HOW TO SPOT FRUIT MACHINE CHEATERS!
It is often said by publicans that their customers have figured out how to win on a fruit machine in their pub or club as they are always winning! What that is actually saying, is our customers are bored with this machine as the cash box takings are down.
Regular, genuine players, do get to know cheats on a machine but these are built in cheats by the fruit machine manufacturers to keep the machine players interested. These are little bonuses for the more regular players over the casual fruit machine player.
For example, when a feature comes up flashing quickly and you have to press a button to select a winner, if you hold the cancel button it slows the speed down of the flashing lights so you know which one you are going to pick. There are all sorts of built in advantages for players who gets to know the machine. It’s the manufacturers way of taking care of a regular customer.
Some players put a pound in and listen to see if it goes into the cash box or the hopper, with the thinking that if it goes into the hopper then it is not full so won’t pay out. Some players even have a refill key (no, not so they can refill your machine), so they can see exactly how low or full the hopper is. Both of these are easily overcome by regular refills of the machine by you or your staff.
All of the above are not what we class as cheaters; a fruit machine cheater is someone, usually 2 or 3 people, who illegally empty money from your machine. In the old days it was called striming or fishing where they would put a coin on a wire or just the wire down the coin mechansim to induce credits, and then play the credits to win money.
The cheaters have moved on and there are two types, one of them is using a more modern approach to the strimming wire. This is where the cheaters push wires into the fruit machine to make contact with certain parts of the inside of the machine which causes the machine to empty itselt and possibly lose its memory so it does not remember if it has paid out or not. It can also, in certain places clock up credits. This has all happened by fruit machines being available to buy on EBay etc and these cheaters buy them and practice at home for the visit to the pub.
Fear not, the industry is constantly battling to close down any loop holes and if you are dealing with a registered operator, they will receive regular updates from manufacturers as what to do to stop these things happening. Or, if you own your own fruit machine then one thing to do is cover up all the circuit boards and the area around the hopper payout unit inside the machine so when they put their wires in they cannot make contact.
There is another way which the cheaters will go about emptying fruit machines which is a more crude way. These cheaters are coming in with the sole purpose of emptying your machines by forcing locks with devices or snipping padlocks with cutters and taking all the money and normally the cash boxes as well.
There are plenty of ways to stop these cheaters. Always have your machines in sight of the bar, (this is a legal requirement) but it helps for bar staff to keep an eye on the machine. Cheaters normally work in twos or threes , so watch out for strangers coming in and ordering half a lager and half a coke, they are looking to spend very little and do not really want alcohol as they are driving around other pubs. They also buy a pack or 2 of crisps, this is to rustle when they are about to make some noise. They also crowd round the machine and stand very close to it blocking the line of sight to it. Or one of them will distract the bar person by talking to them or going to another machine in the pub and calling over the bar staff about a query. Really watch their body language as cheats are always looking round moving not playing relaxed like a regular player.
This can all be avoided by educating your bar staff about this and instructing them that if they suspect any of the above to watch them closely and to inform the strangers of your policy involving only a maximum of two people around the machine. If the bar person is in any doubt, they must inform another member of staff , the manager or even the police. Try to have CCTV on the machines so if you do have problems you have evidence.
It is almost always strangers who will call on your pub or club and cheat the machines, it is hardly ever your regular, genuine customers.
If you do get hit by these criminal, call the police, there is also a website, www.machineguarduk.com that collates pictures of these criminals and tracks them with the police. Remember the best deterrent is being aware and watching well, it is your living so make sure you protect it!