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Best of Alan Krigman
None of this, or anything like it, is true. Not because it's impossible to design a machine that could do any or all of these things. But because the casino industry is closely regulated, the state gaming commissions prohibit any such shenanigans, and violations of the restrictions could result in the offenders being heavily fined or losing their valuable operating licenses.
Here are examples of the regulations governing slot machines in Nevada. They're not much different in other jurisdictions.
Under this rule, arrangements of "elements which produce winning or losing game outcomes must be available for random selection at the initiation of each play." If the machine represents real elements - such as cards in poker or blackjack, balls in keno, or dice in craps - "the mathematical probability of a symbol or other element" in the slot outcome and the actual game must be equal. An illustration would be that a standard deck of 52 cards contains four aces; the chance of an ace as the first card dealt in a poker hand, real or in a video implementation, is 4/52 or 7.7 percent. If the machine doesn't portray an actual situation, say it's a four-reel slot, "the probability of a symbol appearing at a position in any game outcome must be constant." Here's an example: if the odds against a star appearing on the second reel are 20-to-1, the value is fixed when the machine is certified and can't be changed without going through a new approval procedure.
No modification of results after the initial random selection process is permitted, either. The rule stipulates that once an outcome is selected for a play, it is displayed directly. "The gaming device must not make a variable secondary decision which affects the result shown to the player."
Finally, the regulations prevent machines from artificially enforcing the law of averages. They can neither enter a hot mode - perhaps enabling or even scheduling a jackpot - after keeping too much money, nor go into a cold phase after paying out too much. This is achieved by forbidding "internal computation of the hold percentage" - the fraction of the money played that's kept by the house - then using such information to "alter pay tables or any function of the device."
Why do otherwise sophisticated solid citizens, folks who can carry two heaping platters to their tables at any casino buffet in town without dropping a single Swedish meatball on the floor, could hold such notions? Perhaps the poet laureate of the casino scene, Sumner A Ingmark, knew the answer when he wrote: