CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Related Links
Related News
Recent Articles
Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Changing slot paybacks

8 October 2014

I can tell you without any doubt whatsoever that slot machines, especially at the $100 slot level, are adjusted and changed regularly, which is all legal and ethical.

Google "can split machines be altered by chip" and you will see evidence in bold print regarding public knowledge of this fact. They are on computer chips and temporally with gaming commission authorization.

They cannot mess with the aggregate on the machines but they can adjust temporary based on the weekend.

I followed your suggestion and Googled "can split machine be altered by chip.

The first page of results were:

  • A Wikipedia article about (wood) chip formation
  • A Wikipedia article about PROMs
  • An article from The Daily Mail Online about how hackers can steal your details from chip and PIN machines
  • A PDF from Longwood University about drilling machines
  • An article from American Machinist
  • An article about how owners of early 2011 MacBook Pros reported sporadic GPU failures
  • A PDF about a high-speed CAN core system basis chip
  • An article from The New York Times about AMD splitting into two operations
  • A PDF enttitled Map-Reduce for Machine Learning on Multicore
  • A tutorial about timers on the 8051

The second page of results also had no hits that had anything to do with slot machines, but there was an interesting article about how corrugated cardboard is made.

Let me add the word slot to the search words. Now we're getting somewhere. The first result is an article from The New York Times titled From the Back Office, a Casino Can Change the Slot Machine in Seconds.

The article is about the testing of a technology called Downloadable Games at Treasure Island in Las Vegas and Barona Resort & Casino in San Diego. On a machine that does not support Downloadable Games, the casino has to swap one or more chips in the machine to change denomination or long-term payback and the casino also has to change the glass if it wants to change the machine to a different game.

On machines that support Downloadable Games, the change can be pushed down to one or more machines from a central system. No need to open the machine or swap chips or glass. Everything is video.

Justin Beltram, who was Director of Slot Operations at Treasure Island at the time, was interviewed for the article. Although technically possible, he "insists he does not plan to capriciously change the odds, which he said would be bad for repeat business and could run afoul of regulators." He also said that fierce competition for slot machine players would keep him from playing fast and loose with his odds.

Even if he wanted to, he could not capriciously change the odds on a machine. He would still have to purchase the new long-term payback program from the manufacturer. Then he could queue the change, but it could not be made until the machine has been idle for four minutes, and then the machine has to remain locked for play for another four minutes and display a message that a change is being made to the machine's configuration. Oh, and the State of Nevada also needs to be notified of the change.

One more thing I should mention about this article. It was published on April 12, 2006.

I've attended a number of seminars about Downloadable Games in the past few years. Although casinos could technically change long-term payback percentages more easily on machines that support Downloadable Games, the operators were more excited about being able to change a tired game theme that is underperforming with a new theme that might do better without having to make any physical changes on the machine. Other uses mentioned were being able to download specific graphics to a machine to promote a casino event or amenity or to acknowledge a special group visiting the casino. Another use, also mentioned in the Times article, is changing machines from slot games to video poker or vice versa to better match the demand for each type of machine.

John Grochowski published an article called Casinos Can't Change Slot Paybacks Easily on this site on October 18, 2011. In it, he said that he asked a casino operator if the gaming board would allow the casino to change long-term paybacks based on time of day or how crowded the casino is, and the operator said that the gaming board would not allow that change. He also said that the operator said that once a change was made, it would be days or weeks before the gaming board would approve another change. I believe John's operator was referring to rules in Illinois. Nevada casinos have more leeway; still, they cannot change long-term paybacks on a whim.

I took another look at your suggested search (can split machines be altered by chip) and I wonder whether Downloadable Games is really what you had in mind. I have no idea what a "split machine" is (Perhaps a typo that should be "slot machine"?) and downloading software to a slot machine is definitely not altering it by chip.

Please send me another message with specific URLs that illustrate your point.


John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots