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Casino “Codes”

The unwritten rules that respectful gamblers must keep in mind

By Frank Scoblete


If someone is playing a machine, it’s the height of discourtesy to ask, “Are you almost finished playing that machine? I want to play it now. You’ve been playing it for a really long time. Can’t you give someone else a turn?”

Casino “Codes”

In baseball, there are many “unwritten codes” that are supposed to be followed by the ballplayers. Some examples: if your team is destroying the other team, your base runners are not to steal bases. Don’t rub the area of your body where you were hit by a pitch; doing so shows you are not manly. Pitchers are not to scold fielders who make mistakes, even if those mistakes cost the team runs. Fielders are also not to scold pitchers for making mistakes that cost the team runs. Players are not to walk across the other team’s pitching mound, as that shows disrespect for the other team’s pitcher. And so on.

In the world of slot machines, there are also “unwritten codes” at work—and indeed, there are some actual laws on the books as well.

If someone is playing a machine, it’s the height of discourtesy to ask, “Are you almost finished playing that machine? I want to play it now. You’ve been playing it for a really long time. Can’t you give someone else a turn?”

And you should never ask a stranger, “Are you winning money? Yeah, really? How much?”  Because that is uncouth. Speaking of winning money, when someone steps in to replace you at a machine and hits a jackpot, it is against slot protocol to scream, “You just stole my jackpot!”

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This not only rude, but illogical. As a Strictly Slots reader, you should know that the lightning speed of the machine’s internal Random Number Generator means that it’s impossible for a person to walk up to the machine that you just left, and win “your” jackpot. (In the span of time between you quitting, and the next person starting to play, the RNG has cycled through millions of outcomes.)

What if there’s a sign on a machine that says it’s reserved—perhaps for someone who has gone to the bathroom after many hours of play? Is it your right to demand to be able to play the machine? Yes, it is. Still, doing this is considered to be very bad manners. Players should honor other slot players’ reserved machines—because someday, you might want to go to the bathroom and keep your machine.

If you see someone walk away from a machine and inadvertently not cash out his or her credits, what is your responsibility? Simple: you are morally obligated to let that person know such an oversight has just taken place: “Sir (or Madam), you still have credits in that machine.” You are not to play those person’s credits. That is stealing.

Interestingly, the law comes into play here—but in an unusual way. If there are unclaimed credits on a machine and no one comes to rightfully claim them, the credits belong to the casino—not the person who noticed those credits and reported it.

What if you were to find a slot machine pay slip on the floor? Is that like finding coins on the sidewalk? Can you consider that slot machine pay slip as now belonging to you? The answer is no, sorry, those pay slips belong to the casino. In fact, all unclaimed money—credits in machines, pay slips on the floor, and coins in the coin tray—belong to the casino.

In the good old days (it’s startling that I now refer to time periods I lived through as the “old days”), when slot machines actually used the coins—including silver dollars in the dollar machines—there were people called “silver miners” who would go from machine to machine looking for left-over coins.  Many of these miners would not just go from machine to machine, but from casino to casino. There were even “optimum hours” to do such mining.

One silver miner I met in the dim and distant past, known as “Fuzzy,” would go between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. and then again at 5 a.m. to scour the casino’s machines for coins. The 6/7 p.m. time period would see machines suddenly free,  due to people rushing off to dinner or to get ready for dinner. Coins would often be left in the trays because the players did not do a good job of scooping them all up.

At 5 a.m. the players, often staggeringly drunk, would wobble off into the night, leaving whole trays of coins available for mining operations. The silver miners could make a killing due to these oversights—even though in the eyes of the casino, it is illegal.

In every sport, there are the rules—and then there are a separate set of unwritten guidelines that the players follow out of respect for their fellow players. It is best to obey them.

Frank Scoblete, America’s #1 gaming author, has new books you should check out. They include Casino Craps: Shoot to Win! and Beat Blackjack Now! Both are available from, in your favorite bookstores, or by calling 1-800-944-0406. Frank’s web sites are and For a free brochure call: 1-800-944-0406.

Casino “Codes”.


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