An American couple were left pondering the nature of fate and fruit machine electronics last week when a "reset" slashed their jackpot from $11m to a more manageable $1627.82. MaryAnn and Jim McMahon had been shovelling their shrapnel into the fruit machine at the the Wildwood Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado when they hit the …
I once did this in reverse
Checked the balance on a cash machine, and it said I was £10,000.01 overdrawn! In that case I was rather relieved to discover that it was just the cash machine playing 'reset values' with me on my bank balance.
I wonder if the next customer was told they had £10k extra in their account?
*Heart. I think, because mine nearly stopped...
Mystery of the Missing $44
The machine showed an initial value of $1,672, but they were only allowed to claim $1,627.82. So did the initial displayed jackpot shrink by $44.18?
And the quote that the $11m would be the machine's next jackpot after the McMahons claimed theirs doesn't make sense - surely machines have a fixed jackpot, which remains the same regardless of how many times its claimed?
"..surely machines have a fixed jackpot, which remains the same regardless of how many times its claimed?"
Not in all cases. In many US casinos (and some British arcades) the Jackpot can be based upon the total coinage shoved into a group of machines, not just one. This also works in reverse if one machine pays out cash. Don't forget, we're not talking the classic British pub machine with mini-games here, we're talking about the basic "put your money in, win what the reels say" kind of machines.
They probably charged the $18 to double check the amount!
Some do have increasing jackpots (sometimes with worsening odds the more often it's won) but this particular jump is more than a little steep.
More than a little odd
"surely machines have a fixed jackpot"
Nope, these aren't the bog standard machines found in UK pubs. These are US casino machines where many have jackpots which increase based on use and payouts i.e. how much people feed it and how much it gives back. Normally there will be a group of machines associated to a particular jackpot total.
"surely machines have a fixed jackpot, which remains the same regardless of how many times its claimed?"
A lot of machines over there have an ever increasing jackpot, with the value based on the total amount of money wagered between big wins (some jackpots are linked up to a single board displaying the total amount, even though there may be 20+ individual machines all linked up and contributing towards it)
A huge win would cause this figure to go back to a predetermined starting value.
Don't push it....
Oh that's right, this is the ultra litigious US.
"It's not right."
Yeah.. Stop whining and get a life, you sick gamblards!
Not being gambling savvy someone needs to explain: you hit the jackpot of a meagre $1672 and after you claim that money the jackpot goes through the roof?
That does sound a bit suspect. You'd expect the next jackpot to be low immediately after it had been paid out, and gradually increase over time as more people throw money at the machine without winning. Or I would anyway. Is the jackpot just a random number?
Could have been worse
They could have won a Blue Screen, or an fsck.
I'll play it next then...
...as apparently it will spit out $11m for the next winner!!
As for the "logic" of the machines, (certainly in the UK) there is a set payout %age - so a machine will pay out say 93% of the cash you put in. If you play for a long time, refusing any prize it offers you, it will tip over the threshold required to pay you the whole jackpot, and spit it out. In theory catching a machine at the right time = staying ahead. In practice it's still a gamble.
At least that's how things used to be, stopped regularly playing the damn things some years ago when I realised I was going for a night out just to stand next to a big flashing box rather than enjoy a drink with my mates....
How much coin you'd have to shunt in to activate a $11m jackpot doesn't even bear thinking about!
The payout cycle is too long...
The method you mention is fine if the cycle is short, but it can be very long indeed - longer than it takes to drop its guts for you standing there all night - and there is the risk that kicking out time will get you away from the hardware before you take your millions (and after it's chewed through all your pocket change). You're best off out of it - the guys who design these machines invest a fortune in the psychology of keeping you standing there!
Not in the US.
Over here, the machines run a 'random' number generator. The odds of winning remain constant with time, and the payout % is based on the law of large numbers.
Also, you cannot refuse a prize- you get the money, even if you put it back in the machine.
There is a reason why Casino's are so opulent
That's because they always win. Even when they don't win they still win.
the next person to win the jackpot will get $11m, yes?
Why am I not so sure.
Having been in many (US) casinos I can say that the story from the casino is very plausible. I think there is no question that someone simply doesn't have a clue, and should have stuck to scratch cards.
Apparently they forgot...
that the only way to win is to open a casino.
As long as the machine pays out the correct percentage overall, the only other relevant laws are the consumer ones. Good luck with that.
Also, if you want to piss money up the wall, spending it on alcohol is far more efficient.
Tends to be
easier to piss, too.
My sympathy is (unusually) with the casino on this one
Outputting two values is not normal, so I can believe it's an error.
As opposed to other players who've been refused payouts at all as it was 'an error', or if you're stupid enough to use slot machines in a dodgy pub, finding that it gets switched off as soon as the payout starts.
...particularly since they could have stiffed the punter
On just about every machine in a Vegas casino, you'll see: "Malfunction voids all pays and plays". So the casino could have refused to pay a brass cent.
A reset message?
Just like bookmakers in the UK when you place a bet at one set of odds, win and then the bookmakers change the odds and pay out on the new rate. i.e. considerably lower.
No, you just don't understand the betting system
If you write on your slip the odds at the time of placing the bet, i.e. 8/1 then that is the bet you are placing and the bookmaker is agreeing to those odds. If you don't specify that you want those odds then in gets put on as SP (starting price). That is the odds for the horse when the race starts and it can go up as well as down
The machines that contribute to a shared jackpot are called "progressives". They can be shared among machines in the same location, or among machines in a region. Gambling machines in the US use paytables that can be switched by the operator between levels of payback percentages, like 89%, 92%, 95%, etc. (Some poker machines are capable of returning greater than 100% payback, given perfect play by the user). When a jackpot is hit on a progressive, the new jackpot doesn't reset to 0, but has a built-in reset value, because who would want to jump on a machine with a jackpot of zero?
The largest jackpot on a progressive machine is only awarded if you are playing "max bet", meaning you are playing all lines at the maximum coin value. This couple probably wasn't. Most likely, they were playing all lines at some lower bet amount. The real problem is that the machine's manufacturer doesn't appear to have tested this scenario thoroughly. Casino operators are shielded from this by the usual disclaimer that any malfunction will void a win.
So, they might be able to sue the manufacturer, but not the operator. Probably neither.
I'm reminded of a couple of old adages:
"A fool and his money are soon parted"
"The house always wins"
Yes the casion is technically in the legally correct position.
Still, they might have used it for publicity and written it off against the advertising budget. More ID ten Ts playing the one-armed bandits would probably more than cover the loss.
@Anonymous Coward (14:55)
I think the previous poster may have been been talking about "palpable errors".
they didn't win the "big one"
But they sure got the "big one". It just weren't in their hand or pocketbook.
Yet another reason not to be a total tard and ever visit this City.
Run by a bunch of leeching corrupt mob types, and even win you win you loose.
Vegas = MAJOR FAIL - Avoid any city where the mob or similar leeches reign.
Penny slots are never going to pay the same as dollar.
Shrapnel machines are never going to pay out big, certainly not if playing minimum credits.
Huge payouts on such machines is sure sign of an error. Greedy casinos use the letter of the law to refuse any payout at all. Smart ones pay the normal jackpot for that machine and get it serviced.
Oh the humanity
They won more than one and a half thousand dollars. How unfair.
Smiley face, because it pays to take some things with a sense of humor, out here.
A plain malfunction . . .
I live in Cripple Creek and have heard the story a million (pun intended) times and it was a rarely seen malfunction. The real amount of the jackpot was posted above the machines so the misunderstanding was theirs because it was clearly posted. And the difference in what they finally received was (probably) minus taxes. You can pay at the time of winning or later. But the IRS will get their cut.
Hey Reg, next time contact the source of the story and more than one TV station if they won't talk to you, no surprise there, and vet your info. I haven't see much of that on this site.
A lot of those "progressive" style linked jackpots have 3 or 4 levels. The lowest 2 can be won quite often. They all reset to minimum some starting value, not to zero. In some links, the lowest 2 are individual to each machine, depending on how much has been played through them; and the highest 1 or 2 jackpots go up from the combined play on all the linked machines. Some links also have a maximum amount, which gets those machines a lot of extra play, at high credit levels, when they're close to reaching the maximum.
The story sounds like the machine blipped between giving them Level 2 and Level 4, momentarily displaying the wrong level value.
Mine's the one with all the coins still in the pocket.
The jackpot was always probably $11M .. they didn't win the 'jackpot' .. they won a 'prize'.
The fact that it displays the next jackpot as $11M means the next winner will get that *if* they hit the jackpot... they could just as easily won $10.00 with say two liberty bells and a banana .. that's not a jackpot win.
Yeahhhhh it's a con job...
Funny how the machine suddenly has a failure and needs "inspecting" - every time someone has a big win on it - just to show how the machine was "defective".