How to Cheat at a Slot Machine: Is it Possible to Cheat Slot Machines?

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Dennis Graham-ClarkeSeptember 13, 2022 at 01:20 AM

15 Ways to ‘Cheat’ at Slot Machines

The most common ways to cheat slot machines in 2022 are by using casino software glitches, replacing slot machine computer chips and by using fake coins.

Risk disclaimer: Attempting or even conspiring to cheat at gambling is a category C felony in the United States. The punishment you will get is the same as you would get if you actually complete the crime. Not only will the casino blacklist you, but you could also be jailed anywhere from one to five years, depending on where you live. This article is for entertainment purposes only and we do not encourage our readers to actually attempt to cheat at slot machines. Doing so is completely your own responsibility.

Slot machines are the absolute No. 1 most profitable game in casinos for both the casinos themselves and cheaters. Although most slot machines have built-in security systems nowadays to prevent them from being tampered with, professional casino cheaters are still able to trick the machines into paying them out massive amounts of money.

In this article, we will let you in on 15 ways to cheat slot machines. Some of these methods still work, but others are mere novelties of the past. 

1. Cheating Online Slot Source Codes

Nowadays, most gambling takes place online. This means that most of the time you’re not dealing with actual physical slot machines in land-based casinos, but rather with online video slots that use random number generator software to produce outcomes. 

All online slots are developed by what are called casino software providers. These are the companies that provide online casinos with provably “fair” games. Some of the most well-known casino software providers in the U.S. are IGT, Real Time Gaming, Playtech and Microgaming. 

So whenever you’re playing your favorite online slot machine, you’re not really playing a game developed by the casino you’re playing at, but a game that is just hosted on the casino website. These are developed by a company that specializes in designing and programming online slots.

The first cheat we are going to discuss in this guide has all to do with this programming. You see, the thing is that software engineers design online slots so that the casino and the game supplier can monitor and audit the results they produce. 

However, what if you actually use this so-called source code to your own advantage? Ronald Dale Harris is a textbook example of a guy who actually did just that. He used the source codes of slots to make the games pay him out high amounts of money back in the 90s. 

While reading this, you might be thinking along the lines, “Sure, but this doesn’t work anymore.” However, it can still be done and we’ll prove it to you. 

If you’re a fan of gambling, you might have seen a casino streamer or two win a gigantic jackpot, live on screen, at a crypto casino like Stake.com or Roobet. How do you think this is even remotely possible? Well, the answer is the source code. 

The casinos make the streamer win by changing the source code of the game they are playing, which makes the audience think the streamer is really lucky and winning a jackpot, while in reality, the streamer just plays a game hugely in their favor, with money borrowed from the casino in the first place. The goal here is just to promote the casino, of course, and make winning look easy. 

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Now, how can you manipulate the source code of online slots? To be honest, don’t even bother. Most licensed online casinos in the U.S. only work with top-of-the-line casino software providers like NetEnt, Microgaming and Bally Entertainment that got their security on point. It is virtually impossible to break into the source codes of games developed by these companies.

However, you could try playing at what is called a “weak online casino” or “offshore, unregulated casino” to see if they are hosting games from smaller gaming studios that can still be manipulated from the outside. 

One of the tools you can use to crack the source code of these casino games is so-called PRNG Cracker software. With such software, you can determine at what moment an online slot machine will use a seed that has a corresponding high-payout result. The software will notify you when to bet bigger than usual to maximize payouts.

2. Cheating a Slot Machine With Shaved Coins

Although this method to cheat a slot machine doesn’t work anymore, it is still interesting to explain. Back in the 1980s, slot machines used a light sensor or laser to register coin insertion. In most cases, this sensor worked completely separately from the actual physical comparator of the slot machine. 

Because of this, cheaters could insert “shaved coins” together with objects of the exact shape and size of the shaved coins into the slot machines, which caused the slot machines to return the shaved coins, but the other objects would be accepted by the slot machines and seen as a valid coin insertion, allowing the cheater to play for free.

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3. Using Fake Coins To Cheat a Slot Machine

Over the course of time, cheaters didn’t only use shaved coins to cheat slot machines, but also just outright fake coins. Most land-based casinos nowadays are completely digitalized and use player cards that you can top up at the cashier booths inside the casinos. However, there are still some casinos that use coins. If you create your own coins of the exact same size and weight, you might be able to cheat a slot machine or two. (Read: Probably not.)

The most famous casino cheater that used fake coins was Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio, who scammed casinos all over Las Vegas for hundreds of thousands of dollars before getting arrested in 1998. When he was released in 2006, he continued cheating slot machines in casinos with coins and it only took a few months before he got arrested again. 

4. Cheating a Slot Machine With Magnets

We want to be totally honest with you guys and tell you that it’s just impossible to cheat slot machines with magnets nowadays. All modern slot machines, whether it may be video slots or one-armed bandits, are programmed by computer software.

What cheaters used to do is wait for a winning combination of symbols to show up on the reels, and then hold a strong magnet to the side of the slot machine. This made the reels of the slot machine stop immediately and cause the machine to pay out. That just won’t work for you anymore.

5. How To Cheat a Slot Machine With the Yo-Yo Technique

Earlier in this guide, we discussed the laser sensor that slot machines used to have to register coin insertion. Back in the day, cheaters would attach a string to a coin, and then “yo-yo” the coin into the machine, tricking the laser sensor that a coin had been inserted, to be able to play for free.

Just like cheating a slot machine with magnets or cheating a slot machine with fake coins, this cannot be done anymore as most slot machines have been fully digitalized. 

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6. Cheating a Slot Machine With a Light Wand

One of the all-time classic Las Vegas slot machine cheats is the so-called light wand, designed by Tommy Glenn Carmichael. This device would blind the optical sensor of a slot machine so that the machine wouldn’t know when or how much to pay out. 

Carmichael made a fortune with this device because it would turn normal small wins into massive jackpot payouts. He also reportedly replicated the device and sold it to fellow conmen around Las Vegas for as much as $1,500 a pop while it only cost him about $30 to make one. 

7. Cheating a Slot Machine With a Piano Wire

One of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to cheating slot machines must be the good old piano wire. Back in 1982, a gang of scammers used over 20-inch long piano wires to open slot machines and attach the wires to the whirring guts of the machines. 

These piano wires would then jam the internal clock that measured the reel rotations of the machine so that the group could manipulate the outcome of the spins. This all went pretty well until they got caught after becoming too greedy and trying to cash out a $50,000 jackpot. 

8. How to Cheat a Slot Machine With a Top-Bottom Joint

Almost just as popular as the light wand, the so-called top-bottom joint tool was used by various casino scammers in the 1970s and 1980s to cheat slot machines. This tool basically had two parts. A top, which consisted of a metal rod with its end bent in the shape of the letter q, and a bottom that was just a long copper wire.

The scammers would put the copper wire into the coin chute to manipulate the light sensor of a slot machine while at the same time putting the metal rod into the coin slot to make the machine think endless coins are being inserted. This resulted in the slot machines releasing all the coins they had stored in them.

9. How to Cheat a Slot Machine With a Monkey Paw

If you’ve read our until here, you might have already googled “Carmichael casino cheater.” If you haven’t yet, you might as well, as the guy was a genius when it came to cheating slot machines. 

Apart from the light wand, he also created the “Monkey Paw.” The monkey paw consisted of a guitar string attached to a bent metal rod. This device was to be jammed into a slot machine’s air vent to trigger the coin hopper switch. Whenever Carmichael himself or one of his customers who bought this device succeeded in triggering the coin hopper switch of a slot machine, all coins inside the machine would come out. 

10. Cheating a Slot Machine With a Bill Validator Device

Good news for all you casino cheaters out there: bill validator devices still exist and you can use them to even cheat digitalized slot machines as long as they accept dollar bills and don’t use a player card system! 

The bill validator is a very nifty device that you wrap around a $1 bill to trick a slot machine into thinking you are inserting a $100 bill. The only thing you’ve definitely got to watch out for when trying to use this device to cheat a casino, are all the cameras. 

11. Cheating Slot Machines by Replacing Computer Chips

A guy named Dennis Nikrasch managed to rob Las Vegas casinos for over $15 million in the late 1990s by replacing the computer chips of slot machines. Although we could write an entire story about Nikrasch, we will try to keep it short. 

Nikrasch was originally a locksmith from Chicago who had a passion for crime. Initially, he used his locksmith tools and knowledge to rob luxury homes, but later got contacted by the Genesee crime family to help them accomplish a variety of crimes. 

Over the years, Nikrasch stole hundreds of cars and robbed loads of luxury homes, but eventually got caught and sentenced to 10 years in prison. After serving his full term, he moved to Las Vegas with no money to his name. Eager for a fast buck, he used his locksmithing skills to literally open entire slot machines and steal all the coins in them without getting caught. 

This went well for a while until he got arrested and imprisoned again. When he came out the second time, the world around him had digitalized, but he was determined to rob casinos again. He hooked up with Eugene Bulgarino, a tech expert associated with the Genesee family. 

Together they bought two slot machines to examine, disassemble and analyze them to experiment with how they could control the devices. After months of research, Nikrasch found out that the microchips within the slot machines were responsible for jackpot distributions. 

He then proceeded to replicate such a microchip and encrypted it with the proper coding to guarantee him a jackpot payout. The only thing he had to do next was swap the self-made microchip with the one in a progressive slot at a casino. 

He hired over 10 accomplices who would block cameras from all angles on July 4, 1997 in the Harrah’s Hotel and Casino while he swapped the microchips and cashed in on a $3.7 million dollar jackpot. 

He did this a couple more times until one of his crewmembers felt underpaid. The crewmember turned Nikrasch over to the police and within a month the FBI and experts at International Game Technology knew who to look for. Eventually, his house got raided and the FBI found the two slot machines, the microchips, and a list of casinos he and his team were planning to hit, leading to his arrest. 

12. How to Cheat a Slot Machine Using Software Glitches

As every online slot machine is computer-programmed, you can use software glitches to cheat your way into winning. This has been done for years by professional online casino scammers and can still be done nowadays. Some new slot releases contain glitches that scammers can use to exploit the online casinos hosting these slots. 

Whenever something sounds too good to be true, it often is. This is also the case with slot machine software glitches. Almost every online slot will have a little line in the game manual saying: “malfunction voids all pays.” For this reason, you can use software glitches to cheat a slot machine, but you probably won’t get paid out your jackpot win. 

An example of such a case is when 90-year-old grandmother Pauline McKee from Illinois won $41 million on a Miss Kitty slot machine at the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo in 2015. It ended up being a technical error (software glitch) and the casino didn’t pay out her jackpot. She proceeded to sue the casino but her final appeal was rejected.  

13. Cheating Online Slot Machines by Abusing Bonuses

Although we’ve told you numerous times about line shopping here on OddsJam, the same actually counts for online casino bonuses. Almost every online casino welcomes new players with a welcome bonus. You can simply sign up at multiple casinos and claim welcome bonuses at each and every one of them.

Most of the time you get a 100% first deposit bonus. This means that if you deposit $100 at an online casino, your initial balance will be $200. $100 of your own and $100 “bonus money.”

What you then proceed to do, is play online slots with very low volatility to play through the wagering requirements. This is called bonus grinding and you can actually get away with this at smaller online casinos that don’t have player-betting behavior management systems in place. 

Alternatively, you could place $1 on 35 out of the 36 numbers on European roulette to play through the wagering requirements fairly easily with a very small chance of losing your own deposited money. Once you succeed at one online casino, you simply hop on to the next.

14. Cheating Online Slot Machines by Abusing the Hit Rate

Every online slot is required to pay out a certain percentage by law. In most cases, this is around 95%. You can abuse this return to player percentage or rather the hit ratio of online slot machines by suddenly starting to bet really big after a lot of losing spins with lower bets in a row. 

Although this isn’t really cheating, you are definitely abusing the inner workings of online slot machines and some casinos won’t allow you to withdraw funds from your account balance when they notice you have been doing this.

15. How to Cheat a Slot Machine by Making Light

Last, but not least, you can cheat a slot machine by making light. Most slot machines in land-based casinos still use a sensor to determine how many coins or bills are being inserted. By interrupting these sensors with a pocket laser light you can make the machine think you’re inserting coins or bills while you aren’t. 

How to Cheat a Slot Machine – Bottom Line

Although there have been quite some ways scammers have cheated slot machines in both land-based and online casinos, there are far fewer ways you can cheat a slot machine nowadays. We do not recommend cheating slot machines as it can lead to fines, blacklisting and imprisonment. As we outlined above, it also probably won’t work.

FAQ

Can I still cheat slot machines today?

Yes, it still possible to cheat both land-based and online slot machines, but it has become a whole lot harder to do so. It isn’t worth the risk.

How do I know a casino or slot machine doesn’t cheat me?

You know a casino or slot machine doesn’t cheat you by only playing at regulated online casinos that have a valid gaming license issued by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Kahnawake Gaming Commission or other reputable U.S. license issuer in place. We do not recommend playing at unregulated or offshore (crypto) casinos. 

How can I cheat a slot machine with my phone?

You can cheat a slot machine with your phone by using a PRNG cracker app. This app transmits alpha-numeric keys to complex algorithm formulas at intervals. These keys then generate the results displayed for all spins. The PRNG cracker app hints when certain keys will be triggered which cheaters can use to know when a jackpot can be hit. The app will make the phone vibrate to avoid detection by any casino security staff. 

How to cheat online slot machines?

You can cheat online slot machines by bonus grinding or by abusing the hit rates and return to player percentage at licensed online casinos. 

Why are slot machines rigged?

Slot machines aren’t rigged but always have a built-in house edge (called the RTP or Return to Player Ratio). Casinos are in the business of making money by providing entertainment. No sane person would install a slot machine that pays players more than they bet.

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