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How Do Mechanical Slots Work?

How Do Mechanical Slots Work?

In an era where digital technology dominates, the charm and nostalgia of mechanical slot machines continue to captivate players and collectors alike. These machines, with their tangible moving parts and mechanical operation, offer a unique gaming experience that is markedly different from the computer-driven slots we see today. 

This article will delve into the fascinating world of mechanical slots, their randomness, the possibility of manipulating them for a win, and a comparison with their modern digital counterparts. 

How Do Mechanical Slot Machines Work?

Mechanical slot machines, also known as one-armed bandits, are a remarkable combination of intricate mechanical components. Unlike modern slots that heavily depend on computer software and random number generators, these machines operate using tangible moving parts. 

These components comprise a metal shaft that supports the reels, a braking system that halts the spinning reels, sensors that collaborate with the payout system, and a coin detector that registers when a bet is placed and allows the lever to be pulled. 

The machine's outcome is determined by whether the symbols match on a payline. If the symbols on a line match, that is considered a win, and the player receives a payout. 

The Interplay of Kicker and Stoppers

Mechanical slot machines feature devices called "kickers" and "stoppers", which play a significant role in their operation. The three reels on the central shaft are also equipped with three notched discs. A second shaft supports the slot kicker, a device made up of three paddles that intersect with and push against the disc notches. 

This second shaft also supports several connected stoppers, which protrude into the disc notches. The kicker and stoppers are linked to springs, which hold them in a "standby" position. When the handle is pulled, these components are released until they come to a stop, and the reels display that spin's results. 

Are Mechanical Slot Machines Random?

Mechanical slot machines utilise a clock-like mechanism to delay the catching of the reels after the lever is pulled and they begin spinning. This mechanism slowly ticks a hook back towards the reels, which results in the reels coming to a stop and displaying the outcome. 

Given the clock-like mechanism would wind the hook further back depending on the speed of the lever being pulled, this was deemed to be random enough for mechanical slot machines at the time. 

Are Digital Slots More Random Than Mechanical Slots?

The randomness of modern slot machines is governed by a computer that notifies the reels when to stop. This computer is equipped with a Random Number Generator (RNG) that ensures the randomness of outcomes. The RNG, a chip inside the slot machine, constantly generates random number sequences, even when the machine is not in use. As long as the slot is on, millions of number sequences are generated every second. 

When the Spin button is pushed, the RNG stops on the random number sequence generated at that instant. This then presents itself as a combination of symbols when the reels stop spinning. 

Given the fact that the mechanical slot machine would react to the speed of the lever being pulled, it gave players some level of control over the outcome. Whereas, modern digital slots use an RNG that doesn't take any external factors into account in its operation, meaning it offers more random results than mechanical slot machines. 

Can Mechanical Slots Be Tricked?

All throughout their existence, there have been people who have tried to seek out ways to trick or cheat slot machines. Even to this day, with all of the modern and intricate security systems and features in place, some still try to find a way to trick the slot machines. 

But has it ever been possible? Let's take a further look. 

Mobile Phone Slot Machine Cheats

Over the years, numerous rumours have circulated about people claiming to have cheated on a slot machine. However, the advent of the RNG, which generates all outcomes, has made it virtually impossible to cheat a slot machine. 

One of the methods that have been attempted includes hacking a slot with a mobile phone using specific apps, Bluetooth devices to manipulate the results of a spin, and mobile phone jammers to disrupt wireless signals. However, none of these methods have been proven to work. 

Cheating Slot Machines With a Magnet

In older slot machines, people could cheat using a magnet due to its mechanical operation with metal parts. Cheaters would spin the reels and then place a strong magnet on the machine to manipulate the reels into a win. However, this method is no longer possible with modern slots, as they operate electronically. 

Do Fruit Machines Have Cheat Codes?

No, slot machines do not have cheat codes. There is no sequence of buttons or actions that a player can use to trigger a win on fruit machines. 

EMP Slot Machine Jammer Apps & Devices

Mobile phone jammers are devices that disrupt wireless signals. It is believed that they can interfere with the slot machine's signals, potentially giving the player an advantage. However, using these apps and devices is strongly discouraged as cheating goes against a casino's terms and conditions. If caught, the player could face severe penalties, including expulsion and banning from the casino. 

Also, these have not yet been found to be successful, yet you can still be punished for attempting to cheat. 

Are Mechanical Slots Better Than Digital Slots?

In terms of gameplay, the choice between mechanical and digital slots ultimately boils down to the personal preference of the player. If you love the feel of old-school fruit machines, you may prefer mechanical slot machines. However, if you prefer playing the latest slot games with complex designs and features, then digital slots may be worth considering. 

However, from the casino's perspective, digital slots are far better than mechanical. They have greater security features, require less maintenance, and can offer numerous different slot games in a single unit, which makes them appeal more to players and can lead to more money for the casino. 

Whichever you choose to play, the most important thing is to gamble responsibly. Slot machines are games of chance, and winning is never guaranteed. So, set a budget and stick to it. 


Mechanical slot machines may have been almost entirely replaced by digital iterations, but their contribution to the evolution of the casino industry cannot be overstated. These machines, with their intricate mechanics and tangible operation, paved the way for the advanced, computer-driven slots we see today. 

Whether you're a fan of the old-school charm of mechanical slots or the modern appeal of digital ones, there's no denying that both offer unique gaming experiences in their own right. As technology continues to advance, who knows what the future holds for the world of slot machines

As mentioned before, please gamble responsibly. Only bet money you are comfortable losing, and never chase your losses.