Rigged jackpot
By darren
Fruit machines came under fire in the UK this week. Claims from indignant Fair Play campaigners argue that the gambling machines are rigged against players all but preventing a big jackpot win.

Their claims are based on information from hackers who got into the software that controls the spinning of the fruit machines reels. Hackers aren’t the most reputable source, especially as they’d be associated with those nasty viruses that wipe out emails and spam everything.

Representatives of the fruit machine makers have jumped on that to retort that the source is 'very misleading.” They also insist that they ensure their products meet with the UK’s gambling guidelines and procedures. However, the guidelines are currently under review and only run under a code of voluntary practice as far as the testing of fruit machines is concerned.

Fair Play insist their findings are accurate as they used software emulators fed from the data on fruit machine memory chips. Using these emulators they examined what happened at crucial moments in the game play. They found that if a player was offered the chance to try for a big payout they would lose no matter what options they took. Most damningly, they have even found one with a hidden display that indicates when a player will stop winning.

Stuart Campbell, spokesman for the Fairplay Campaign: “This is all absolutely deliberate. At times it will throw you a jackpot to keep you interested but most of the time it has a pre-set block on what you can win that will be quite low.'

At the moment fruit machines are tested by the Gaming Board of Great Britain. These tests are based on statistics provided by … the fruit machine companies. As the saying goes, there are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics. Fortunately the UK gambling industry is going through various reforms that will require a stricter testing of the machines and give the Gaming Board the right to prosecute those in breach of the new rules. If the reform is passed. The kind of publicity generated by Fair Play might help ensure that it is.

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