Games and machines

Games and machines

Overview

Malfunctions and disputes

Gaming machines are complex electro-mechanical devices. They  are designed to be robust, secure and reliable, but they can occasionally malfunction.  Fortunately, information from the machine, monitoring system and a venue’s records is almost always able to confirm the correct amount on the machine’s credit meter immediately before the malfunction.

What should I do if the machine I am playing malfunctions?

Firstly, stop playing the machine immediately.  Don’t press any buttons, don’t try to collect or insert more coins. Next, call a gaming staff member and tell them the machine has malfunctioned.

From there, gaming staff should be able to work out how many credits were on the machine before the malfunction. If you don’t agree with the gaming staff’s calculation, ask them to explain how they reached that amount. You can also ask to view the Last Game Replay function of the machine.

What should the venue’s staff do?

In most cases, gaming staff will record as much detail as possible before making a decision. This may include reading the machines electronic and mechanical meters, replaying the last games, weighing or counting the money in the hopper or even contacting the monitoring system operator (the IGC).

Based on all the available information, the gaming machine manager should be able to determine how much you are owed.  In rare cases, this may not be possible straight away and a you may have to leave your details and allow the gaming machine manager to investigate further.

Ultimately, it is the venue licensee’s responsibility to resolve any disputes resulting from malfunctions. In extreme cases, the gaming machine manager will ask his service agent for assistance.

Further problems

If you are not satisfied that a malfunction or dispute has been properly resolved – and you have exhausted all avenues with venue management – you have the right to ask the Commissioner to review the decision. In this case, the gaming machine manager is obliged to take your name and address and inform you of your right to have the decision reviewed.

Standards

All gaming machines and games must be approved by the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner before being allowed to operate in South Australia. Before an approval is considered, the machine or game must pass a thorough test against the Commissioner’s technical standard. The current standard adopted for South Australian machines is the Australian/New Zealand Gaming Machine National Standard.

National standard

The National Standard is the collection of common technical requirements from all participating jurisdictions in Australia and New Zealand.

The legislation covering gaming machines does vary slightly from one jurisdiction to another. In cases where a difference in technical requirements cannot be resolved, each regulator issues an Appendix to the National Standard.

The National Standard is developed and maintained by a Working Party, made up of representatives from each participating jurisdiction. Throughout the year, the Working Party meets to discuss improvements to the Standard. The gaming industry contributes to the development process through the annual Manufacturer’s Forum. Typically, a new revision of the Standard is released following each Forum.

The Gaming Machine National Standard revision 10.0 “or any subsequent version” has been enshrined in the regulations of both the Gaming Machines Act and the Casino Act as the technical standard for gaming machines and games for use in South Australia.

The South Australian Appendix describes requirements which are in addition to or differ from those specified by the Gaming Machine National Standard.

 

Testing

Before any game or machine enters a hotel, club or casino, it is thoroughly tested by an independent testing organisation to ensure that it meets the standard.

The Liquor and Gambling Commissioner has accredited four organisations to provide these testing services – GLI Australia, BMM International, QALab and Enex Testlab.

The performance of the testing organisations is regularly reviewed by the National Standard Working Party to ensure the highest level of testing is applied to gaming machines and games.

Monitoring

All gaming machines in hotels and clubs are connected to a central monitoring system and communications network operated by the Independent Gaming Corporation Ltd (IGC).  The IGC holds the gaming machine monitor licence – as defined in the Gaming Machines Act 1992 – which allows it to operate the monitoring system.  Only the IGC is licensed to monitor gaming machines in hotels and clubs in South Australia.

The monitoring system consists of a central computer system designed to configure, control and monitor every machine in South Australian hotels and clubs.  The system operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure the integrity and reliability of gaming machines in our state.

The Adelaide Casino operates an in-house monitoring system for its gaming machines.

What is monitoring?

The IGC’s monitoring system communicates continually with each machine to:

  • configure machines and games (e.g. game variation, credit value, maximum bet etc.);
  • control the operation of machines (e.g. enforcing approved operating hours);
  • ensure gaming is not available unless the machines are secure and operating properly;
  • ensure gaming is not available unless the game software installed is approved;
  • record financial and statistical data (e.g. Turnover, Total Wins, Games Played etc.);
  • record data from exceptional events (e.g. Significant Wins, doors opened etc.)

The monitoring system does not

  • control or influence the outcome of any game;
  • adjust any other aspect of the game regarding the odds of winning or prizes;
  • record any details of a player’s activity.

Return to player

The Gaming Machines Act 1992 requires that gaming operators will provide only gaming machines and games which return winnings to players at a rate that is not less than 85% for machines or games installed before 1 October 2001 and not less than 87.5% for machines or games installed after 1 October 2001.

About ‘return to player percentages’

The Return to Player (RTP) percentage represents the expected return from a game in the long term. It is calculated from the mathematical design of the game.

In the long term, a game designed with a theoretical RTP of 89% will award around 89% of the total of all bets made as prizes. In the short term the RTP can vary significantly.

The verification of RTP is a significant focus of the testing of each game prior to approval.  Once a game is operating in the field, RTP is monitored to ensure that the game is performing in line with mathematical expectations.

Myths and facts

If I hit the button at just the right moment, I can stop the reels at a winning combination

Gaming machines use software that runs a Random Number Generator (RNG). All you are doing,  by hitting the play button, is telling the RNG to select a random result. Anything you do after this initial press will have no influence on the outcome of the game.

Hotels and Clubs can affect the amount of a payout at the flip of a switch

The Return to Player (RTP) percentage for each game is a function of the mathematical design of the game and cannot be changed. The venue licensee has absolutely no control over the results or payouts of a game.A complete game change can be requested in advance by the venue licensee but it is not simply a “flip of the switch” process and cannot be performed by the venue licensee. A game change must be performed by the service licensee (gaming machine technicians) in conjunction with the holder of the monitor licence (IGC). A newly installed game will not operate unless it has been remotely enabled by the IGC. The IGC will only enable games which have been approved by the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner.

My game hasn’t paid out for a while, it is therefore due for a win

A game does not become more likely to “pay out” because it hasn’t “paid out” for a while. Each game result is an independent event – a random occurrence – which has no bearing on or connection to past or future results. Experiencing a high number of losses does not make it more likely you will soon experience a win. Eg. You may win the “free spins” numerous times during your play session, or not at all.

If I cash out after every win, it will increase my chance of winning

A player who cashes out after every win has exactly the same chance of winning as a player who does not cash out. Cashing out has no influence on the outcome of a game.

Gaming machines tend to pay out at higher amounts or more frequently at certain times of the day

All results are completely random. They are not linked to clocks or calendars.