As I understand it, the manufacturer of the slot machine is on the hook for any progressive jackpot the machine pays out.

Given that modern day slot machines use a random number generator (and knowing a few things about how RNGs are not quite random enough), is the manufacturer aware of when a particular machine will hit the jackpot?

If the manufacturer is aware, is it because the machine itself notifies them in some fashion or are they aware because they can simply model the results in some simulator?


I recall watching a Travel Channel show about slot machine gambling a few years ago. They mentioned that when somebody wins one of these progressive jackpots that the manufacturer is notified by the machine. They also mentioned that the manufacturer and casino have an agreement where the manufacturer provides the machines for free or a nominal cost in exchange for a cut of the revenue the machine takes in. They also said that the manufacturer pays out the jackpot. During the show, one of the casino managers was interviewed on the floor and he seemed to know (or feel, I'm not sure) that the jackpot was going to be hit very soon. Sometime during the show, I recall the jackpot was paid out. Honestly I don't know if the show was dramatizing the manager's knowledge. Unfortunately, I don't have any references at this time and I'll have to look for them after work.

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    I'd like to see a citation for the first sentence. "the manufacturer of the slot machine is on the hook for any jackpot the machine pays out." It seems to me either a manufacturer could make machines, pay casinos rent and accept the difference between payin and payout; or a casino could buy or lease machines and the casino bears the gambling P/L. But the latter just seems easier...
    – Paul
    Apr 11 '12 at 3:07
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    In the case of the one-arm bandit there should be some mechanical influence on the outcome, making it not just a pseudo-random result. I agree with @Paul that a citation to display the notability of this claim would be very nice. As it stands, it looks like just an idea you came up with. I would be surprised that such a notification before the jackpot would be even legal, or the use of only a PRNG without any external influence. Apr 11 '12 at 9:57
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    They absolutely do not know. The machines in use nowadays generate their numbers randomly using seeds from nano-second timers. So even if somebody hit the jackpot on the machine you just left on their very first spin in no way means that you would have won if you spun just one more time, unless you pressed the SPIN button at the exact nanosecond the other person did (virtually impossible). Also, common sense tells you that if they knew, then it is a no-brainer that they would exploit that knowledge to their advantage, so it has to be impossible for them to know.
    – Dunk
    Apr 11 '12 at 22:24
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    Additionally, any random number generator used on slot machines must be certified by the state that they are truly random and not tamperable. I believe they can prove the truly random part using mathematical analysis. The not tamperable part is harder to prove but a high degree of confidence can be obtained.
    – Dunk
    Apr 11 '12 at 22:29
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    Each jurisdiction varies on what sort of contracts are allowed. Indian casinos are subject to different rules than Nevada casinos which are different from other jurisdictions like say South Dakota Video Lottery or Atlantic Lottery Corp (in Canada). There isn't just one sort of contract. I wrote software for casino gaming machines and casino control systems for over 10 years. There is no way of predicting jackpot, the way the random number generators are managed and the way the machines are tested would preclude that from being possible.
    – Dan Haynes
    Apr 12 '12 at 22:01

It doesn't seem to be specifically forbidden, but only if the jackpot is fully deterministic, which would seem unwise.

The Nevada Gaming Statutes regulating slot machines state that the machine is allowed to communicate only for certain purposes:

  1. Remote access to a gaming device may only be granted for the following activities:

(a) Monitoring system health and performance;

(b) Scheduling operational gaming device functions such as downloading of content;

(c) Troubleshooting system issues;

(d) Performing inquiry-only functions such as viewing logs or generating reports

(e) Any other activity that is approved by the Chairman.

It could be argued that "system health and performance" could include the complete internal state of the machine. If the play were fully deterministic, that would seem to allow for the scenario you propose. But although software-based pseudo-random-number-generators (wikipedia) are deterministic, the results of the machine could be (and it would seem foolish not to) "salted" with impossible-to-predict inputs such as the millisecond at which the coin was dropped or the button pushed or what-have-you.

The random number generator itself is not allowed to be externally manipulated:

  1. The random number generator and random selection process must be impervious to influences from outside the device, including, but not limited to, electro-magnetic interference, electro-static interference, and radio frequency interference. A gaming device must use appropriate communication protocols to protect the random number generator and random selection process from influence by associated equipment which is conducting data communications with the gaming device. (Adopted: 9/89. Amended: 11/05; 11/17/05)

I'm not an expert on this subject but I still feel this is just a myth. According to a famous book "The Art of Intrusion" by Kevin Mitnick, See Chapter 1 here, Nevada Gaming Commission, a governmental agency involved in the regulation of casinos throughout the state, which is responsible for administering regulations, granting licenses and ruling on disciplinary matters brought before it by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. A simple common sense says that if US (Nevada) has such governing body, then other countries (at least those where gambling is legal) also must have these type of government department for the safeguard of the players.

I have read about how such organization works and don't think that what you are saying is possible in any way. A special team of highly skilled programmers and architects do a thorough analysis of the assembly code (the code is a random number generator module) before the casino gets the licenses to buy a new machine.

However what may be possible is that, since manufacturer continues to use the same hardware/code combination for a long period of time, because of some obvious reason (see the quote from the book below), casino owner can easily figure out logic of RNG with the help of any one, or a combination, of a computer engineer, or a mathematician or the manufacturer itself.

Extract from the book

"Whenever a casino wants to buy a machine of a new design, the Las Vegas Gaming Commission has to study the programming and make sure it's designed so the payouts will be fair to the players. Getting a new design approved can be a lengthy process, so casinos tend to hold on to the older machines longer than you would expect. For the team, an older machine seemed likely to have outdated technology, which they hoped might be less sophisticated and easier to attack."

Hope this has helped !!!

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