DOR Gaming
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Understanding Slot Machines





1.  A casino can "cool off" a machine by hitting a switch in the surveillance room after watching a player win money on a slot machine.


2.  If I put $100 in a slot machine that advertises a 97% payback, I should get back at at least $97 every time I play.


3. If a machine malfunctions when I play it, I should win whatever is displayed on the reels.


4. I can let my spouse or a friend claim a jackpot that I have won.


5. If I put a coin on a string or put slugs in a slot machine, I can cheat it.


6. If someone leaves credits on a machine, I can play them.


7. I need an ID to gamble in Colorado casinos.







The only way a casino can change the payout percentage on a slot machine is to physically change a computer chip or other computer memory device (in most cases one or more computer chips, or in some cases a flash card or computer hard drive) in the machine itself that determines the payouts and results of a slot machine. An independent lab tests the computer programs contained on the memory device to ensure that they are programmed to pay out at a predetermined percentage. The lab then provides the Division of Gaming and casinos with a list of approved games and "signatures" on the approved memory device to verify that the game can be offered in Colorado. Casinos must ensure that all computer software in their slot machines are approved. The Division of Gaming randomly inspects slot machines to verify they are approved for use in Colorado. If not, the casino faces fines and/or other disciplinary action.

By Colorado law, a slot machine must pay out between 80% to 100%.


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The computer chip in the slot machine that determines the payout is programmed with a theoretical payout percentage. If a chip is set at 97%, theoretically it should pay back 97% over the lifetime of the machine, which is normally seven years. You would have to play the machine for an entire seven years to get a "guaranteed" 97% return over time.


In the short term, the odds of winning a certain prize, including the top jackpot award, are the same every time you play the machine. If you win a jackpot, your odds of winning it again on the next handle pull are identical to when you won the first time.


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Unfortunately, slot machines periodically break down. The outcome of a slot handle pull or button push is determined by the computer chip in the machine, not by the reels. The slot reels only display the results, they do not determine them. As a result, if there is a discrepancy between what the reels display and what the computer told the reels to display, what the computer says determines the outcome. In a patron dispute, Gaming Division employees can access a display of the computer's play history to determine the results of the last games played on the machine. Therefore, if you believe a slot machine has not paid out according to the payout display on the machine, you should not continue playing the machine. You should stop immediately and ask the casino to review the results. If not satisfied, you have the right to contact the Division of Gaming.


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Colorado Gaming Regulation 47.1-1256 reads: The person playing the slot machine is the only person who can receive the award from the slot machine. The (casino) must not give the award to another person, not even a relative. If more than one person is playing the slot machine, the award must be given to the person who put the first coin or credit into the slot machine.


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Old-time cheating methods such as stringing coins, using slugs or magnets, etc., do not work on modern slot machines, which have built-in devices to thwart such cheating methods. Attempting to cheat a machine is a felony under Colorado law.


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Claiming credits is considered a "fraudulent act" by Colorado gaming law, a class 1 misdemeanor for which you can be arrested. Further, Colorado Gaming Regulations read: If an award is abandoned in the tray or on the credit meter of the slot machine, the award becomes null and void and the property of the casino unless the person who originally won the award makes a claim for the award.


The casino is not responsible for watching your credits or coin buckets should you abandon them, you are. Always redeem your credits if you leave a machine, even for a minute. Claiming and theft are crimes of opportunity. Don't give a claimer or thief that opportunity.


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No law or regulation requires an identification to gamble in Colorado casinos. However, you must be able to prove that you are at least 21 years of age, and you may need a valid ID and Social Security card for federal tax purposes on jackpots of $1,200 or more.


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