Slot machines are among the most profitable casino games for players, the house, and – cheaters.
With such large payouts available, it’s no surprise that playing slot machines has always been a cat-and-mouse game between cheaters and the house since their inception.
Every player has heard stories and rumors about manipulating empty slot machines. So, how can you do this while also having fun and earning money? Remember that what may appear to be a dream come true is not always so simple – and may cause additional problems, particularly legal ones.
Let’s look at some of the nefarious tricks employed by slot cheaters over the years. However, we do not recommend trying them yourself!
It’s Possible to Manipulate Slots
Yes, it is possible, and it has occurred numerous times in the past. There aren’t many stories about how successful these attempts at machine fraud were. This is due to the fact that it requires the casino player to have a deep technical understanding, and it is also due to the casino’s desire to avoid creating copycats.
The slot machine was invented in the late nineteenth century, but machine manipulation is only about 50 years old. Initially, they only gave out prizes such as cigarettes, sweets, drink vouchers, or chewing gum, with money not being used until the middle of the twentieth century. This was only possible because the machines were no longer purely mechanical but also electromechanical, making them more reliable and exciting to the player and vulnerable to fraudulent behavior.
Because few people experienced this type of fraud, the issue of security or fraud was still not a major concern for many. But it wasn’t long before someone seriously considered how they’d go about cracking these systems and making some money in the process. It’s a case of simple mechanics and electricity that a resourceful tinkerer can manipulate to their advantage.
The Coin That Was Manipulated
One popular method was manipulating the machine’s registered balance with a coin. This was accomplished by attaching the coin to the end of a long wire and then repeatedly feeding it into the machine, resulting in a positive balance.
They simply play off this positive balance and collect any winnings. They could quickly empty a slot machine of all coins stored within. It worked for a while because the slot machine could not detect the wire, only the structure of the coins, due to the wire being made of nylon.
Another strategy is to manipulate the cash dispenser. The system typically controls this, but if the player has insider knowledge, they can easily carry it out. Magnets have been used to directly influence the delivery mechanism in some cases.
As a result, slot machine manufacturers developed new security measures to detect any type of fraudulent behavior on the coin slot. Slot machines are rarely extorted these days because it requires a great deal of skill and patience to carry it out due to electro-mechanics, which allows for very reliable detection of valid coins.
Furthermore, with the introduction of CCTV, pulling it off has become even more challenging.
Influencing the Game’s Course or Results
It becomes more complicated when attempting to manipulate the game itself as more understanding of how the machine works is required. While many different cash receivers and ejection systems are used in many machines around the world, the actual details about the inner workings of the machines themselves are treated as trade secrets.
They are only accessible to a few people. However, some tech-savvy individuals are constantly attempting to figure out how the system works, making them targets for the authorities.
The first electromechanical games allowed you to stop the reels themselves. This enabled some astute players with a keen eye and quick fingers to beat winning combinations, resulting in consistent profits. Diethard Wendtland, the most famous example, is from Hamburg.
This player enjoyed playing MINT machines to win large sums of money. But this was no con; he simply had a knack for cracking slot machines. In the 1980s, a documentary was made in consultation with “The Monarch.” A filmmaker accompanied him on a tour of Germany and interviewed him. He agreed to film the documentary on the condition that it not be released until the slots in question were no longer available.
As a result, machines were designed so that only one reel could be stopped. Later, it became impossible to manually stop any of the reels. With the reels being stopped and started electronically, a clever player devised a method to trigger the stop using an electromagnetic pulse.
The small arc found in an electric lighter, which was similar to a piezo lighter, was used to accomplish this. It produced the required amperage to generate a magnetic field. The sensitive control of the reels could be altered with this momentum.
With this in mind, machine manufacturers have updated and upgraded their systems to significantly improve their resistance to external influences of all kinds.
Manipulation of Software
Once upon a time, there were no electromechanical game devices, but now there are, and the safeguards in place make it extremely difficult to cheat them. Given this, the only way to be certain of successfully cracking them is to have insider knowledge. On the other hand, a growing trend of software manipulation requires a high level of expertise.
For example, hardware flaws can also appear when standard processing chips, such as those found in everyday electronic devices, are used. The behavior and potential weaknesses are well-known, but they can only be exploited if you understand the structure and operation of the remaining circuits.
A major coup was carried out in this direction when the software was loaded onto several machines in Germany, significantly impacting the distribution of payouts. Of course, it went unnoticed for a while, but it prompted a larger crackdown, which resulted in the arrests of the suspects. The prosecution did not say how this was accomplished, but there are two possibilities.
The first is software that allows you to easily “update” the devices. You would have to obtain this first because it is not freely available. You either have someone working for the software manufacturer, or you have the right to do so as an employee. You must still examine the software to determine how it operates. This is not a difficult task for an expert.
The software must then be modified and prepared for installation on actual devices. The payout method must be programmed into the machines ahead of time. You could simply increase the chances of the machine being empty.
However, because so many other people were playing and winning, this would be easily detected, and the machine would be removed.
Surprisingly, this only works with a specific key combination, which means you can leave the machine unattended while others play the required sequence of keys, then return later to collect your winnings. This is also the best method because activating a key combination would be inconspicuous to the current use of video surveillance.
Another reason is that experienced staff are more likely to notice technical interferences. The disadvantage is that the key combination is easily visible if the video recordings are studied in detail.
Another option would be to exploit any flaws discovered in the electronic printed circuit board, which is made of plastic and used to connect various electronic components.
For example, certain circuits on boards like the one pictured can be short-circuited using specific pins. This would result in a system reboot, necessitating a new software installation via safe mode. This is a backup plan in case the software becomes inaccessible due to various system update errors.
Because such backdoors were previously used as a gateway for serious manipulation (as with the Digital Set-Top Box or Playstation hacks), they are now considered well-guarded company secrets, with such access increasingly backed up by additional encryption.
Taking Advantage of Obvious Flaws
You don’t have to be a computer expert to cash out any unjustified winnings these days. This is because the software in slot machines is becoming more complex, increasing the likelihood of any negative malfunctioning. These pesky bugs are well-known to all PC users and are also beginning to appear on smartphones.
Most minor issues can be resolved by restarting the app or software. Unfortunately, bugs can occur at critical points when the entire system crashes or freezes, and if this error can be selectively reproduced, they offer the possibility of further software manipulation.
In fact, this is how hackers typically find software flaws that allow the insertion and execution of native code.
The bugs can be unseen but cause significant damage. For example, a player recently discovered that when playing Roulette, if they placed a bet and simultaneously pressed Cancel (via touch screen operation), their bets were credited back to them but remained on the table. As a result, the player placed bets with no risk.
However, something like this does not go unnoticed for long and can be a player’s undoing.
The court rarely accepts the excuse that they didn’t realize they’d done anything. The argument that they are not guilty, but the machine does not hold water with amusement arcades or online casinos. This is considered attempted fraud and is strictly prohibited. Immediately notify the casino staff or customer service if you notice anything suspicious.
Players have been duped
However, not all players play to manipulate slot machines and make a quick buck (I strongly advise against this action!) There’s also the scam on the player, which I’m sure has happened numerous times. No, I don’t mean the casino operator, which has regulations in place to prevent them from being able to cheat (you can find out more about the gambling regulations in the UK here).
The scammer, in this case, is the provider of guaranteed winning strategies, many of which are on the Internet. They possess the “Holy Grail” of slot machine deception, because they provide their con games for free, for a small fee, or as part of a profit-sharing scheme. This may appear a noble gesture, but I am confident you will be taken advantage of in “good faith.”
When these sites claim that you will make huge financial gains through their software manipulation practices, they do not scare or even flinch. They claim that such software manipulation is legal because it is not a crime in the country where the casino is located. In many cases, they even quote their (fake) lawyers to validate the practice’s legitimacy.
They show visually appealing videos with casino payout confirmations or showing how to win spin after spin on slot machines. Again, these videos contain no genuine footage and should not be trusted.
Another type of scam involves the provision of so-called bots. These small programs play automatically, exploiting flaws in the casino’s random number generator. I can assure you that these programs do not work and will not increase your chances of winning.
Furthermore, the random number generators (RNG) are constantly monitored by the casinos and regulatory authorities from which the operator obtained its gaming license. These analyses are created regularly (usually monthly) and detail payouts where the fraud would be obvious.