Gambling no longer a game of chance

“..a Pennsylvania man is now crying foul after he got the short end of the stick in an unfortunate “mishap.” The retired carpenter, who had visited the Philadelphia Park casino before, dropped his two quarters into a Wheel of Fortune slot machine only to win $102,000 — or so he thought. The machine proudly conveyed his winnings right alongside his actual name, sending his emotions into a jovial whirlwind, but apparently the machine wasn’t exactly supposed to, you know, let people hit the jackpot, and now he’s fighting just to get his due reward. A spokesperson for the venue stated that it “was just an error in the communication system,” but added the mistake seems to have originated in the in-house computing system, not within the machine itself. The man was offered “two tickets to the buffet” (saywha?) and advised to read the disclaimer on the machine, nullifying any awards if the machine malfunctions, but he still feels that this “fault” is illegitimate.”  stolen from engadget.

if i’m reading this correctly, this begs the question: if a central computer is dictating which machines win and how much they pay out, is it any longer a game of chance?  does it then become a game of controlled loss? i mean odds are odds but is it still considered chance when a computer decides that it only pays out once every 3,409,403 times played and only 10% of what it takes in because that’s what statistics COULD dictate? if so, i’m in the wrong business.

2 thoughts on “Gambling no longer a game of chance”

  1. From what I’ve learned of this story from other sites, in this particular instance the punter didn’t win a jackpot from a spin. Instead, it’s some kind of promotional messaging application, where they can send a message direct to a machine at any time. This system malfunctioned. Sure, it sucks, but it seems like the casino had some semblance of legitimacy here.

    And by the way, electronic slot machines don’t spin the reels randomly — and certainly not independently — in any real statistical sense. In fact, there’s an internal setting where the owner can specify the target payout percentage: 98% or 95% or 85% or whatever. (100% would mean the machine paid out as much as it took in.) There’s logic in the machines that controls the spins to keep the actual payout percentage close to the target in the long run — which doesn’t preclude wins for an individual player in the short run, of course.

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