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Insider Viewpoint of Las Vegas . . . #1 Informational Guide of Las Vegas
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March 1999 Article

Exclusively Found in the Insider Viewpoint of Las Vegas

By: Frank Rosenthal

One early afternoon on a hot summer day as I’m patrolling the casino, I noticed an unlikely duo heading my way. A friend of mine walking side by side with a notorious slot scammer who was barred from many casinos on the strip including the Stardust. My first inclination was to alert security and prepare them for a quick hard way 86.

The friend sensed my mood and increased his pace toward me as the bandit lagged slightly behind. "Frank, hold it up, this fellow is here to help, all he’s asking for is a few minutes of your time." "Okay, what’s on your mind."

This particular young man was no ordinary slot thief, he was a member of the most sophisticated slot crews that cruised the entire state of Nevada, via their own private Lear Jet, to the tune of several million annually. They were capable of ripping the slots for huge scores. They worked in teams, disguised and unobtrusive. That was their game, and they knew it better than anyone on the inside, including the manufacturers.

Just about any casino was fair game unless they felt that the punishment didn’t fit the crime. The Stardust had a reputation for dealing its own form of justice if we could determine that we were up against professional thieves as opposed to the ordinary player looking for an advantage. Suckers attempting to beat the casino happens on a regular basis and goes with the territory! I listened closely as the slot whiz informed me that his luck had run out. He was nervous and appeared hopeful that I would be willing to stake him with getaway money to leave the state. He mentioned that his very life was in jeopardy, he was busted and had a falling out with his gang.

He was asking for $1000.00 for showing me and providing me the necessary safeguards for the entire casino of slots. He asked me to pick out any slot of my choice, any row, any bank, denomination didn’t matter. He claimed that he could empty the "hopper", where they store all the coins until they’re counted every 24 hours, given 15 seconds without opening the machine.

At first I hesitated, then looked to my friend who said, "Frank, he can do it." At the time I was the number 3 man in the casino and would need approval for both the experiment and the reward.

He looked at his watch and politely mentioned that he only had a few hours left to make a safe departure. I quickly contacted my immediate supervisor who agreed with me, let’s take a shot, there was no downside. The 4 of us circled the casino as I softly said to Bobby,

"You make the call, which machine is it going to be?" "No Frank, it’s your call." We gathered in an obscure location of the casino where it was less likely for customers to be. I pointed to a quarter machine in a bank of about 20. "It’s all yours. You’ve got 20 seconds." He finished in 15 and the coins were coming out rapidly.

He nailed the "Jackpot" with 2 short wires. We all looked at each other in amazement. Pretty cool, we agreed. I had him try one more, same results; the machine was spitting out coins faster then you might imagine. The flashing lights were blinking, the hopper was empty. He showed us how it worked and why. While all slot machines are equipped with anti-cheating devices, these fellows were one-step ahead of the largest nationwide manufacturer of slot machines. We walked over to the casino cage, signed a voucher for 1000 bucks and sent the desperado on his way. He performed quite well and we kept our end of the agreement.

We notified Bally manufacturing who was located in Chicago and they quickly dispersed 2 senior technicians, one of which held a PhD in science and engineering. When they arrived, we showed them exactly what we had witnessed. It took us about 30 seconds to simulate coins, chimes, bells and lights firing away without opening the machine nor using a coin. The senior engineer didn’t seem to be stunned. I recall his comments. "Gentlemen, all systems can be compromised, we thank you for your help and input." "Just give us a few days, the machines will be fine."

He was right; all of our machines were refitted with an anti cheating device for that particular caper. That’s the way it was in the city of sin not that many years ago. Probably still is!

Stay tuned… next month’s story will have something for everyone, maybe it will contain information more than some people may want known.

Frank Rosenthal


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