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HOME > > Ask the Slot Expert: Slot machines with disabled bet buttons

Ask the Slot Expert: Slot machines with disabled bet buttons

17 April 2024

By John Robison

Question: We have slot machines that have 30-cent, 60-cent, 90-cent, $1.50 and $3.00 buttons but only the 60-cent and $3.00 buttons work. Is that machine legal?

Answer: This is one of those questions where I wish the writer had given more details about location. I suspect that the machines are not in a casino but in a bar or other location that the jurisdiction allows to have a limited number of machines.

It's also necessary to know what state the writer is in. Even though most regulations are based on Mississippi's, which are based on New Jersey's, which are based on Nevada's, some states allow things that others don't.

I've never seen a machine in a casino that displays a betting option and doesn't have it available.

Well, maybe that's not entirely true. I'm pretty sure that I have seen bet buttons dark or grayed out when I didn't have enough credits on a machine to make that bet. That follows one of the principals of good User Interface design: Design your interface so users can't make a mistake or do something they shouldn't do. I would have checked out credit-disabled buttons when I was in the casino this morning, but I just thought of it.

Disabling due to credits, in any event, isn't the case with your machines. One available option is in the middle and the other is at the top. The available options don't start at the bottom and work their way up.

I checked Nevada's regulations. I couldn't find anything that addressed disabled bet buttons or forcing players to bet more per spin by disabling a minimum-bet button.

I checked online to see if I could find any posts about machines with disabled bet buttons. The only posts I found were from people with machines at home who made some sort of a change to the machines and now their Bet-One buttons don't work.

To finally answer your question, are the machines legal?

Dunno for sure. It depends on where you're located and where the machines are located.

I don't think they should be allowed, but I'm having a hard time coming up with a justification for that position.

Regulations are designed to ensure that players are getting a fair shake at an unfair game. Your machines are still presumably choosing results at random; the outcome chosen by the RNG is the outcome displayed on the reels; and every outcome displayed on the paytable is possible at all of the enabled bet options.

Being denied half of the displayed betting options doesn't affect the fairness of the allowed options. My best justification for disallowing the machines is that it smacks of bait-and-switch. You may have sat down at the machine ready to risk 30 cents per spin, but you're forced to bet twice that.

Even though I don't like it, all in all, I suspect that these machines are probably not violating any regulations.

If you would like to see more non-smoking areas on slot floors in Las Vegas, please sign my petition on change.org.

On my way down the stairs from the parking garage to the casino at The Suncoast this morning, I noticed that the air was particularly malodorous. It was much worse than the usual olfacotry assault when you pass from the relatively clean air outside to the slightly smoky air in the casino.

I found the cause when I got to the bottom of the steps. Two rows in were two gentlemen smoking cigars.

There's a No pipe or cigar smoking. No vaping. sign at the entrance to Suncoast's new high limit room. Too bad they don't have the same sign for the casino floor in general. I can't tell you how many times banks of machines were unplayable to me and my friends because of a cigar smoker nearby.

Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at slotexpert@slotexpert.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

Copyright © John Robison. Slot Expert and Ask the Slot Expert are trademarks of John Robison.

John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming's leading publications. Hear John on "The Good Times Radio Gaming Show," broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoons. You can listen to archives of the show online anytime.

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