Do Slot Attendants Have Any Control Over the Slot Payouts?

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Brian Christopher gets paid another handpay

In recent years, some casinos have invested in some higher tech devices to help their slot techs manage the casino floor, such as iPhones or iPads that can alert them when a handpay is occurring or some error has happened.

At the local casino, I see frequently that the slot attendants are walking around with iPads doing things to machines. I noticed the other evening that they were talking about which games gave jackpots, while they clicked a few buttons on the iPad and the machine near them won a jackpot. I have also seen the reverse where they walk up to someone winning and all of a sudden they are losing after this person walked by with the iPad and clicked a few buttons. As a gambler, I know that the machines are random, but do the casinos have live control over the machines?


Rest assured that the casinos are not giving slot techs control over your machine and is ability to pay out or not! The answer is much more benign.

The devices you’re seeing are there to basically display on a screen the alerts that the various slot machines are throwing out for help, whether it be a handpay, a paper jam or out of paper message, some sort of malfunction, that a player has pressed the service light, and so forth.

As staffing has thinned on casino floors, reducing reliance on the “candle,” which is that light on the top of the machine, helps slot techs know where their help is most quickly needed. Candles were for a long time the way a slot tech could visually scan a floor to see what machines are in need of assistance, but now in many casinos they can just look at the data on an iPhone or iPad.

Casinos would never empower slot techs to have unilateral control over how much machines pay out – like anything else of that nature, it would open the door to risks of things like fraud. Imagine working at a place where you could suddenly allow someone betting 50 cents a spin to win a couple thousand dollars? Such a system would be ripe for abuse.

And, of course, the machines aren’t designed to allow for such activities to happen anyway, but it’s fun to play with the idea for a bit before deflating that balloon, so hopefully that helps you understand what the devices are for, and reassure they aren’t manipulating anything, but more seeing what’s happening on the floor at a glance.

And the next time a slot tech approaches you asking if you needed assistance because they saw the service light was on, it could very well be thanks to one of those devices, and hopefully those tools mean they’ll get there to help that much more quickly.

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