Bizarre Slot Machine Malfunctions
By Alex J. Coyne © 2017 Great Bridge Links
Nobody would have believed during the dawn of the 21st Century that the machines would rise, and that the machines would, on occasion, turn out to be wrong. While the majority of slot machines are reliable and checked regularly, some disastrous slot machine slip-ups have still happened. Here are some of the notable ones…
Ways to rig slot machines have been around, well, almost as long as slot machines themselves. Of course, so have anti-tampering mechanisms.
The July 1984 issue of PC Mag notes that Bally Systems, a casino management company, started making use of IBM computer systems to monitor everything that happened on the slot machine system – including pay-outs, plays and attempts to mess around with it. (The same article mentions that old-timey ‘one-armed bandit’ machines were more prone to malfunction.)
Thanks to Google Patents you can also check out a patent called “Anti-cheating device for a gaming machine” (filed October 2001), apparently to prevent the “insertion of cheating devices through the coin slot”.
And, it turns out that it’s not just patrons who try getting around the machines: In 2017, Crown Resorts in Australia was accused of tampering with their own machines and allowing violence on their property – though they quickly denied the allegations.
Katrina Bookman’s Leprechaun Jackpot
In one of the most infamous slot machine malfunctions, Katrina Bookman sat down at a Sphinx slots-machine in Queens, New York at Resorts World Casino in 2016; there, she couldn’t believe her luck when the slot machine claimed a jackpot payout of 542, 9 million – damn!
Unfortunately, when Katrina tried to claim her jackpot, she was told by the casino that it was a slot machine malfunction – but she could have a complimentary steak dinner, instead. Needless to say, she sued.
In 2016, visitors to the slot machine floor at MotorCity Casino in Detroit found themselves unable to release their cash from the inner-workings of wherever it is casino credits go. The casino quickly apologized for the error and blamed it on a problem with their systems. The error was repaired to gamblers who had been waiting for several hours, according to an article for WoodTV.
According to the Seattle Times, in 2005 Oregon Lottery video poker machines were struck by a software error which made the machines cash out winnings to players automatically – yes, that would be a lot like going in to the bank and naming pretty much any amount of money to pull out of the machine no matter your balance…or your cards… The mistake was quickly fixed, though we’re guessing nobody was allowed to keep the money.
You know when friends get together and decide to good-naturedly rob a casino? Nope, we don’t either – unless it has George Clooney in it. When it happens in real-life, you’ve got something a little closer to Dennis Nikrasch, the man known for pulling the largest ever casino theft in the history of Las Vegas.
According to reports, ol’ Dennis managed at least $16, 000, 000 over a period of twenty-two years by rigging slot machines. (Before this, he was a locksmith by trade, which is somehow not too surprising…)
He was first convicted in 1986 for a $10 million yield. Someone again blew the whistle on him in 1998, after which he went to prison until 2004. He passed away in 2010.
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