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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Do slot machines wear out?

11 October 2010

Mr. Robison,

I read an assortment of the letters to you in CCT. Most are a lot of fun. I've come to a question for you based on something you wrote long ago on September 17, 1999. You wrote that "Not only is a machine just as loose at the end of the month as it was in the beginning of the month, it's also just as loose at the end of its life as it was at the beginning of its life."

Can you tell me something about the life of a slot machine? Does it wear out? Do the flicks inspiring the RNG get set into any kind of patterns they didn't have when made? Are machines or parts of them tested against such a thing?

Thanks,
Mitch

Dear Mitch,

Slot machines start their lives when they're brought to the slot manufacturer's factory by the slot stork --

No, you know I'm being a smart aleck. The truth is that when a Mommy slot and a Daddy slot love each other very much --

Okay, enough lame riffs on the life of a slot machine.

Today's slot machines are computer systems, so they wear in the same ways that computer systems wear. Most vulnerable are the mechanical parts, e.g., the motors that spin the reels, and the buttons. The electronics should last forever -- or at least much longer than the machine is popular enough to earn its place on the casino floor.

As for the program running the machine, which includes the RNG, it will operate in exactly the same way on the last game played on the machine as on the first, provided the program hasn't been changed in any way and the electronics are operating properly. The program runs many tests to ensure the machine is operating properly, the slot personnel can run tests too, and slot regulators frequently inspect machines to ensure that the programs in the machines are identical to the programs they approved.

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