Have you ever had a slot attendant walk over to your slot and ask if you needed anything? Then they point to the Service button that is on the bet panel of every slot machine, noting that it’s been turned on.
Modern casinos have equipment, like iPads, that will let slot attendants see where issues are reported, but most slot machines still have an additional way of telling slot attendants when something is needing attention: The slot machine candle, which is the light that’s on the top of a slot machine.
Actually, it’s technically two lights, as candles have two sections that light up, an upper and a lower half, that help give slot attendants useful information about the machine, as well as players if you know what you’re looking for.
Slot Machine Candle Colors
Candles in part would help indicate the machine’s denomination (or in the case of a multi-denomination machine, the machine’s lowest denomination). The top light is always white, whereas the bottom light can have different colors, standing for different denominations.
The colors are set in regulatory rules for some states. For instance, Pennsylvania lays out what each color is by default, while giving operators the ability to apply for exceptions that follow a different pattern (which may help if games are being acquired by companies that have different color patterns in use elsewhere).
Slot Machine Candle Indicators
Even with just two lights, the speed at which each light blinks, whether slow, fast, always on, and so forth, can indicate a variety of attention-requiring situations including:
- A player has hit a handpay jackpot
- A machine has run out of paper
- A door is open
- The cash drop door (where the bill accepter feeds the money) is open
- A machine is in administrative mode (such as a configuration screen)
Here, too, regulations often identify what the permutations can be, such as Pennsylvania’s documentation here. They will tend to be similar from market to market, to avoid slot makers from having to have too many variations for indicating the same thing.
The simple ability for a slot attendant to be able to look across the casino floor to see what lights are on and what they’re indicating was a boon to their ability to help players or fix machines faster.
Outmoded By New Technology
Of course, with modern casino floors (like everything else) being connected, newer technology is out there that will tell slot attendants on devices where issues are occuring.
If you’ve noticed that attendants are able to get to you very quickly when a handpay occurs, it’s because they get notified as soon as it happens and can get to you faster than before. Situations like ticket paper running out tend to get resolved faster now as well, so machines aren’t offline as often or for as long for simple issues like this.
So, while candles from a utility perspective may be slowly fading away, they still provide a lot of useful information and are still helpful tools to attendants on casino floors, especially ones that haven’t updated to the latest generation of technology yet. And as you get to know what candles indicate, you can better understand what’s happening with a machine when one’s blinking.