People cheat at anything because they think they can get away with it, say experts in human psychology. Sometimes cheaters simply look for an easy score because they’re lazy. Some cheaters are actually inventors who relish the challenge of beating someone else’s machine. Some think they’re merely tipping the odds in their favor at casinos, since they figure that table games are set up always to benefit the house. However the cheaters might rationalize their motives or their sophisticated practices, cheating at slots means one thing only: Theft.
Just ask one of the biggest slot machine cheaters ever, a mechanically clever man by the name of Tommy. Profiled in 2007 in the “Slot Scoundrel” episode of the series “Breaking Vegas” on The History Channel, Carmichael has been cited as one of gambling’s greatest slots cheaters ever.
At the height of his nefarious career, Carmichael and his cohorts made thousands of dollars off cheating slot machines in Nevada, New Jersey and Connecticut. For his troubles, Carmichael was apprehended and eventually pleaded guilty to running a gambling theft ring. Today he lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he cares for his elderly mother and tries to convince the industry he once bilked that he has perfected a device to protect slot machines against thieves like him.
Slots are Big Business for Casinos and Cheaters
Casinos earn between 70 and 80 percent of their income from slot machine revenue. It’s estimated there may be more than 3 million slot machines in land-based gambling houses and on cruise ships worldwide, and more are being built and installed every day. So to casinos, cheating is a huge deal.
Law enforcement and casino security experts estimate that hundreds of millions of dollars have been stolen from slot machines. Nevada authorities alone say they’ve documented losses totaling $100 million, and they surmised that nearly 92% of slot machine cheaters get away with it.