The Resiliency of Slot Machine Hardware

Home » Recent Posts » The Resiliency of Slot Machine Hardware
Share this on:

Slot machine malfuction with a small handpay

I had my first jackpot handpay in nearly a year recently. It wasn’t a normal jackpot, though. As I was concluding a bonus on a new slot, I noticed the players card screen had blanked out, as had the light around my card. I figured it was time to move on since it couldn’t be recording my play, but the machine had other ideas when I hit the cash out button.

“HAND PAY: $68.65” showed up on the screen.

For the second time since I’ve been playing slots, I had a machine choke on the cash-out step. It looked like something communication wise had gone wrong. While I waited for the attendant to bring me the money left on the machine, it seemed to recover, as by the time she returned the players card screen had caught up with what was going on (although the handpay still had to be completed).

One of the more amusing moments was there were two witnesses to watch me get paid this small sum! I am normally only fortunate enough to have one witness.

It’s somewhat remarkable how infrequently something truly goes wrong with a slot machine. I’ve never had a machine crash and burn the way one did on Brian Christopher while filming a video, where the machine failed to recover altogether, but I’ve seen machines randomly reboot when the computer just got overwhelmed (including within a bonus, only for the slot to pick right back up where it left off). 

I’ve seen sticky buttons and screens that won’t recognize a finger’s touch. I’ve seen doors that will close but won’t “close” in the eyes of the slot machine. And often, some quick work by an attendant can bring a machine back to life.

Our recent article with IGT on cabinets shined an interesting light on what exactly goes into making a machine robust. Whether it’s surviving a slot tournament, designing it to be easier for players to see and hear without distracting the player next door, or deciding exactly which features it should have (and where they should be placed), it’s a complicated process. 

It’s remarkable not only how many machines get designed and through a testing process over the course of a year, but also how many different ways it can be done. As I shared in my venting about the poor phone charging process, there’s a lot of different ways this gets set up, with varying degrees of success.

These machines operate 24 hours a day, and when in active use are handling hundreds of spins an hour, every hour, every day. Some of them have been operational on casino floors for years or even decades. With that, given how infrequently things tend to melt down or become problematic, it’s pretty incredible how well built these cabinets are to keep us all entertained.

Of course, part of that is up to the casino. I’ve seen some casinos who have a pristine selection of machines, well maintained and operational, and casinos that have a lot of machines out of service and quite a few that probably should be put out of their misery. I’ll never forget waiting nearly an hour for an attendant to assist me with a machine he said needed help “at least once a day.” No wonder why I had to wait an hour – he’s running around helping people who are stuck on poorly kept machines.

But when it’s all being kept up properly, like a house or a car, it can take care of you for a long time. And that starts with some well-designed equipment.

Share this on:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Play Online Casinos

Sign Up with BetMGM Casino and get a Deposit Match up to $1,000, plus $25 in Site Credits on the house! Available in MI, NJ, PA & WV. US promotional offers not valid in Ontario.

Use code SWITCH2500 for a 100% deposit match up to $2,500, and 2,500 Reward Credits, with $25+ in wagers placed (MI, NJ, PA & WV).

New sign-ups with DraftKings Casino in MI, NJ, PA & WV will receive $35 Casino Credits, plus Play $5 and Get $50 Back in Casino Credits Instantly!

Sign Up and deposit $10+ at FanDuel to get a Welcome Offer of a $20 Bonus + Up to $1,000 Play it Again based on your net losses in the first 24 hours in MI, NJ, PA & WV!

Play Social Casinos

Ready to give Show Me Vegas Slots a try? Get 10 million coins to play Show Me Vegas Slots with promo code SWITCH!

New players to 88 Fortunes Slots receive 5 billion coins as a thank you for signing up!

Sign Up and get a Welcome Bonus of 2,000,000 FREE Gold Coins & 2 FREE Sweeps Coins. Get started today!

Sign Up for LuckyLand Slots and get a Welcome Bonus of 7,777 FREE Gold Coins & 10 FREE Sweeps Coins!

Online Game Spotlight
Double Patriot

Classic Everi Three-Reel Slot with a Fresh Twist

Play Online Sportsbooks

Sign Up to get a Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets if your bet wins!

Use code SWITCH1000 to get your first bet back in Bonus Bets, up to $1,000, if you lose.

​SIGN UP to get $150 instantly in Bonus Bets* (NC, $5+ bet required) or up to $1500 in Bonus Bets* Back if Your First Bet Doesn't Win (All Other Eligible States)!

New Players get a $1,500 No Sweat Bet, a $50 Bonus Bet with $5 deposit, & Get a No Sweat NBA SGP Every Day of NBA Playoffs! New players outside MA also get 20% Match up to $1,000 (25x PTR).

Social Game Spotlight
Kronos Unleashed Slot

Frequent Feature Livens Up Super Tall Reels

Dragons vs. Pandas Slot Machine

Two Sets of Reels Battle it Out