A Fruit Machine is a type of low stake low jackpot slot machine that you will find in different venues in the UK, and as such you will often find them stuck away in corners of pubs, clubs, cafes and also in amusement arcades all over Great Britain.
Due to the number of them and the way in which anyone can access and play them, but also due to the fact they are usually not located in the most prominent of locations in the venues they are in, they have often been a very easy target for slot cheats and fraudsters alike.
As such the designers and the manufacturers of those types of gaming machines have a constant battle on their hands to ensure that as soon as a new scam or cheat is discovered, they take whatever steps are necessary to ensure those cheats and scams cannot be performed on their fruit machines.
The inside of a fruit machine is much like a casino type of slot machine in as much as you have coin and note acceptors and validators, a set of reels, the CPU and the payout mechanism too, however not that many years ago fruit machines would use a coin tube and a solenoid as the way they would payout winning players.
When a coin was inserted into the coin slot and once it has been validated as being a valid coin it would then roll down a chute which passed over a long plastic tube, if that tube was full of coins then the coin would pass over the top of it and fall into the cash box located at the bottom of the fruit machine.
If the coin tube was not full then the coin would drop into the tube. That tube held the float of a fruit machine, and whenever a player won the CPU would send a set number of pulses to the solenoid located at the bottom of the tube, which would then move forward and backwards the required number of times.
Attached to that solenoid was a small plastic plunger which would be located at the bottom of the tube and each time it moved backwards and then forwards one coin would be dispensed, and that is how the fruit machine would pay out winning players, and that was, to be fair, a very easy and straight forward system for such gaming machines to payout.
However, it wasn’t long before slot cheats realised that by getting hold of a small hand held cordless drill they could drill a hole in the side of the fruit machine, which are usually always made of wood, and as the machines were usually out of sight of the staff and employees working at the venue they were located in they could do that unseen and very quickly too.
What the slot cheat would then do is insert into that hole a small rod type device, or even a screw driver and they could force the plunger backwards and forward rapidly by hand, and each time they did so a coin would drop out of the tube and into the payout tray!
An experienced “rodder” as they became known could empty a slot machine of all of its coins in a minute or so. The way in which fruit machine manufacturers got around this problem in the short term was to place a cover over the solenoid and plunger mechanism, and in the long term they started to design fruit machines which used hoppers as opposed to tubes!