Slots Cheat Exposes Tricks of the Trade at Las Vegas Mob Museum

Throughout the years, slot machine manufacturers have found newer and more productive ways to secure their devices against duplicitous gamblers. Conversely, the world’s most innovative slots cheats have always found ways to undermine that technology, bilking the casinos out of millions of dollars.

Mug Shots of Las Vegas Slots Cheat Dick Charlesworth
Dick Charlesworth Mug Shots
photo Steve Marcus, LasVegasSun
That was the focus of a unique event held at the Las Vegas Mob Museum on Tuesday, June 28, entitled “Stolen Jackpots: How Slot Cheating Rings Raked in Millions“.

A special guest on the panel, Dick Charlesworth stole the spotlight at the show. Charlesworth is a retired slots cheat, and an apparent humorist, who had the crowd in stitches yesterday as he walked them through a series of his most effective tactics over the years.

Charlesworth was referred to by the Mob Museum as “one of the most prolific slot cheats in Las Vegas history.” Fortunately for game manufacturers and casino operators alike, he’s been in retirement for the last 20 years.

A series of videos were exhibited during the event, including a reel of surveillance tape depicting slots cheats in action. The audience particularly enjoyed a slideshow of Charlesworth’s myriad mug shots over the years, quipping to one, “I think I still have that shirt.”

Dick Charlesworth: Life of a Slots Cheat

Charlesworth’s life of duplicity began as a teenager. His father owned slot machines, and when he pressed his son into choosing a career path, Dick (somewhat jokingly) replied, “Maybe I want to be a burglar.” His father didn’t laugh.

Instead, he introduced Charlesworth to “the right people to teach him” how to cheat the casinos. Before long, he was traveling the country, syphoning countless coins from casino slot machines, and eventually tying in with one of the most notorious organized casino cheat groups in Las Vegas history, known as the Nikrasch Clan.

He shared one story in particular when he and his clan went all over Las Vegas winning slots jackpots that awarded brand new cars. Charlesworth said he won a new car from a different casino every 6 weeks, and that before long, he had so many cars that when he crashed one in a parking lot, he simply left it behind.

Common Devices of Yesteryear Used to Cheat the Slots

Back in the days when slot machines still accepted and paid in coins, illicit gamblers found many ways to deceive them. The Nevada Gaming Control Board’s Deputy Chief of Special Investigations, James Taylor, showed off a few of the most common devices at the Las Vegas Mob Museum.One was referred to as The Yo-Yo; a simple tool that involved a string tied around a coin. The gambler would simply insert the coin, then manipulate it to trick the machine into thinking numerous coins were being deposited.

Shaved Coins were also popular. By simply grinding a coin down to a precise grade, the machine would reject it and spit it back out… but not before registering it as a genuine credit.

A somewhat more sophisticated invention was known as the Monkey Paw. It consisted of a bent metal paw attached to a guitar string that could be inserted, compelling the machine to release coins.

Devices Used to Cheat the Slots
photo Steve Marcus, LasVegasSun

Of course, none of these devices are in use by slots cheats today, as the technology used to secure gaming machines has advanced tenfold. The vast majority of them now use ticket-in, ticket-out printers, as well, eliminating the use of coins altogether.

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