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The top 5 biggest cheaters at land-based casinos in history

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The world’s most famous cheaters of land-based casino slots throughout the years, from ‘Alex’ to Tommy Glenn Carmichael.

The gambling industry is a wonderful place full of marvel, mystery and mega jackpot winnings. It is also a place filled with rules, requirements, and wins based on chance rather than own accord.

We’re taking a look at some of the most famous cheaters that manage to change their fate and conquer slot machines in land-based casinos over the years.

Top 5 big slot machine cheaters

‘Alex’ – The Russian Hacker

Alex, a Russian mathematician, and programmer became known for targeting casinos, hacking slots and making millions from these machines. Alex is perhaps one of the most famous slot hackers of all time who instead of getting caught, chose to quit after 8 years of hacking.

They essentially built a venture dedicated to reverse engineering algorithms, commonly known as pseudorandom number generators (PRNG). These allowed him to predict when games were going to payout. Instead of hacking big pay-out games, they opted for smaller games, as to not raise suspicion.

Alex and his team could ultimately travel from casino to casino and rake in about $250,000 a week. The hacker believes this system acts as a counterweight to the general house edge and does not violate Russian laws.

At the time of his grand exit, Alex struck a deal with Aristocrat, an Australian slot machine manufacturer, who happened to be one of his biggest targets. The deal shows them their slot vulnerabilities, removes the target from their back and also got Alex an unspecified payment.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael – The Slot Rig

Tommy is another popular slot machine cheater who made use of devices like a ‘light wand’ and ‘monkey’s paw’ to get millions out of casinos.

Tommy has stolen millions of dollars from casinos over the past two decades simply by looking at the best possible way to rig the slot machine. One way was to use the slider/monkey’s paw. It was a wire he would simply insert via the payout chute to trip the microswitch.

This method tricked the machine into releasing the jackpot.

Of course, with the improvements in technology, there had to be improvements in his techniques. So, the next thing he came up with was the light wand which was essentially a camera battery and a small light bulb. This would blind the slot machine’s sensor and trick it into spitting out coins.

With these inventions, he managed to get machines to spit out thousands of coins a day. His fun was cut short in 2001 when the FBI caught on and he was sentenced to nearly a year in prison.

Ron Harris – Jackpot Hack

Back in the 90’s Ron Harris, a software designer for the Nevada Gaming Control Board decided to go against his job description. Harris was a software engineer who was supposed to be writing anti-cheating software - but instead chose to write code to help his accomplices hit huge jackpots.

The jackpots were automatically triggered when coins were inserted in a certain sequence. Harris got caught when an accomplice went off-script trying to rig a keno machine in Atlantic City. Harris got 7 years in prison.

Louis Colavecchio – The Coin

Louis Colavecchio was dubbed ‘The Coin’ for his notorious counterfeiting. This con artist was incredibly skilled and managed to fabricate slot machine coins to win thousands of dollars at Vegas Casinos. He raked in the winnings without ever actually betting any real money.

He eventually got caught with 750 pounds of fake slot machine coins in his car and, in 1997, received a 27-month prison sentence.

John Kane – The Bug of Luck

John Kane is a lucky player who managed to rake in $500,000 after discovering a glitch in slot machines. This glitch enabled him to play a winning hand repeatedly.

He exploited this bug in machines across the country, only with different base wagers. Eventually, officials caught on and Kane was arrested.

However, with no evidence of hacking or conspiracy, Kane walked free.

It just goes to show, it may be the easy way out but crime doesn’t pay in the long run.

Published: October 12, 2021

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Article by Stelly

CasinoWow Contributor

Hey there! I am Stelly, and happily, I'm part of CasinoWow's content team. It excites me to be able to write and share with all gambling enthusiasts unbiased reviews and news that contribute to the gambling community and industry. Thankfully, I also have the chance to help you make an informed choice for casino brands and games, as well as provide interesting guides and news.

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