It’s a long-standing mystery of untold casino history. What do casinos, or manufacturers, do with all those slot machines when they don’t want them anymore? They spend years on a casino floor and then, one day, poof! They just seem to disappear into thin air.
I got into this exact conversation with a man we’ll call Charlie at Casino Rama last week. I didn’t know this guy from Adam, but having something in common—in our case, a losing streak on adjacent slot machines—does tend to bring people together.
Charlie is a local and somewhat regular at Casino Rama. He told me of a machine that he used to play, up until February of this year. It was his favorite. His go-to game when others weren’t delivering. Then one day, he walked in, absently strolled to where it always stood, and… it was gone. Maybe he’d taken a wrong step, he thought. But that wasn’t the case. The game was gone, and when he asked a few attendants, none seemed to know what he was talking about.
The way he told the story, I was half-expecting Rod Sterling to step out and tell me I’d entered the Twilight Zone. But the reality is, stories like Charlie’s happen all too often. It’s an inevitable fate when…
Slot Machines Get Old or Unproductive
There are only three reasons why a slot machine will be moved, or removed, from its position on the casino floor. It’s either broken in some way, it’s become obsolete, or is under-performing expectations due to lack of affection from players.
When a machine breaks, it is moved from the floor for repairs, and replaced with another machine until it’s ready. If a game becomes unproductive, the floor manager will often move it to a new location, hoping to attract fresh attention from different players. When a game is obsolete, however—outdated and technologically inferior to newer models—it is generally returned to the manufacturer for credit towards a modern slot machine.
Where Do These Old Slot Machine Go?
No, there isn’t a special place in Heaven reserved just for when slot machines get old. As beautiful as that tale would be, there are only three places an old machine might end up. Only one—the rarest, of course—belongs in a fairy tale. This first one isn’t it.
Casinos will often store their old slots in a large, warehouse-style room beneath the gaming floor. Games that aren’t getting enough attention, but aren’t worth giving up on yet, tend to go here for a while before management decides what to do with them. Games in need of repair will also end up in a specially dedicated part of this room until the manufacturer gets the job done.
A machine that is obsolete will face one of two futures—one bright, one bleak. If fancy, popular and/or antiquated enough, a few models might make their way into museums (the fairy-tale version). Most, however, will be returned to their makers, where they’ll simply be torn apart. All useful pieces will be retained for use in new models, or for use in old slot machine repairs. The rest is stripped down for scrap.
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