Slot machine

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Slot machine hall of Wiesbaden Casino (2013)
Magdeburg Casino (2016)

A slot machine is a screen- based device that originally worked mechanically, later electromechanically and now mostly electronically , which starts a game after inserting a coin , entering a banknote or a valuable ticket, the result of which is determined by chance and player activity.

The motives for playing are entertainment and the hope of winning. Commercial beneficiaries of the machine are usually the operator as well as the state, which - provided it is legally installed equipment - receives a not inconsiderable part of the profit as entertainment , sales tax or casino tax .

Meaning of the term

Pinball machine

In Germany, the term “slot machines” is usually used to refer to gaming machines within the meaning of Section 33c of the Industrial Code (GewO), as they may be set up in restaurants and gaming halls . However, the meaning of the term is partly also broader:

In casinos , the slot machine game is often referred to as a "small game" in contrast to the "big game", which includes classic games of chance such as roulette and blackjack .

Game flow

Video slot machine with 5 reels, 3 visible symbols each and 5 paylines

Although program -controlled slot machines, which today are almost without exception screen-based, can have very complex game processes (including classic casino games such as blackjack , poker and roulette ), most slot machines basically follow their electromechanical models: A game includes the run of 3 to 6 reels, each marked with a symbol for each stop position. Due to the size of a viewing window, the symbols for a certain number of stopping positions are displayed for each roller. Game sequences with 5 reels, with 3 symbols each, i.e. H. the symbols of 3 stop positions can be seen. Usually three or more matching symbols lead to a win, as long as they start at the left edge and lie continuously on straight or otherwise suggestive lines.

Many slot machines have a jackpot system. Usually it is a "progressive jackpot", in which a jackpot counter is increased in small steps in order to pay out the accumulated value when a certain event occurs ("jackpot trigger"). In casinos, several devices are usually even connected to a common jackpot system ( LAN progressive machines , i.e. local-area network progressive machines as opposed to stand-alone progressive machines ), with a predetermined percentage of the stake being transferred to the central jackpot counter in order to Winning event to pay out this cumulative amount as a prize at a participating slot machine. Such a jackpot system can be limited to a single casino, but can also function across casinos ( WAP machines , i.e. wide-area progressive machines ), e.g. B. over an entire federal state as with the Bayern jackpot . The current status of jackpots is now usually published on the Internet for advertising purposes. A standardization for progressive jackpots is available with the specification GLI-12 .

Cashout ticket (sample) as used in casinos

The payout of the winnings achieved on a slot machine takes place classically in the form of coins from corresponding payout units, so-called "hoppers", today also in the form of banknotes from "banknote recyclers" or by manual payment by the supervisory staff. At least in casinos today, payments are largely cashless in the form of credit tickets ("TiTo": ticket in, ticket out). After pressing the payout button, the device prints out a ticket on which the prize amount is printed. This voucher in the size of a US dollar can then be used instead of a bill for the game on another device (within the same casinos), or on a return exchange machine be converted to cash. Hand withdrawals are only required in American casinos for winnings over $ 1199, as a higher profit is taxable.

The first online casinos were launched in 1990 and have been offering online slot machines ever since .

Regulation and statistical analysis

Like other games of chance , slot machines and their operation are subject to extensive legal regulations that differ depending on the legal system and location of the machine installation. Based on such regulations, especially those for casinos, the Gaming Laboratories International LLC compiled a compilation of technical requirements in the form of the technical standard GLI-11 , which can serve as the basis for a test and a certificate created for it by an accredited test center . The requirements relate both to technical security (protection against manipulation, changes and malfunctions, for example after a voltage interruption), as well as to transparency towards the gaming audience and the financial and supervisory authorities .

Part of the requirements according to GLI-11 is in particular that the stopping positions determined at random within the course of the game are evenly distributed and that a random result must not have any effect on future random decisions. In terms of the program, pseudo-random generators are used, the results of which cannot be qualitatively differentiated from the results of a classic random process based on a dice or a roulette wheel in a statistical test .

GLI-11-compliant slot machines can therefore be completely calculated mathematically using probability calculation methods on the basis of the so-called PAR Sheets (short PARS for Probability Account Reports Sheets ) . To do this, the probabilities of the possible winning combinations must be calculated from the symbol assignments of the individual reels using combinatorial methods . Then the expected value of the winnings ( payout ratio , also RTP for return to player ), based on the stake, can be calculated; likewise the volatility , namely with stochastically independent game processes in the form of the standard deviation .

In the case of classic, that is to say mechanical and electromechanical, gaming machines, such a computation is comparatively elementary, whereby ensuring sufficient randomness was technically very complex. In contrast, the calculation can for modern program-controlled slot machines with a high number of holding positions on up to 6 rolls, various influence and choices and because of realized only in later games winning options as they were first implemented in a slot machine in 1936, very complicated to be . The latter profit options require mathematical modeling using a Markov chain .


The beginnings

Liberty Bell (1899)

The name one-armed bandit comes from the English expression one-arm ( ed ) bandit and from the fact that such machines used to have only one arm (lever), but emptied the user's pockets like a thief or a fraud , according to the meaning of bandit in the Colloquial language. In the USA these devices are also called slot machines ( slot denotes the coin slot), in Australia poker machines and in Great Britain fruit machines (= fruit machines, after the symbols on the reels).

The actuation of a lever sets reels with symbols in motion, whereby the course of the game was initially implemented purely mechanically, later electro-mechanical and now program-controlled. The aim of a game that lasts 2 to 3 seconds is for the reels to display matching symbols after they have stopped in certain positions.

The first of all slot machines was the Caille brothers' Black Cat . Built in 1889, it already had the typical side arm and was the first to be called "one-armed bandit".

The Liberty Bell device made by the mechanical engineer Charles August Fey , who emigrated from Swabia to California and which he invented in San Francisco in 1899 , gained particular fame . This slot machine was the first to feature a 3-reel game system. The name was derived from the symbol that triggered the maximum profit when it appeared three times. Due to the lack of a patent application for this invention, the system became common property of the gaming industry. Before this system was established, many manufacturers produced stand slots that functioned on the roulette principle and where you had to bet on a color before you usually set the roulette wheel in motion with a lever.

The further development

The traditional devices with reels and hand levers have largely been replaced by modern slot machines with screens on which the reels and their movement are only shown graphically. These screen devices also offer the advantage of allowing the player to choose between several games or stakes. In some cases it is even possible for the player to also determine the value of a loan, i.e. H. the smallest unit of the stake, can determine itself (so-called multi-denomination ). Depending on the design of the machine, several paylines - up to over 100 - or credits per payline can be played. The value per loan can reach very high values, especially in US casinos, sometimes even up to $ 1000 per loan, which also multiplies the possible winnings accordingly.

History in Germany

Commercially operated gaming machines

Finger strike machine Bajazzo from around 1910
Berlin amusement arcade in 1919 with Bajazzo- type machines : "Children under 16 years of age" are prohibited from entering according to the notice

As early as the first decade of the 20th century, the Leipzig company Jentzsch & Meerz produced the first slot machines in Germany. The most famous device was the Bajazzo automatic finger hammer . Like similar devices, the Bajazzo was classified as a game of skill for a long time and was therefore not subject to the ban on gambling under Section 284 of the Criminal Code (StGB) . In the 1920s, over 10,000 such machines were operated in Berlin alone . In 1928, the Reichsgericht classified the Bajazzo apparatus as a game of chance, whereby it established the relevant evaluation criteria. As a result, the first legal basis for operating slot machines was created in December 1933 with a supplement to the trade regulations . Half a year later, with an implementing regulation, the testing and approval of gaming machines was placed in the hands of the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt , which formulated technical requirements in a leaflet that are still valid today with regard to equal opportunities. However, a year later, with a further implementing regulation, the setting up of machines with which money or tokens could be won was limited to fairs and shooting festivals , which was intended to increase the number of raffles and collections of the Winter Relief Organization and the National Socialist People's Welfare .

Rotamint , NSM , 1952

After the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany , the first amendment to the commercial gaming law took place in 1951. Initially, the restriction of the display to annual markets was retained, however, accompanying published approval guidelines for the first time set criteria according to which the approval of gaming machines by the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) had taken place. Accordingly, games that lacked skill as well as chance were possible (Art. I, No. 2). The minimum playing time was 15 seconds, the maximum stake 0.10 DM, the maximum win ten times the stake and the minimum payout rate for a blind player 60% - for games of at least one minute in given increments less (Art. I, No. 3). The requirements for the minimum playing time of 15 seconds, the maximum stake of 0.10 DM and the maximum win of 1.00 DM were adopted in the Implementation Ordinance in 1953. In addition, the possible set-up locations have been aligned with the protection of minors , namely gambling halls and suitable restaurants . Finally, a differentiation was introduced between mechanically operated games and gaming facilities (gaming devices) and other games that offer profit opportunities.

A comprehensive reorganization of the commercial game law took place in 1962. The requirements for the operation ("installation") of a game device and the organization of another game were regulated, as well as the requirements for the approval of a game device design and the obtaining of a clearance certificate for another game. Two further ordinances regulate the procedure for obtaining approval for one type of play equipment and for obtaining a clearance certificate for another game. Minimum playing time, maximum stakes and maximum winnings for playground equipment remained the same as in the previous regulations, but were later gradually adjusted to DM 0.20 / DM 2 (1968), DM 0.30 / DM 3 (1976), DM 0.40 / 4 due to inflation DM (1993) and € 0.20 / € 2 with the minimum playing time reduced to 12 seconds for the introduction of the euro at the beginning of 2002.

Lower part of a risk ladder - typical for gaming machines for three decades from around 1980
Merkur Disc , Gauselmann Group, 1984

Compared to the requirements for commercially operated gaming machines in other countries, these regulations were significantly more restrictive, which made German gaming machines very different from their international counterparts with their fast-paced roller games. To fill the minimum playing time, multi-phase game processes were devised as early as the 1950s, in which individual intermediate results of a game such as B. reached stopping positions of a symbol carrier could optionally be abandoned in favor of renewed random decisions. Such a restart of one or more symbol carriers was supplemented in the 1980s by double-or-nothing game phases, the so-called risk game , usually in the form of so-called risk ladders . The interim results that could be achieved there also included winning options that were only realized in later games such as free games and, above all, so-called special games , i.e. H. Playing with an increased expectation of profit . Such special games were already used in German gaming machines in the 1960s. In the first half of the 1980s, upper limits were set for these winning options in two amendments to the Gaming Ordinance, differentiated according to whether the winning options were achieved within or outside the risk phase. In 1990 these limits were flanked with additional limits as part of a self-limiting measure of the machine industry.

At the beginning of 2005, special game winnings were increasingly no longer shown in the form of a number of games, namely the number of special games won, but in the form of the cents ( points ) that could be achieved within this series of special games . On this basis, in particular, game devices on a screen basis were developed that contain different game offers, the sequence of which is based on international standards. After a transition phase of a few years, such slot machines replaced all devices with mechanical reels.

The development of more complex game courses, which could be realized under microprocessor control , led to the fact that the tests carried out by the PTB on the requirements of the Game Ordinance, which came from the 'pre-electronic era', required a high level of analytical and interpretative effort. In order to " replace the complex, individually carried out detailed analyzes of the gaming systems as far as possible with automatic data collection with subsequent evaluation using statistical methods ," the PTB "went in a direction from early 1998 with the introduction of an automated test concept for the type testing of gaming machines from the detailed examination of the play equipment to the effect-oriented assessment of the entire play system ”. Regardless of this, the PTB no longer saw the stipulations of the Gaming Ordinance as being a “- also legally - sufficient basis for an effective inspection” of gaming machines. For this reason, the Gaming Ordinance was changed to a completely new system from the beginning of 2006. When playing a gaming machine, only the flow of money per time is limited by various limits, namely in the form of minimum times between two stakes and between two wins and, above all, in the form of maximum values ​​for a single stake, a single win and for net winnings and losses per Hour. These limits are ensured by a constantly active control device in the form of a software - or hardware - encapsulated module based on a FIFO memory.

Slot machines in casinos

It was not until the 1960s that the first slot machines were installed in German casinos , which at the time were all located in traditional health resorts and seaside resorts . As recently as 1970, slot machines in the twelve German casinos made only a marginal contribution to gross income. A drastic change began in the mid-1970s in the wake of numerous new openings of casinos, especially in major German cities or in the periphery (as in the case of 1975 in the Lower Saxony region of Hamburg based casino Hittfeld ).

As early as 2005 there were 31 so-called slot machines among the now 80 casinos , in which only slot machines were offered. Together with the machines that were operated in the casinos with a complete range including table games such as roulette, the share of slot machines in gross gaming revenues rose from 10% in 1980 to 45% in 1990, over 70% in 2000 and 75% in In 2005 to 77.5% in 2018.

In the beginning, the slot machines of the casinos were played with coins like classic slot machines . The conversion of all slot machines to banknotes for deposits and tickets (see above) for deposits and withdrawals took place in the first two decades of the 21st century.

Fairground playground equipment

Penny pushers

The possibility according to § 2 No. 4 SpielV to set up playground equipment with a PTB approval at annual fairs , namely in an unlimited number according to § 3 Paragraph 1 SpielV, is currently no longer used. In 1992 around 2,000 game machines were still being operated at fairs, but this number had fallen to around 1,700 by 2002, including around 1,300 sliding play machines and 400 simple three-reel play machines. From 1991 to 1999, 12 type approvals were issued by the PTB, with the last such devices being produced in 2001.

In 2003, for the purpose of administrative simplification, in the annex to § 5a No. 5 SpielV the possibility was created to be able to operate simple play equipment such as sliding play equipment ( penny pushers ) at fairs according to § 5a SpielV under certain circumstances without a permit . In this case, the use of tokens as a stake must be excluded and at least 50 percent of the stakes must be paid out as winnings.

Slot machines in the GDR

Arcade machine Polyplay (GDR from 1985)

In the GDR , until the fall of the Berlin Wall, only slot machines could be operated without the possibility of making a profit or with the exclusive profit of goods tokens with a maximum value of ten times the stake. Pre-war machines of the Bajazzo type and post-war machines from early West German production were used. The German Office for Weights and Measures and from 1967 the VEB State Circus was responsible for the approval .

The most modern product was an arcade machine, Polyplay , which had been in production since 1985 , a pure entertainment device with eight games. A game cost 50 pfennigs . The machine was installed in FDGB holiday homes, youth hostels and youth clubs .

Five weeks before the reunification , an order issued by the Ministry of Finance on the commercial installation of gaming devices, the organization of other games with the possibility of winning and the operation of gaming halls came into force, which allows the installation of gaming machines as in the Federal Republic of Germany. In Section 1, Paragraph 2, No. 1, it was determined that type approvals were to be issued by the Office for Standardization, Metrology and Goods Testing , based on a type approval from PTB. This was possible because the requirements specified in Section 14 of the arrangement were identical to those in Section 13 of the Gaming Ordinance at the time. In this respect, in the last few weeks of the GDR, approvals still valid there were granted for PTB-approved gaming machine types. There were therefore no GDR-approved gaming machines that did not comply with the gaming regulations. As a precautionary measure, a transitional regulation intended to supplement federal law in this case was not applied in the Unification Agreement that had already been concluded on August 31, 1990 .

The GDR's first casino opened on May 18, 1990 on the 37th floor of the Berlin Interhotel Stadt Berlin , after the GDR's Council of Ministers had given its approval on February 13, 1990. Even before the currency union on July 1, 1990, only DM could be used. The range of games also included slot machines with a minimum stake of DM.

Registration documents

According to Section 15 (1) of the SpielV, the holder of the approval for a play equipment type receives an approval certificate and for each replica device of the approved type an approval document and an approval mark, which contain the serial number of the device. The approval mark, for which a metal plate to be screwed on from the outside was initially used, is now made of paper that can be removed from the approval document. According to Section 6 (1) SpielV, it must be attached to the play equipment in a clearly visible manner, for which purpose the play equipment has a correspondingly large viewing window.

Slot machines: spread and law

Commercially operated slot machines in Germany

Legal foundations at the federal level

For consumer protection and to contain pathological gambling (gambling addiction or gambling addiction), gaming machines and their set-up are subject to extensive statutory provisions that are regulated in the trade regulations , the gaming regulations , the youth protection law and state laws.

The current version of the Gaming Ordinance came into force on December 13, 2014. With this amendment , some details of a comprehensive reform were corrected by the previous, Sixth Amendment, which had come into force a month earlier.

The aim of the sixth amendment was to improve the protection of young people and gamblers in gaming machines. For this purpose, the incentives to play and the opportunities to lose were more limited, specifically the three limits for the maximum profit per hour, the maximum loss per hour and the average loss per hour were reduced by 20, 25 and 39.3%, respectively. The Federal Government thus reaffirmed the aim it had already pursued with the amendment from 2006, "a clear boundary between the profit and loss unrestricted state-licensed game offerings, in particular the slot machines used there, and the commercial 'small' game" pull. With such slot machines in casinos, a stake of € 500 per two to three-second game and a profit of over € million are possible. Losses of € 40,000 by a player in an evening at the slot machines of a casino are documented.

Overall, the Sixth Amendment essentially results in the following requirements for gaming machines and their installation:

  • Only gambling halls and restaurants (as well as betting offices of licensed horse racing bookmakers in accordance with Section 2 of the Racing Betting and Lottery Act ) are permitted to set up gaming machines , with a maximum of 12 per gambling hall or 3 (2 from November 10, 2019) per other installation location ( § 3 Paragraph 1 and 2 SpielV). The installation site requires a confirmation of suitability .
  • Alcohol is not allowed in gambling halls ( Section 3 (3) SpielV).
  • Young people under the age of 18 are not allowed to play on machines ( Section 6 (2) JuSchG). There is also an entry ban for gambling halls ( Section 6 (1) JuSchG).
  • Maximum winnings, maximum stakes and the minimum time interval in between (duration of a "game") are regulated: The permissible range is from € 0.20 stake and € 2 win for 5 seconds ( § 13 No. 2 SpielV) to 2, € 30 stake and € 23.00 profit with a 75 second gap between two stakes or between two payouts of winnings ( § 13 No. 3 SpielV).
  • The loss per hour, i.e. H. the stake that exceeds the winnings is limited to a maximum of € 60 ( § 13 No. 4 SpielV).
  • After deducting the stakes, the profit per hour may not be higher than € 400 ( § 13 No. 5 SpielV).
  • The average loss per hour is limited to a maximum of € 20 ( Section 12 (1) No. 1 SpielV).
  • The upper limits for stake, profit and loss per unit of time are guaranteed by a control device ( § 13 No. 9 SpielV).
  • The parameters relating to the machines are checked by the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) as part of a type approval ( Section 11 Paragraph 1) on the basis of a technical guideline ( Section 12 Paragraph 4).
  • Gaming machines may be operated for a maximum of four years ( Section 16, Paragraph 1, No. 7 SpielV), whereby gaming machines that are at least two years old are only permitted if they have been checked by a sworn and publicly appointed expert or one approved by the PTB Place, as currently z. B. the TÜV Rheinland , not more than two years ago ( § 7 SpielV).

Further regulations concern

  • technical measures against the simultaneous use of several gaming machines by one person, namely
    • the ban on automatic use ( Section 13 No. 7 SpielV) and
    • the possibility of playing games only with a device-specific, person-independent means of identification ( § 13 No. 10 SpielV), which is only handed over after an examination of the eligibility to play ( § 13 No. 6 Paragraph 5 SpielV),
  • Safeguards against modification and manipulation of a gaming machine ( § 13 No. 11 SpielV) and the booking data stored in it and linked to the time of their creation ( § 13 No. 9a SpielV) and
  • the so-called points game. The requirements relating to the points game ( § 13 No. 1 SpielV) are essentially based on the decision of the Federal Council . Its contradicting wording was the reason for the Federal Government, in its function as legislator, to put the ordinance into force only after 16 months and a renewed notification to the European Commission due to feared enforcement problems .

Details of the type approval and the test procedure are regulated in a technical guideline of the PTB notified by the EU (authorized by § 12 Paragraph 4 SpielV). The approval process is increasingly characterized by aspects of IT security .

Legal basis at country level

In addition to the Gaming Ordinance, different content-related arcade and implementation laws for the State Treaty on Gaming (GlüÄndStV) were passed from 2011 onwards . These laws contain additional requirements for the installation of gaming machines in amusement arcades, such as the prohibition of the distribution of food and drinks, curfew , obligation to admission control and blocking system, a ban on outdoor advertising and minimum distances to other amusement arcades and facilities that are primarily used by children and young people be visited. In terms of cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants, according to a forecast from 2014, 77% of the amusement arcades and 87% of the gaming machines installed there will no longer be able to be operated due to the minimum distances after the expiry of the transitional regulations. In the case of the federal state of Berlin, where the reduction began in 2016, more than half of the arcades are being closed. In Lower Saxony, until a court ruling to the contrary, the closings of gambling halls were in part ordered on the basis of a drawing of lots , for example in Osnabrück, where 52 of 87 gambling halls are to close. Some federal states have set longer deadlines for existing amusement arcades as part of transitional regulations. In Rhineland-Palatinate, the approval of 342 gambling halls will not expire until July 1, 2021, which in the case of the city of Trier, for example, affects 32 of the 34 previous gambling halls.

Number of gaming machines with the possibility of winning in Germany 1995–2018


The total number of gaming machines installed in Germany was 240,000 machines in 2018. In the previous 23 years, the number ranged between 183,000 (in 2005) and 269,000 (in 2014). These figures do not take into account the 64,000 (1995) and 82,000 (2005) slot machines, which have not been allowed to be operated since 2006 due to the then added § 6a SpielV, because they do not offer the possibility of winning money, but the possibility of winning offered more than six free spins.

Amusement tax revenue from slot machines 1990–2018


In addition to the usual taxes ( sales tax and income tax ) outside of Bavaria, the income from gaming machines is subject to the ( communal ) entertainment tax . For the purpose of their collection, all stakes, winnings and cash register contents must be recorded promptly, immediately and in a readable manner. The revenue from amusement tax for slot machines rose in recent years from € 190 million (2006) to € 1,071 million (2018).


The gaming machines most frequently found in Germany today are products of the Gauselmann Group or Novomatic with its German subsidiary Löwen Entertainment . Another manufacturer is Bally Wulff ( Schmidt Group ).

Slot machines in German casinos

The 7,500 slot machines, which were operated at 70 casino locations in 2018 and generated 77.5% of the gross casino revenue, follow international standards in terms of game sequence and constructive structure, so that a screen-based game takes just under 3 seconds. The stake for such a game can be up to € 500, with a win over a million euros are possible.

Slot machines in other countries

European Union

Gambling law is not uniform within the European Union , but is regulated at the level of the member states. Insofar as there are requirements for gaming machines in the context of technical requirements, however, these must be notified to the EU. As a result, all laws, regulations and guidelines for the construction of gaming machines can be researched on the homepage of the European Commission - usually also in the form of translations.

In 2017, the following countries in the EU showed the greatest distribution, characterized by the lowest number of inhabitants per slot machine: Italy 134, Czech Republic 189, Latvia 217, Denmark 219, Slovakia 243, Slovenia 243, Finland 258, Germany 294, United Kingdom 354, Ireland 379 and the Netherlands with 455 inhabitants per slot machine.

In Austria in particular, a total of 7121 slot machines were operated in 2017, which corresponds to 1229 inhabitants per slot machine.


In Austria, § 5 of the Gambling Act (GSpG) regulates the organization of so-called state draws with gaming machines . A distinction is made between operating up to three machines individually and from 10 to 50 machines in gaming rooms . In the case of machines in individual display, a game must last at least two seconds and cost a maximum of € 1. The maximum win is € 1,000. In gaming rooms, a stake of up to € 10 is allowed for a game lasting at least one second. The average payout percentage must be between 82 and 92 percent, and up to € 10,000 can be won per game.

The approval of such national games requires preventive measures such as an access system for gambling addiction. Such permits have so far been granted in the five federal states of Burgenland , Carinthia , Lower Austria , Upper Austria and Styria .

In appearance and possible stakes and winnings heights largely similar to Landesausspielungen in casinos are video lottery terminals (VLTs) in VLT outlets with the product name WINWIN , because of its a central server controlled winning decision in accordance with § 12a GSpG as lotteries apply. The provider is a subsidiary of Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries .


In Switzerland, a total of 4435 gaming machines were operated in 2017, this number only including the machines operated in the 21 casinos. The casino locations are divided into two different categories: Eight Grand Casinos (A licenses ) and 13 course halls (B licenses ), whereby the number and types of games offered as well as the amount of stakes and winnings may be limited with B licenses .

In addition to the gaming machines, which in Switzerland may only be operated in casinos, some cantons also allow skill gaming machines to be set up in bars.


The states with the most (lucky) slot machines are Japan with 4.5 million slot machines ( pachinko machines ), the USA with 884,000 slot machines, Italy with 464,000, Germany with 274,500, Spain with 201,400, Australia with 197,000 and the United Kingdom with 183,000 machines.

The highest density of slot machines, characterized by the lowest number of inhabitants per slot machine, are predominantly, but not exclusively, classic tourist destinations with at least partially autonomous status: Sint Maarten with 13 inhabitants per slot machine, Åland with 16, Japan with 28, Monaco with 31, Aruba with 31 , Macau with 37, Curacao with 64, US Virgin Islands with 102, Saint Kitts and Nevis with 118 and Australia with 125 inhabitants per slot machine.

Several thousand slot machines are set up on cruise ships and ferries .

Gambling addiction and other hazards from slot machines

The criticism of slot machines and machines with gambling elements has a long tradition that goes back to the end of the 19th century. At that time, the Stollwerck company’s chocolate vending machines were not only subject to a risk of “snacking”. The sales promotion practiced was also criticized , for which a randomly selected collector's picture , a forerunner of today's loot boxes , was enclosed with each chocolate bar . Due to the popularity of these collector's pictures, which were elaborately produced using color printing, which was still unusual at the time, there were fears that young people could be encouraged to break into the machines.

In parts of the United States, pinball machines were banned for several decades, particularly in New York from 1942 to 1976. The ban followed a campaign by New York City Mayor LaGuardia , who complained that pinball machines were depriving school children of their breakfast break money. LaGuardia's campaign was supported by conservative morality guards who believed that the pinball machines posed a threat to the modesty of young people.

At the beginning of the 1980s, video slot machines like Space Invaders were criticized as killer slot machines that glorified violence . As a result, a novelized Youth Protection Act forbade the use of video amusement machines with violence-oriented displays in places that are accessible to children and young people, also in order to counter crime against acquisitions . This ban, which existed regardless of the game content, existed until 2002, when it was replaced by age restriction criteria that were generally applicable to the media due to a no longer seen risk of high loss of money .

Gaming machines were already referred to as " wage-packet swallowers " in the 1950s . From the 1980s onwards, the danger of addiction became the focus of criticism , and the assumption was made that some 500,000 of the total of around seven million players in gaming machines were suffering from abnormal behavior. Five representative studies carried out by the Federal Center for Health Education between 2009 and 2017 came to the conclusion that of the average of almost 270,000 pathological gamblers in Germany, around 36% played on gaming machines and 14% on slot machines in casinos, some with overlaps and participation in other games of chance. The high frequency of events, a high degree of interactivity and easy availability are seen as the cause of an increased risk of addiction from gaming machines.

Web links

Commons : Slot Machines  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: slot machine  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Spielbanken Bayern: § 1 Casino regulations (as of August 30, 2019)
  2. IGT, Introduction to Slots and Video Gaming , Las Vegas 2005, accessed May 25, 2020
  3. a b Bavarian casinos, slot machine game. Rules of the game , p. 9, accessed on May 25, 2020.
  4. a b IGT, Introduction to Slots and Video Gaming , Las Vegas 2005, accessed on May 25, 2020, p. 25
  5. For the example of Spielbank Feuchtwangen including the status of the Bayern jackpot on the Bayern Spielbanken homepage , accessed on May 25, 2020.
  6. Progressive Gaming Devices in Casinos v2.1 , 2011, accessed May 25, 2020.
  7. IGT, Introduction to Slots and Video Gaming , Las Vegas 2005, accessed on May 25, 2020, pp. 62–64.
  8. Gaming Labs, GLI-11. Gaming Devices in Casinos , Version 3.0, 2016, see in particular Chapters 1.1 and 1.2
  9. Gaming Labs, GLI-11. Gaming Devices in Casinos , Version 3.0, 2016, 3.2.3
  10. Gaming Labs, GLI-11. Gaming Devices in Casinos , Version 3.0, 2016, 3.2.4
  11. Gaming Labs, GLI-11. Gaming Devices in Casinos , Version 3.0, 2016, 3.2.2
  12. Kevin A. Harrigan, Mike Dixon: PAR Sheets, probabilities, and slot machine play: Implications for problem and non-problem gambling , Journal of Gambling Issues, Volume 23, 2009, pp. 81-110, doi: 10.4309 / jgi. 2009.23.5
  13. Stewart N. Ethier, The doctrine of chances: Probabilistic aspects of gambling , Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-540-78782-2 , Chapter 12, Slot machines , doi: 10.1007 / 978-3-540-78783-9_12
  14. M. Klemt, Testing, Approval and Monitoring of Mechanically Operated Playground Equipment , in: Bundeskriminalamt Wiesbaden, Combat of Gambling and Cheating , 1955, pp. 137–147, especially p. 141
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