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Rodding Slot Scam
The "Rodding" slot machine scam cost the UK gaming industry a small fortune and was prevalent until a few years ago when slot manufacturers where urgently forced to change the entire way their slot machines operated to eradicate this scam.
Slot machines in the US have what are called hoppers inside them and these hold all the coins in the machine and they are also used to payout winnings, they do this by spinning
around and counting out the coins to enable a player to get their winnings quickly.
Hoppers are very reliable but are slightly more expensive to make than any other form of payout mechanism. In the UK slot manufacturers preferred to use the much cheaper option of using
tubes to hold and payout the coins.
When a coin is inserted into the slot machine coin acceptor on these UK machines it would simply roll into a tube if the tube was full the coin would then continue to roll and end up
falling down the back of the machine and would end up in the cashbox in the bottom of the machine.
The tubes would have at the bottom an assembly that allowed them to payout coins, this was simply a solenoid that had a plunger attached and the solenoid would pulse x amounts of times
when it was required to payout, this pulsing would force the plunger in and out and would simply force out of the tube a coin on every pulse.
So if for example the tube held one Pound coins and a player won ten Pounds the selonoid would pulse ten times and force out of the tube ten one pound coins. It was a very basic way
of getting a slot machine to
payout coins but was considerably cheaper than fitting hoppers to every machine.
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But its simplicity was its vulnerability, as it didn't take long for scamsters to latch onto the fact that they could manipulate the solenoid themselves.
What they had to do was to drill a very small hole in the wooden surround of the machine, they did this with either a small cordless drill or used a screwdriver to make a hole.
They would then insert into the hole a small rod, which they would place on the plunger and simply move it backwards and forwards, everytime they did they would force out a coin.
A coin tube can hold anywhere from 50 to 100 coins and with practice they could perfect this method and empty a machine of all its coins in less that 20 seconds.
They would then cover over the small hole in the side of the machine with a piece of dark colored tape which made it virtually impossible to spot. This slot scam cost operators
a fortune as slot machines in the UK are all over the place and it is impossible to keep a watch on the majority of them, and many are tucked away in corners of pubs, cafes and gas stations.
As a temporary fix the slot manufacturers made plates that would fit over the entire solenoid assembly thus making it impossible to access it. But this led the scamsters to work out
different ways of making them payout.
One way was for a small hole again to be drilled into the side of the machine, and the selonoid control box would be accessed and "shorted" out this would cause the solenoid to be
pulsed by touching both the + and - parts with a metal object,
for this a long screwdriver was used, and as a screwdriver has a plastic handle this would ensure the scamster never got an electric shock!
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This scam eventually forced the slot operators to stop making slot machines with tubes they then started using hoppers which gave a much better level of security.
Amazingly in a massive breach of security slot manufacturers would sell new machines complete with a set of keys to allow operators to obviously access the machines for servicing or
emptying them of there cash.
But what they did again, to save on costs was to issue the same key and lock assembly on every machine they sold. Slot operators would then simply take delivery of the machine fill
them up with cash and turn them on
With one key therefore opening every machine it wasn't long before rogue sets of keys fell into the hands of thieves, who would simply find a machine tucked away from the view of
anyone then open it up and help themselves to the contents!
This penny pinching way of thinking ended up costing slot operators a fortune, and resulted in all new machines being sold with unique keys, a very simple solution but one
that saved them a fortune in the long run.
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