For as long as they have existed people have been trying to cheat slot machines. While the act itself is immoral, much like the “Robin Hood” tales of the past, there is a certain charm to it. In this countdown we will be journeying back through time, looking at the most novel ways in which players have tried to cheat slot machines in the past.

The Yo-Yo

Considered to be the granddaddy of all slot machine cheats and something originated long before many modern day slots players were even born. All that was needed was a coin and a thin piece of string. The player simply ties the string around the coin, deposits it in the machine, then after it registers use the string to pull the coin out. In many cases the cheater would keep doing it till they won big or got caught.

The Shaved Coin

In order to counteract the Yo-Yo trick, machines started to use optic verification sensors. These mechanisms use a beam of light to recognise that is a coin is in the machine, however cheaters will always find new ways to cheat. Players would shave around the edge of the coin; so it would register with the optic verification sensor yet drop into the refund tray once it hit the size and weight detection system. This would allow the player to play the game for free.

The Fake Coin

Another classic cheating technique and one that has long standing roots in the field of slots. Originated by Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio, a player will create a pressed counterfeit coin that bears an unmistakable resemblance to a real currency. When placed into machine the mechanism wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. The Fake Coin scam became so widely known throughout Connecticut and New Jersey that they even made a documentary about its origins and uses.

The Piano Wire

It was a gangster’s tool of choice back in the day, but it was also a favourite of slot machine scammers. In 1982, a group of men surrounded a slot machine, pried open the front, and inserted 20-inch piano wire into the machines wiring, before closing the machine and using it to jam the clock and fix the wheel rotation. Through this they forced the machine to hit the $50,000 jackpot. However, in this case cheaters didn’t prosper, as the group of men were arrested shortly there after.

The Light Wand

To those who prefer to play honestly, it is nothing more than a mini-light attached to a wire. But to cheaters it is powerful tool used for scamming slot machines. By using it within a machine, cheaters would be able to trick the optical senses within a machine to count how many coins they dispensed. Inserted through the hopper it would blind the optical sensor to the point where it wouldn’t know when to stop handing out money. All anyone had to do was to play enough until they hit a small jackpot, then watch the coins flow until the machine was practically empty.

The Cheat Code

As technology has advanced so have the ways that slot machines are cheated out of their contents. Ronald Dale Harris was a Nevada Gaming Commission engineer and the creator of the most infamous slot machine scams in history. The Cheat Code was created through the combination of altered programming code and the input of a set coin combination. Manage to do this and the machine would automatically payout. Harris’ would eventually be caught, but his slot machine scam will always stand the test of time.

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Fred Siegel

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