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Friday, 07 October 2011 08:41

The Ultimate Nightmare: Slot Machine Malfunction

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Online slots are the antidote to my current recurring nightmare.

You’re sitting at a slot machine in a brightly-lit casino, using up the last of your pennies for the evening and watching the reels spin. Since you’re sobering up, you’re ignoring the slightly drunken passers-by, pressing the button and getting ready to go home when – oh, my GOD – you hit it. The magic symbols come up. JACKPOT!!! One million big ones!

But the bubble of happiness barely has time to start rising inside you when – oh, no! – something goes terribly wrong. The lights go out, or the slot machine makes a funny noise like a dying pigeon falling off its perch and then, the dreaded, deafening – silence.

Wildly, you look around but there is nobody you can blame, nothing you can do except call the casino manager over and watch in numb disbelief as he shakes his head and points to the little writing underneath the paytable that says ‘Malfunction voids all pays and plays’.

Ugh! Does anyone else dread this? I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to win all that money only to realise that you don’t get it after all. It isn’t such a far-fetched nightmare either; last month a Swiss man won €43m at an Austrian casino, only to be denied his payment after Casinos Austria claimed they discovered a software error. Last year, an American woman in Denver was told that machine malfunction invalidated her $42m payout.

A while ago I started playing online slots, and took great comfort in the fact that there are few – if any – reported incidences of malfunction. Sure, no computer is error-free and there is a risk of it freezing or shutting down, but there are independent auditing bodies that ensure the reliability of online results. Plus with all those free slot spins on offer can you really go wrong?

Has anyone ever heard of a slot machine malfunction? Have you ever had problems online?