From that headline, it sounds like slot machines essentially never pay out, right?
Carpenter becomes suspicious that the machines are rigged because Flo Fabrizio, a "key backer" of legalized gambling in Pennsylvania, won $1500 on his first play of the machine. Now, I can understand this suspicion -- sure, it could happen randomly. But then Carpenter goes on to do some "math" which proves he really doesn't understand what he's talking about. The article basically debunks itself.
It states that slot machines in Pennsylvania have to pay back at least 85 percent of what they take in. So then Carpenter says:
If it takes a regular player 50 million three-second plays to get a big jackpot, it would take more than 11 years, playing 10 hours a day, every day. More important, if each play averages 50 cents, the player would have to put $25 million into the slot. The 85 percent payback would be $21,250,000. So, odds are, the cost of playing long enough to get a $1,500 jackpot would be $3,750,000.That's true. (The "50 million" comes from the regulations that say that casinos can set up their slots so that the jackpot only pays one time out of every 50 million.) But somehow I doubt a $1500 jackpot would be that rare. And more importantly, while the player is making those fifty million plays, they'll make a lot of small bets back. This is like saying that poker's a losing game because you only get a royal flush once every several hundred thousand hands. Or saying that you must not be broke because you didn't buy a million-dollar house you couldn't afford, but ignoring all the little expenses that add up. (Try telling your credit card company that!) You can't cherry-pick the tail of the distribution like that!
Could there be corruption in the gambling industry? Sure. But this doesn't prove anything. Not to mention that these calculations seem to imply that slot machines basically never pay out. Casinos aren't stupid -- they know that if slots essentially never paid out then nobody would play! The whole trick is that if you have enough small gains, you won't realize that on average you're losing.
On the other hand, they say that gambling is a tax on stupidity. At least this man's stupidity will keep him out of the casinos.