How to be a Slot Machine Technician
What is a slot machine technician?
Described in a few words, a slot machine technician is one of a very special and rare breed of people.
They are sometimes referred to as ‘Miracle Workers’, although very few appreciate their hard work and efforts. This is because very few people understand what they do. For the greater majority, anything that goes wrong with a piece of equipment is usually because of a blown ‘fuse’, or a ‘resistor’. Everybody has heard those technical terms, so that is as far as their expertise in this field goes. The person who has to troubleshoot and repair equipment has to have far more know-how than only knowing that fuses and resistors exist.
I’ve been an electronics tech forever, and a slot tech for a very long time, and I love it, well, most of the time anyway.
The amount of satisfaction one gets from repairing a piece of equipment is almost short of…well, I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Slot techs, for short, are technicians with electrical and electronic skills.
Don’t panic after reading the last sentence as it’s not as complicated as you might think, believe me. All you need is to have an amount of interest, a sense of logic, and the rest is hands-on.
The main role of a slot technician is to maintain, inspect and repair slot machines found in casinos. Other gambling establishments are also included, such as floating casinos.
The Electronic and Mechanical Side of a Slot Machine
Working on the mechanical side of a slot machine can be pretty boring, but it still is an important job that needs doing.
As an electronics technician, I much rather use a multimeter and a mains tester screwdriver than a pair of pliers. Yet, that is not always possible.
Slot techs can, apart from troubleshooting and repair a wide variety of slot machines, install them as well. They have no nine-to-five job as they work on a shift system as most casinos operate 24/7.
Apart from the above, they perform regular maintenance, as well as keep logs, and they have a list of jobs as long as your arm to attend to.
This includes machine movements, game software installations, conversions, upgrades – both hardware and software.
Keeping the machines working involves having spare parts available when needed.
This might fall under the slot technician’s list of jobs. But, it depends on the casino’s policies as there could be somebody else in charge of part orders, etc.
Depending on your location, a slot technician is only responsible for slot machines. Yet, the same tech might also work on card shufflers, chipping machines, and other Pit equipment.
Casino Pit Technicians
At times, a dedicated team of technicians is specially assigned for this job, and are referred to as Pit Technicians. Apart from the shufflers and chippers, their role includes table moves, roulette wheels, and display repair, general cleaning, overhauls, and preventive maintenance.
Pit Technician’s duties still fall under electrical and electronics, so for any Pit Technician reading this, you’re covered.
Other jobs which fall under your belt, as a slot technician, would be to scan the gaming floor for anything which isn’t working as it should. Having a decent pair of shoes saves on your leg’s wear and tear.
During your shift, you’re asked directions to the restrooms, Cash Desk, smoking areas, and even the exit.
It won’t be the first time you’re asked to assist patrons about particular games. You then end up giving a whole lesson about the game itself. More so, if there is nobody else covering the floor at that moment in time.
Ticket In Ticket Out (TITO)
If your casino uses TITO (Tickets In Tickets Out), you’ll also have the job of topping up tickets when these run out in a machine.
Most of the time, you’ll be in radio contact with your colleagues, who can contact you should your presence be needed.
Mixing with people is part of the fun. You will find those who adore the ground you walk on, so much so that they even bring you gifts in the form of sweeties. But, you’ll find those who think you’re responsible for their monetary losses…and if looks could kill.
Remember, you’re the one who repairs and sets their slot machines.
The bottom line is that you can’t please them all.
Remember, too, that even though you can be extremely hassled and in a foul mood, you’re still expected to smile, greet guests, and make them feel welcome. This is brilliant in theory, but sadly, in practice, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Being savvy in electronics helps a great deal when you decide to wear a slot tech’s hat.
As a technician, you run diagnostics and carry out any repair in the shortest possible time. In a casino, time is money, and a machine that’s out of action is a machine that’s not making any money.
Repairs include monitors, both modern and old CRT units, bill acceptors, power supply units, hoppers, coin comparators, TITO printers, and other electronic-related equipment.
You are also responsible for the organization of the workshop, along with the possibility of ordering spares.
The Importance of a good slots floor supervisor
A slot tech’s best friend is a good floor supervisor.
A floor supervisor keeps an eye on the machines. This includes resetting machines after pay-outs, ticket duties, and resolving complaints from customers. If it wasn’t for floor supervisors, all these jobs, which might include some form of first-aid on a machine, would otherwise have to be carried out by a slot tech.
One final word of warning: Expect to repair shoes, handbags, and even spectacles…but all that is part of the fun.
Note: Because of the wide variety of work entrusted to slot technicians, no suitable job title can describe them. A slot technician is also known as a ‘lifesaver, or a multi-tasking super-hero having nerves of steel.
In other words, describing them as vital to any casino is nothing short of an understatement.