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Best of John Robison

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Did this slot machine malfunction?

3 January 2011

Hi John,

I was doing a search on here about slot machine malfunctions. I was at a casino today in Michigan with my boyfriend, and it was in the bonus mode. It was on the last spin of I think 12. It gave him quite a bit. It was a penny machine. He was playing five dollars a pop.

It happened so fast I can't really remember. As I was saying it was the last or next to the last spin and as it started adding up the total win. It started taking the bet amount of five dollars. It kept taking five dollars. I tried to stop it by pushing the button, but it kept taking five dollars off. It finally stopped. My boyfriend at this time was annoyed and losing a lot it was really early in the morning and we had been there for hours.

He went to another machine and kept playing. A little later an attendant came by and he told her what happened and she called the floor manager. We told him what happened and he said it was impossible. He called the tech and he opened it. He said what we described could not happen. It happened so fast that neither one of us could remember if the reels were rolling as the money was coming off. He wasn't hitting the button when it started, he was hitting them trying to stop it.

The tech checked the thing inside and said that we had made the bets. They were five dollar ones and fifty-cent one. He said it only went back 10 plays. I did not like the implication that we were liars. The tech said we put a $4 paper slip in it.

The bonus came up to like $200 and something. I can't remember it kept taking so much so fast, it stopped at a hundred and something. He then took the ticket and put it in another machine, which I told him not to do. He wanted to keep gambling.

I don't know if what I am saying is making sense, or if I am saying it right, but am trying to do it the best way I can. He wasn't even asking for his money back. I think what happened is the last spin of the bonus retriggered the same spin again, and it was correcting itself by taking the money back. The last one I remember was the most and they were both the same.

Does that make sense? The guy said the machines won't take money away unless you actually hit the spin reel. Something to that affect. Is that possible? I also asked him about video, could he view video of us at the machine and what was happening and he said, no they can not. Have you ever heard of this?

Thanks,
Kathy

Dear Kathy,

I don't know what happened on your machine. It sounds like your boyfriend got confused about what was happening and, in trying to stop the machine, was actually making more bets on it.

Everything the slot technician told you was correct. The only way a machine can remove credits is when the player makes a bet. And most jurisdictions require that machines retain the results of the last 10 spins.

The lesson here is that anytime you think a machine is malfunctioning, you should stop playing it and immediately call over a slot attendant.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

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