Phone Charging Revisited: Forgetting Our Phones

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In a previous column I wrote about the challenges of leveraging the supposedly helpful phone chargers found on slot machines. While my focus was specifically on them simply working, players who commented on the article brought up an angle that hadn’t hit me: The forgetting of the phone on the machine:

Thought it was a great idea until I actually left my phone at the machine a couple of times. Luckily, the phone was still there when I went back. Don’t use them anymore!

Lynn S.


Every time my husband charges at the machine he forgets his phone when he leaves.

Elizabeth B.

This is a good point, and one I’ve certainly done myself. It’s so easy to forget about your phone on the machine as you get up, grab your card, your ticket, perhaps your drink, and then now with your non-existent third hand your phone too. But with full hands and a habit that normally doesn’t include grabbing the phone it’s pretty easy for us to forget about our phone and move on.

Now, one thing that’s been interesting from some of the comments is how frequently phones are found and turned into security. I’ve been with friends multiple times when they realized their phone was lost, and found it at security. I personally remember my phone before it has a chance to be grabbed by the cleaning team or security, but stolen phones seem to be more rare:

But this led me to a thought, one that I spotted also shared by a reader in the comments:

They should make it that a warning comes up that your phone is charging before it releases your card and/or your money ticket.

Susan S.

If a slot machine can detect that a ticket hasn’t been removed and can beep and blink and flash messages on the screen, which manufacturer will take the lead for doing the same when it comes to a device charging on the slot? It would seem like the machine can/should know that a device is charging on the machine and could alert the player. 

Similarly, the machine could alert slot attendants that a device is connected to the machine, just as it can today when a machine is out of paper or a jackpot handpay has occurred. This can reduce the risk a phone remains laying out long enough for an opportunistic thief to grab it.

This feels like a natural extension of what’s happened on machines in the past, and even if not required by regulation, could be a great way to ensure player comfort and safety.

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