When it comes to slots cheaters, none are more infamous than Tommy Carmichael. Born in 1950, Carmichael developed a strong knowledge of mechanical devices while growing up. He initially tried to use this knowledge in a good way, by repairing TVs and other electronics in the 1980s. However, this didn’t prove very lucrative, so Carmichael embarked on another career path.
Introduced to Slots Cheating
Ray Ming, a friend who was living in Las Vegas, came to Carmichael’s repair shop one day with a slot machine and “top-bottom joint,” which could be used to take coins from slot machines. It was at this point that Carmichael realized how easy it was to cheat slots and he quickly moved to Vegas.
Business was good for him as he used the top-bottom joint to earn a nice living. However, after cheating for five years, he was finally caught at a Denny’s restaurant slot machine; the result was a 5-year prison sentence for Carmichael.
As they often say, prison doesn’t reform people, but rather teach them to be better criminals. The same was the case for Carmichael, who admittedly used his prison days to devise new ways to cheat slots.
The “monkey’s paw” was one product of his incarceration time, and Carmichael could use this device to make over $1,000 an hour while ripping off slot machines. Vegas casinos would eventually phase out mechanical machines and move to video slots, but Carmichael had an answer for this too; the “light wand,” which tricked a game’s optical scanner into thinking that a win had just occurred.
In the late 1990s, Carmichael began taking heat since he was selling his light wand for thousands of dollars to prospective cheaters. The FBI was eventually able to prove that Carmichael was selling a cheating device, and he was sentenced to 326 days in jail (time served) and three years of probation.
After this, Carmichael actually began using his cheating skills to help casinos catch criminals. However, the Nevada Gaming Commission would eventually rule that Carmichael couldn’t access personnel records to catch cheaters, effectively bringing a quick end to this new chapter.
Barred from casinos for life, at least Carmichael won’t ever have to worry about getting in trouble for cheating in slots again.