Slots Cheating

Cheating at the game of slots, over the years, has involved the use of many different devices and methods of tricking the machines into making either a greater payout than was won or a payout that should not have been given at all. The cheating is accomplished by exploiting the machine's mechanical weaknesses. Cheating at slots or manipulating the working mechanisms of slot machines is illegal in most jurisdictions and may entail very steep fines and, possibly, imprisonment.

The first slot machines were simple devices susceptible to being manipulated by a skilled hand. Some of the first inventions put to the task include long metal devices that would cause the payout mechanism to remain stuck open and give a larger payout than was won. Bogus coins used to fool the machine into allowing a spin without having received a token were also used.

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The fake coins, in the early days, needed only be roughly the weight and size of a legitimate coin or token. In some cases, cheaters would affix a string to the bogus coin. They would simply pull their coin back out of the machine once they'd had their spin. Unnoticed, this sort of cheat could go on indefinitely.

Over the years, manufacturers developed ways of protecting against such "fishing" scams by attaching baffles to the machine's change box. Technology also allowed manufactures to equip their machines with devices that are better at detecting fake tokens and coins and, today, slot machines are essentially impervious to these types of cheats.

As technology has advanced, however, so have cheating techniques. One device, invented by a Las Vegas man who became one of the most infamous cheats in the world, was dubbed "The Monkey's Paw". The Monkey's Paw enabled cheats to manipulate the newest technology. The user passed the device up inside the slot machine and manipulated a microprocessor. The machine would be tricked into paying out its jackpot and the cheater, were they skilled enough, could simply move from machine to machine and repeat the process.

Another modern device invented by the same slot cheater made use of a bright light that was employed to confuse the sensors with which slot machines are equipped. The "hopper", which dispenses change from the machine, would be blinded to the fact that it was dispensing the machine's entire jackpot. This method proved very lucrative with the gang of thieves who invented the device. They eventually bilked casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada and several Caribbean islands. On route to the islands, they would often cheat the slot machines on the cruise ships, as well.

Attempting to manipulate a slot machine is serious business. The crime can be prosecuted at the federal level and can result in the cheater being "black booked", a casino term which means that person is forever barred from entering a casino. One of the cheats involved in the creation of the Monkey's Paw now creates security devices for slot machines which he claims can protect against any sort of manipulation.