What Does it Mean When a Slot Machine Tilts?

Tilt in slot machines is when an electromechanical switch is triggered when the machine is tilted, tampered with, or has an internal fault condition. Although modern slot machines no longer have tilt switches, any other technical fault is still referred to as tilt.

The control programs within a slot machine are set to recognize and report the error codes to a slot monitoring system. In addition, it will also render the machine into an unplayable status otherwise recognized as tilt.

The game error codes that may result in a slot machine going in tilt mode are, but not limited to;

What Does it Mean When a Slot Machine Tilts?
  • Stacker removed
  • Game memory malfunction
  • Power Outage
  • Stacker door open
  • External doors open, i.e. main, drop, and belly doors
  • Hopper errors
  • Authentication mismatch/ program error
  • Reel motor failure

Unless the control programs manage to restore the slot machine to its original state as it was prior to its malfunction, it shall prevent the machine from being operational until the error is resolved.

How do you know a slot machine is in tilt?

In Nevada alone, there are more than 209,000 operating daily, throughout the week. Slot machine malfunction or tilt is therefore not a too rare phenomenon. As aforementioned, malfunction may stem from a variety of reasons. But how do you recognize a machine that has malfunctioned or one that is in tilt state?

It is a requirement by the gaming regulatory board for each slot machine to have a tower light, often located on the machine’s cabinet. It is a pre-requisite that the light tower be visible to both the player and the surveillance department from all sides.

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The purpose of the power light is to identify the operation status of the slot machine and that of the peripherals connected thereto that may affect its operation. The light tower is also used to identify the slot’s machine default denomination.

Once the slot machine tilts, it will neither accept any more coins nor will it play the existing credit. Furthermore, the lights on the cabinet will flash and the machine is likely to display an error code or number. Following these, the reels are likely to stop briefly, then rotate slowly. There can also be an on-screen indication of the problem such as ‘hopper empty call attendant’. This can happen when you cash out your credits and the hopper runs out of coins.

If you happen to be a player and notice that the slot machine has malfunctioned, immediate action would be to call a casino employee to help resolve the issue.

What Happens to my balance if the slot machine tilts?

How fast the issue of balance in a malfunctioned slot machine is resolved will be dependent on how serious the ’tilt’ is. If the Hopper had read empty, you will resume playing as soon as the staff refills the hopper and closes the door. Hence, such is only a simple error.

There are, however, some slot machine tilt cases that may take more time as they are more serious.

Before the modern slots were introduced, slot cheats would use the ‘stringing’ technique to cheat casinos. They would tie a string to a coin, use it to play and then pull it out again. This would allow them to use the same coin repetitively until they won.

Modern slots machines now have an inbuilt sensor that would immediately recognize if a coin was pulled out from the same path it came through. This triggers the slot machine to automatically tilt and stop working.

For the machine to resume playing, the casino staff has to open up the machine and press the reset button. This would be to acknowledge the cheating attempt. At this point, I doubt if anybody would be standing anywhere close to that slot machine. Not after a failed cheating attempt.

In case of any error, the staff will be notified and will work to resolve the issue. Once the problem has been fixed, the machine is supposed to be reset. The reset is to simply acknowledge that the error was identified and that corrective measures were taken.

The employee number is also recorded from the employee card that was inserted. This would be for future reference in case a complaint was lodged.

Once the slot machine has been reset and the door closed, it goes to ‘post error’ state which is the point where it had reached. The issue is further discussed below.

Slot Machine will Return to the Post Error state After it Has Been Reset

The gaming experience of a particular slot machine will not change after its problem has been fixed, and the machine reset. This is contrary to what most people believe that you are unlikely to win after the casino staff has opened up the machine.

The machine will resume straight from where it was before it recorded the malfunction or tilt. This is because the machine will preserve its status before it malfunctions/tilts and displays the error code.

Slot machine control programs are basically responsible for the fundamental game operations. These include executable programs, random number generation, game outcomes, game meters, and communication protocols among others.

Control programs have the capability to store and recall the past 10 games. The history includes the game outcomes, available credits, wagers placed, as well as coins/credits awarded. It is the same control program that prevents the slot machine from being operational after a tilt and is designed to notify the patron with an error message when the machine malfunctions.

Will I be denied a Jackpot Payment if the Slot Machine Tilts?

Every slot machine result is entirely dependent on the Randomly Generated Numbers mechanism which ensures that each result is not dependent on the previous ones. Sometimes, a player may pull on the handle, and as the machine is in the process of Randomly Generating numbers, fails to complete the random selection process; hence, reverting to tilt mode.

Mostly for engineering purposes, some slot machines are set to stop briefly in the ‘jackpot position’. As the reels momentarily stop at the jackpot position before proceeding into a slow spin, it can cause some players to believe that they’ve won.

It is because of this that most players are denied jackpot payment after the slot machine they were using malfunctions or tilts.

To clear this misunderstanding, slot machine manufacturers are now changing the stop location to other than the jackpot alignment.

According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, there are some steps you should take if you believe that you won a jackpot before the machine malfunctioned. You should;

  • First, contact a casino employee
  • If they dispute your claim, you should go ahead to telephone the Gaming Control Board Enforcement Division. An agent will be sent to help arbitrate the dispute.
  • If the dispute exceeds $500 and cannot be settled, then the casino is supposed to notify the Gaming Control Board.

Final Thought

Brick and mortar establishments are the first thing to click to our minds whenever we speak of slots or casinos. However, with the recent increase in the number of online casinos, there has been a remarkable shift of players to the online platform.

In addition to the convenience of accessing your favorite casino at any time, you can rest assured that a slot machine tilt is the last thing you would expect in an online setting.

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