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Best of John Robison

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When did computers take over the slot floor?

24 August 2011

Can you tell me what year the first slots with computer chips were introduced to the floors of Las Vegas casinos? Are there any casinos that still have the mechanical machines in Las Vegas?

Thanks for all of the great information you provide us. You have an awesome newsletter. keep up the good work.

Howard

Dear Howard,

Thanks for the kind words about my column.

Unfortunately there was no ceremony celebrating the installation of the first computer-controlled slots -- at least none that I can find online or in the books in my library -- and it happened a little before my time.

It took about 10 years for the machines on the slot floor to change from electromechanical to the computer-controlled machines we have today. Here are some milestones:

  • 1976: Fortune Coin develops video slot machine, which requires computer control.
  • 1980: Bally introduces E-2000 series or reel-spinning slots. Replaces electromechanical circuits with microprocessor. Outcome of spin still determined mechanically.
  • 1986: IGT introduces S-Slot series of microprocessor-controlled reel-spinning (stepper) slots. RNG determines outcome of spin.

Your second question is much easier to answer. Absolutely no casino in Las Vegas or the United States has a mechanical or electromechanical slot machine. The machines are not as secure as today's slots, they don't maintain the auditing data that today's machines are required to maintain and they can't communicate with the casino's accounting systems. You might find a machine that looks like an old electromechanical machine -- Atlantic City had a few a number of years ago -- but they all contained modern slot technology. They only looked retro.

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