Security Issues Detected in the Computer Slot Machine Systems

Security Issues Detected in the Computer Slot Machine Systems

Marius Popescu (Vasile Goldis Western University of Arad, Romania) and Antoanela Luciana Naaji (Vasile Goldis Western University of Arad, Romania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3355-0.ch003


The chapter analyzes three types of computer systems from the hardware and software point of view, slot machines, respectively. The owners of these devices, by different methods of illegal manipulation, can have total control of the chances of winning and losing, and on the other hand, they can determine at will the amounts to be recorded in accounting. The investigation techniques used in the analysis of electronic gaming machines with winnings show that they present particular problems of cyber security. As a result, solutions have been proposed to solve these problems, such as those concerning the verifications that the legal metrology offices must carry out.
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Slot-machines are means of gambling represented by the specific machines, equipment and specific installations assembled from a constructive point of view in a unit through which random elements are generated independently based exclusively on chance, but also on the dexterity or ability of the participants in the gamble (Aragay et al., 2018), without involving in any form or by any means the organizer, his staff or other persons in the selection or the generation of chance and in determining the results of the game (Kelly et al., 2018; Lister et al., 2016; Auer&Griffiths, 2015).

The gambling machine is provided with electronic control keys which in fact represent an assembly of two dependent computer systems, in which one of the systems controls the operation of the other, with two electromechanical meters, a counter for the amounts of money or the points entered in the device (IN), respectively a counter for the points or sums of money that leave the device, respectively the counter (OUT). From the analysis of the norms mentioned in the specialized literature (Simion&Baciu, 2015) it results that, the electronic meter aims to keep track of the amounts of money introduced in the device,respectively paid to the potential winners, and the mechanical meter has the same purpose, which is why they are interconnected, constituting in reality a double record of the activity of the respective devices,more precisely, a fair exposure for a period of time of the obtained amount of the devices, the granted profits and the payments made to the winners. As standard for a slot machine type of gambling machine, the manufacturer of the device offers a number of 3 keys, a key for entering or canceling points, a key for reading, respectively for canceling electronic counters, distributed to the operator from the game room as well as a «master» key for the owner of the gambling machine, with which the following operations can be performed: reading, respectively, canceling the electronic counters, configuring the game card, initializing the game card (Brito, 2016). In fact, by using a special key, the owners of the devices can intervene on the slot machine gambling machines, respectively on the mechanical meter, having the “out” function, through the same access point to the electronic counters, unjustifiably increasing the winnings (exits), which were to be given to potential players. In this way you can practically hide the amount of money collected for the respective devices from the players and represented at the points indicated by their counters. On the same occasion, the electronic counters could be set to “zero” in all their pages under the pretext of a better highlighting of their activity, contrary to the legal norms prohibiting such actions.

The modification of the electronic counters is done for the same purpose, of the concealment of the real receipts that were obtained, and these illegal ways of manipulating the gaming machines have the following major consequences.First of all, by this way the amounts of money collected from the games on these devices are being withdrawn as “under the counter”.Secondly, by the interventions on the electronic and mechanical meters, the chances of winning set in the machine are eliminated. According to the legal provisions, the respective devices are set to give certain percentage of winnings. Obviously this win can only be given after the game on the machines and the receipts made. Or, in the conditions in which through the false key winnings can be awarded, logically the machine does not give winnings, until new receipts are made or if gives very small winnings.The machine offers a win to the player when, on the display panel, or in a delimited area of ​​the video screen, certain preset types of image configurations appear, resulting from the independent, “rotation” with a (pseudo) random speed of the drums and respectively by being set by the player, type of action transmitted also to the modern non-mechanical equivalents publicly exploited or to the computer simulators installed locally or online (Mujal, 2010).

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