Defcon 2006: Casinos could be losing millions to slot machine hackers

Las Vegas (NV) - For some slot machine cheaters, a simple push of a remote control can empty a slot machine in seconds. These remote controls have been available to criminals for a few years, but now a small company in Florida is selling these devices to help casinos fight back against cheaters. "Jack" and "Mike" from Jackpotters talked with TG Daily and described how the small devices work and how much money casinos are losing.

The pair wanted to keep a low profile and didn't want to give their last names. Despite this, we interviewed Jack and Mike right in the middle of the Riviera casino, amidst the ringing and clanging of slot machines. The pair had originally wanted to give a speech at Defcon, but didn't want to raise the wrath of the casinos and gambling officials. Jack added that the mere possession of a cheating device could be a crime in Nevada. sells their "Remote Jackpotter" that sends a spoofed coin-counter signal when a button is pressed. The signal tricks the slot machine into thinking that no coins are dropping. Normally, the button would be pushed to make already dropping coins continue to drop.

Jack told us the device works with a variety of slot machines around the world and that a machine can be emptied in seconds. While it may sound irresponsible to sell such a device, Jack says these machines have been sold for several years to criminals and organized crime. He adds his company doesn't want to sell to cheaters, but to casinos to prevent cheating.

We want to add that it's hard to verify if the devices actually work because we were only shown a video of the device apparently working as advertised. Jack and Mike weren't carrying the device and couldn't give us a live demonstration.

Some of Jackpotters biggest customers are the small stores that only have two to three slot machines. Big casinos, like the Riviera, could probably absorb a fair amount of cheating losses, but the small "mom and pop" stores as Jack calls them are often hurt badly by cheaters.

But can just anyone order the Remote Jackpotter? Jack didn't say if he takes any identifying information or if he tries to verify credentials, but he does tell potential cheaters that try to order the device that, "This is not intended for illegal purposes, this is intended for customer owned machines."

Audio Download: TG Daily chats with about slot machine vulnerabilities. Running time 11 Minutes 53 Seconds - 9.8 MB