy named Tommy Glen Carmichael. Carmichael first started cheating slot machines back in the 1980’s with a device called a “top-bottom joint”. He used it on nickel machines until he got busted. He spent a few years in prison and when he got out, he went right back to scamming machines. His next device was called a slider which was slipped inside the machine through its payout chute. Once inside, the slider tripped a switch and the slot machine dumped its payload into the hopper. By using the slider, Carmichael could pocket about $1,000 an hour. When manufacturers made improvements that countered the slider, he created what was called a light wand. Simple in design, the light wand was shoved inside the machine where a light bulb would shine so brightly that the sensors would be blinded. When they went blind, the machine would again be fooled into emptying its payload. He formed a cheating group with several of his friends and they milked casino all across the country and Europe out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Like all cheaters, Carmichael was eventually caught and sentenced to time served. His name was put on Nevada’s Black Book of banned cheats and criminals and he can no longer set foot in a casino. He later invented an anti-cheating device and patented it to sell to casinos. The Gaming Commission was suspicious of the device because of Carmichael’s history and so far no casino has purchased it. Carmichael currently works on anti-theft devices in his workshop.
Slot Machine Cheaters Don’t Win
None of the people who have tried cheating at slots has gotten away with it for long. Eventually, they are always caught. Cheaters will get away with it for awhile because they usually work in groups and have the support of a partner or a team. But anytime a player wins big, either through cheating or legitimately, the casino is going to take notice. They will remember that player’s face and possibly their name. If the cheater keeps winning, the casino is going to get suspicious very quickly. There are many, many would-be cheaters who end up spending time behind bars because they got caught. It is a lesson for anyone who even entertains the idea of cheating at slots that eventually the ride will be over.
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