Slot Machine!

Robert F Jarvis

Active Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Location
Sebring, FL, USA
We're doing Tuna Does Vegas and need a slot machine. Local stores have some toy ones but we need something bigger. Will make a mock up if we have to with LED tape for flashing lights etc. Just wondered if anyone has any ideas on the subject.
 

bobgaggle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Location
Philadelphia, PA
Ive built a slot machine or two. They're easy to slap together with some plywood. Pretty paint heavy if you want a realistic looking thing. It starts to get complicated if you want a functioning handle and the mechanism inside. What do you want to know?
 
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TimMc

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Joined
Feb 15, 2017
I'm not familiar with the script. Is it a practical? Does it need to pay out or have jackpot simulation? Does the reel display need to be visible to the audience?
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Joined
May 28, 2009
Location
Phoenix, Az
Call your local casino and tell them you will slap their label on the front of it or put their name in the brochure. Casinos love free PR.
 

RonHebbard

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Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
It's a very humorous production and somewhat tongue in cheek. It could be a cardboard mock up really. I can always add LED tape and use audio files to emulate effect. It's not a big deal merely wondered if others had done anything similar.
@Robert F Jarvis Decades ago I portrayed the IA LX Head in a Canadian Automation and Scenery shop. In 1995 we built all 9 of the pinball machines for the Offenbach / Frankfurt, Germany production of the Who's Rock Opera 'Tommy'. A year later we built all of 'Tommy' again for London, England's Shaftesbury. None of the machines were actually playable, they were all sturdy enough for choreography and dancers plus they all lit under control of the ETC Obsession LX board. Some machines were powered via 6 dimmable circuits while others were powered via 12 dimmable circuits.

The large, automated, machine was automated via three Emerson Electric AC Servo's and also fired Pyro-Pack pyro, both percussive noise makers and errupting bursts of flames. The big automated machine also had pneumatic jacks to lift its casters off the floor for greater stability while throwing Tommy about.
Our shop also built an over-size slot machine display with three over-size spinning wheels for Tussaud's Las Vegas in 1999, the Tussaud's machine sat there periodically spinning, winding down to a halt and occasionally with two or three wheels matching and accompanying audio tracks playing.
Never built any pinball machines which were actually playable as games of chance.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

RonHebbard

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Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Tommy is one of my favorite shows. No one puts it on often enough, probably because of the complexity.
From memory there were 22 axis of AC servo automated drives plus a 90 VDC variable speed main traveller drive and two more 90 VDC motors to spin the props on the bomber. It was an interesting production to build.
Myself and three others from our shop spent six weeks in Offenbach with the production through previews, its press opening and its public opening night.
A year later a fresh build of the same production was loaded in, up and opening in Londpn's West End's Shaftesbury.

Our shop also built the large automated machine a third time for a Toronto based production which played a limited tour in Canada.
At some point, we also built all eight of the smaller pin ball machines for the second or third U.S. / Canada International touring production.
Lots of fun, lots of good memories; still in touch with a few of my fellow shoppies who built the automation and sets.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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macsound

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Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
We had a light-up proscenium that looked like the scoreboard of the pinball machine. All black tinted plexi with color and art inside, so when they were off they looked black. Weighed a ton.
Stage floor with tracking.
No crew was allotted for the weekly strike and reset (community theatre) so we hired a local soccer team, who one of the players was dating the producer's daughter, as crew help.
 

RonHebbard

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Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
We had a light-up proscenium that looked like the scoreboard of the pinball machine. All black tinted plexi with color and art inside, so when they were off they looked black. Weighed a ton.
Stage floor with tracking.
No crew was allotted for the weekly strike and reset (community theatre) so we hired a local soccer team, who one of the players was dating the producer's daughter, as crew help.
@macsound Ahh, Voluntold at its finest! Understood.

In the full bore productions there were 6 full width automated tracks in the decks, two approximately 6" to 8" apart Downstage, two more similarly spaced Midstage and two more Upstage. All six of those tracks were each motivated by an Emerson 4120 AC Servo and all six ran off stage past the legs and site lines 10 or 12 feet into the wings on either side for presetting and off loading.

From memory, the ETC Obsession controlled 621 channels with a few gaps.
The prosc's were topped by a multitude of neon tubes in three colors (Yellow, Orange and Red), I've forgotten the set designer's term for the neon lights atop the prosc'.
One thing I'll NEVER forget is the channel numbers for the neon tubes in the "Pelmet"; there's that term I couldn't remember.
The Pelmet's neon tubes were channels 601 through 621 inclusive.
Here's why I'll never forget / live down those numbers.

In Offenbach our dimmers were shoe-horned into a tiny room barely off stage DSR.
During our weeks of set up and focusing, the ETC Obsession was set up on a folding table in the tiny dimmer room immediately adjacent to the dimmers.
Dave Grill was Tommy's Associate lighting designer. Dave arrived in Offenbach with his familiar, well finessed, cues ready to load into the waiting Obsession for final touch up focusing and adjusting of levels, all Varilite cues were loaded into a separate Varilite console.

Prior to Dave's arrival, one of my jobs had been to fully test all dimmers, the hard-patch, two-fers, cables, multi-cables ellipsoidals, Fresnels, pin ball machine and set piece lights to ensure all was in readiness for Dave's arrival.
Dave flew in on schedule and the only lamps in the rig I had not personally seen were the 21 channels of neon tubes high atop the Pelmet.
I told Dave this upon his arrival and he said no problem he'd be at least a day and a half doing focusing touch ups before he needed to cue the Pelmet.

I was intimately familiar with Strand's LP90 but NOT ETC's Obsession.
Dave Grill was onstage with a wired hand-held calling up channels or groups and calling focus touch ups to two or three German electricians.
Dave knew his numbers and his way around the Obsession's wired hand-held remote.
Over the course of a few days, I'd confirmed the hard patch functionality of ALL lamps, including all lamps within the pin ball machines and scenic elements.
The only lamps I hadn't seen were the multitude of neon tubes high atop the Pelmet (They'd been the last neon we installed).

The only place where all tubes within the Pelmet could be seen was partway back in the venue's 2nd balcony.
Dave would punch up the channel or group he wanted then, in a gap I'd use the Obsession's local keyboard in the dimmer room to call up "Channels 601 through 621 @ Full." then head out to the lobby, walk up to the 2nd balcony, walk up high enough in the 2nd balcony to catch site of all the neon tubes within the Pelmet.
Time after time after time, I'd hike up to the 2nd balcony only to find Dave had completed whatever he was focusing, took ALL channels to zero and called up a new channel or group.
I grew tired of hiking, Dave was busy and I didn't want to disturb him.
AND THEN I BLEW IT!!!

I was aware of the Obsession's "Park" command but had never used it.
After a last minute check of the manual, I waited until Dave had entered his next channels to focus then QUICKLY hammered: "601 through 621 @ Full Park" or whatever the correct syntax was.
The dimmer racks practically leapt from the floor, the room lights dimmed slightly and the hum off the dimmers increased dramatically.

In my haste not wising to interrupt Dave, I'd not hit the "0" key hard enough and my desired 601 through 621 inadvertently became
"61 through 621 @ Full PARK."
OOPS!!! Not disturb Dave, I dang near blinded him!!

It took a few moments to realize my keying error and, not being familiar with an Obsession, I was reading the manual to learn how to 'Unpark' channels when Dave staggered into the dimmer room and unparked the channels.

That was 1995, to this day I've never forgotten the channel numbers for the Pelmet and I doubt I ever will.
All lessons are valuable; some teach how to, others how not to and a few how NEVER to.
Thanks @macsound for the memories.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Joined
May 28, 2009
Location
Phoenix, Az
Now that is a great idea. We have a casino about 15 miles from here and I will call them on the morning. Thanks
Ask for their marketing manager. If they say no it’s only 15 mins away go in there. Face to face will get better results.
 
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RonHebbard

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Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Ask for their marketing manager. If they say no it’s only 15 mins away, go in there. Face to face will get better results.
Even an older machine, perhaps one in need of service, will likely suffice for your purposes.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

DrewE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Location
Vermont
Even an older machine, perhaps one in need of service, will likely suffice for your purposes.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
An older machine might well be better, in fact, as most modern ones are basically video games (with computer screens for the interesting bits) and quite probably would tend to glare or get washed out or both under stage lighting.

There may very well be some legal requirement to have it not be operational in a gambling/winning money sense. That doesn't mean it can't flash and spin and stuff, of course, just that it can't take in and/or pay out real money. The casino and you quite possibly could be subjecting yourself to significant penalties if it did/could. I'm sure the exact laws vary greatly in different areas.
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Joined
May 28, 2009
Location
Phoenix, Az
An older machine might well be better, in fact, as most modern ones are basically video games (with computer screens for the interesting bits) and quite probably would tend to glare or get washed out or both under stage lighting.

There may very well be some legal requirement to have it not be operational in a gambling/winning money sense. That doesn't mean it can't flash and spin and stuff, of course, just that it can't take in and/or pay out real money. The casino and you quite possibly could be subjecting yourself to significant penalties if it did/could. I'm sure the exact laws vary greatly in different areas.
While I’m not a lawyer I doubt there would be a law against borrowing a machine to pull the lever. Even if it was spose to pay out for your show you could rig it to pay out regardless without it altering the machines insides, which might be against the law. Also depending on the size of the show the law might not even care as its for fun and entertainment and not actual gambling.
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
@macsound Ahh, Voluntold at its finest! Understood.

In the full bore productions there were 6 full width automated tracks in the decks, two approximately 6" to 8" apart Downstage, two more similarly spaced Midstage and two more Upstage. All six of those tracks were each motivated by an Emerson 4120 AC Servo and all six ran off stage past the legs and site lines 10 or 12 feet into the wings on either side for presetting and off loading.

From memory, the ETC Obsession controlled 621 channels with a few gaps.
The prosc's were topped by a multitude of neon tubes in three colors (Yellow, Orange and Red), I've forgotten the set designer's term for the neon lights atop the prosc'.
One thing I'll NEVER forget is the channel numbers for the neon tubes in the "Pelmet"; there's that term I couldn't remember.
The Pelmet's neon tubes were channels 601 through 621 inclusive.
Here's why I'll never forget / live down those numbers.

In Offenbach our dimmers were shoe-horned into a tiny room barely off stage DSR.
During our weeks of set up and focusing, the ETC Obsession was set up on a folding table in the tiny dimmer room immediately adjacent to the dimmers.
Dave Grill was Tommy's Associate lighting designer. Dave arrived in Offenbach with his familiar, well finessed, cues ready to load into the waiting Obsession for final touch up focusing and adjusting of levels, all Varilite cues were loaded into a separate Varilite console.

Prior to Dave's arrival, one of my jobs had been to fully test all dimmers, the hard-patch, two-fers, cables, multi-cables ellipsoidals, Fresnels, pin ball machine and set piece lights to ensure all was in readiness for Dave's arrival.
Dave flew in on schedule and the only lamps in the rig I had not personally seen were the 21 channels of neon tubes high atop the Pelmet.
I told Dave this upon his arrival and he said no problem he'd be at least a day and a half doing focusing touch ups before he needed to cue the Pelmet.

I was intimately familiar with Strand's LP90 but NOT ETC's Obsession.
Dave Grill was onstage with a wired hand-held calling up channels or groups and calling focus touch ups to two or three German electricians.
Dave knew his numbers and his way around the Obsession's wired hand-held remote.
Over the course of a few days, I'd confirmed the hard patch functionality of ALL lamps, including all lamps within the pin ball machines and scenic elements.
The only lamps I hadn't seen were the multitude of neon tubes high atop the Pelmet (They'd been the last neon we installed).

The only place where all tubes within the Pelmet could be seen was partway back in the venue's 2nd balcony.
Dave would punch up the channel or group he wanted then, in a gap I'd use the Obsession's local keyboard in the dimmer room to call up "Channels 601 through 621 @ Full." then head out to the lobby, walk up to the 2nd balcony, walk up high enough in the 2nd balcony to catch site of all the neon tubes within the Pelmet.
Time after time after time, I'd hike up to the 2nd balcony only to find Dave had completed whatever he was focusing, took ALL channels to zero and called up a new channel or group.
I grew tired of hiking, Dave was busy and I didn't want to disturb him.
AND THEN I BLEW IT!!!

I was aware of the Obsession's "Park" command but had never used it.
After a last minute check of the manual, I waited until Dave had entered his next channels to focus then QUICKLY hammered: "601 through 621 @ Full Park" or whatever the correct syntax was.
The dimmer racks practically leapt from the floor, the room lights dimmed slightly and the hum off the dimmers increased dramatically.

In my haste not wising to interrupt Dave, I'd not hit the "0" key hard enough and my desired 601 through 621 inadvertently became
"61 through 621 @ Full PARK."
OOPS!!! Not disturb Dave, I dang near blinded him!!

It took a few moments to realize my keying error and, not being familiar with an Obsession, I was reading the manual to learn how to 'Unpark' channels when Dave staggered into the dimmer room and unparked the channels.

That was 1995, to this day I've never forgotten the channel numbers for the Pelmet and I doubt I ever will.
All lessons are valuable; some teach how to, others how not to and a few how NEVER to.
Thanks @macsound for the memories.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
Thank YOU for the memories Ron. I'm looking on the MTi website now to try and find a production of it this year. Looks like an LA suburb might be in the cards to bring back even more memories.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
While I’m not a lawyer I doubt there would be a law against borrowing a machine to pull the lever. Even if it was spose to pay out for your show you could rig it to pay out regardless without it altering the machines insides, which might be against the law. Also depending on the size of the show the law might not even care as its for fun and entertainment and not actual gambling.
In Kansas, I can assure you that no casino owned by the Kansas Lottery (which is all of them, save those run by Native tribes) will provide anything. The control over machines is incredibly tight, and the Tribal Gaming Commissions are equally strict. They are concerned that machines outside of their control could lead to modifications or hacks that could compromise the security of all similar machines from the same manufacturer, more than being concerned about their use as gambling devices, although that is part of the reasoning as well.

I hold a Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission license as a non-gaming vendor...
 

NateTheRiddler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2018
Location
Arizona, US
The control over machines is incredibly tight, and the Tribal Gaming Commissions are equally strict.
I wasn’t originally going to comment because I don’t have enough prop/theatrical experience (imho) to do so, but growing up in Las Vegas, and having worked in television studios that wished to use slot machines of various types as props... I can say you will not want to deal with casinos or their operating organizations. The internal workings of slot machines in Las Vegas are covered under some insanely terrifyingly strict NDAs. Internal operation is “the house edge” and is what keeps casinos floating in deep green.

IF you were to get a slot machine, and demonstrate its operation in any way, and that slot machine were the current or previous proprietary property of an operating gambling house... I imagine it could live in some legal gray area.

Now, my personal cynicism and opinions aside, I would recommend abstracting a slot machine, using projection, or getting clever in other prop/scenic ways. I think it would be safer, a better creative challenge, and would be more fun.

Feel free to put me in my place, if appropriate. XD
 
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TimMc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
I wasn’t originally going to comment because I don’t have enough prop/theatrical experience (imho) to do so, but growing up in Las Vegas, and having worked in television studios that wished to use slot machines of various types as props... I can say you will not want to deal with casinos or their operating organizations. The internal workings of slot machines in Las Vegas are covered under some insanely terrifyingly strict NDAs. Internal operation is “the house edge” and is what keeps casinos floating in deep green.

IF you were to get a slot machine, and demonstrate its operation in any way, and that slot machine were the current or previous proprietary property of an operating gambling house... I imagine it could live in some legal gray area.

Now, my personal cynicism and opinions aside, I would recommend abstracting a slot machine, using projection, or getting clever in other prop/scenic ways. I think it would be safer, a better creative challenge, and would be more fun.

Feel free to put me in my place, if appropriate. XD
Not needed, you're in the right place. State and tribal regulations govern the transfer and disposal of used gaming equipment and if a machine could be used as a gaming device, typically they can only go to another licensed facility or a licensed refurbisher/distributor or back to the manufacturer.

There's a metric poop-load of files in a current gaming device that have to be inspected and certified by each state or tribal gaming authority - I see the list after every KRGC meeting of newly approved and removed software (public record, in the Commission minutes). Unauthorized changes to any one of them disqualifies a machine or group of machines from use, and this includes failure to do all updates at the same time.

I think the props dept should have fun with this... Sure, one can buy a de-commissioned slot machine on eBay (it's been stripped of its coin and money handling) but where's the fun in that?