Recently updated on March 23rd, 2021
Yes, you can trick slot machines, but it isn’t easy to do so. It is also not advised because there are legal implications that could see you spend years in prison.
But we know that many players are interested in how others get one over on casinos. So, we’ll explain some of the ways players have tricked slot machines before and whether these methods still work below.
4 Ways to Trick Land-Based Slot Machines
1. Fake Coins
Fake coins have been used to cheat slot machines for years. Most casinos have moved away from coin-operated games, but you can still find a handful of them around in some casinos looking to offer a vintage gambling experience.
Essentially, some con artists used to create fake coins that could be used to fool machines and provide free spins. You are not tricking the game into paying you out, but you are buying extra chances to win with fake money.
Nowadays, the fake coin scam is pretty hard to pull off because most machines no longer take coins. As mentioned above, coin-operated machines are more of a novelty attraction at casinos these days.
2. The Light Wand
The light wand was a special device invented by Tommy Glenn Carmichael. It tricked slot machines by shining a light into the payout chute. The light would blind the payout sensor leading the game to automatically payout players.
Carmichael used the game to steal close to $5 million. In exchange, he got 11 months in prison. (A previous similar offence in Nevada earned him five years despite only netting a couple of thousand dollars).
Nowadays, the light wand doesn’t work on physical slot machines because they aren’t built in the same way they used to in the 90s.
3. Manipulating Computer Chip
When slot machines moved on from being mechanical machines to computing devices in the 1980s, scammers needed to adapt to the times. One of the earliest scams was invented by a locksmith named Dennis Nikrasch, who learned how to alter these games’ microchips to payout.
It involved replacing the microchip in the game with a manipulated device, which would automatically payout. It is estimated that Nikrasch was able to earn close to $17 million with this scam. The cost of the scam was spending a combined total of 23 years in prison throughout his adult life.
4. Confused Bill Validator
Back when most machines accepted cash, and you weren’t required to use cards to operate machines, people used to try and trick machines into thinking that they had accepted more cash than what it had.
Essentially, some cheats created a device that you attached to a $1 bill, which would trick a game into thinking it had accepted a $100 bill.
As mentioned, this hacking method went out of the window when the way machines were designed changed.
How to Trick Online Slot Machines
There are two ways to trick online slot machines:
- Software glitches
- Exploit the source code
These methods work with land-based slot machines as well. Essentially, to cheat an online game, you either need technical expertise or to understand when a game is malfunctioning and exploit that malfunction.
We often tell players they cannot cheat at online slot games simply because it is very hard to do so. Firstly, even if you win money through a glitch, casinos often have terms and conditions covering themselves in such events. You may be lucky to get away with it once, but you probably won’t get away with it a second time because they analyze games after big wins.
Secondly, if you are an experienced hacker, you could obtain the source code of a game to understand how it works. But you will have your work cut out for you with the security features used by casinos. This is illegal, and you could be prosecuted for hacking the code, so you need to be fine with this risk.