The breakthrough in exposing fruit-machine cheating was the invention of the "emulator". This is a program which will run on any normal PC, and enables the PC to act precisely like a real-life fruit machine, by executing the actual program code from the real fruit machine's ROM chips.

This is NOT a "simulation", ie "something which just acts a bit like the real thing". This IS the real thing. As far as the program code is concerned, it doesn't know it's running on a PC. It thinks it's running on a real physical fruit machine and acts in exactly the same way in all circumstances (except money doesn't actually come out of your PC).

Real Eastenders fruit machine.


Eastenders fruit machine running on PC.

The difference is, with the PC you can save the contents of the machine's memory at a particular point during play, continue with the game, and then reload the memory back to its previous state. In effect, you're travelling back in time to the point before you pressed the button. In this way, it's possible to see what would have happened if you'd pressed "Higher" instead of "Lower", or if you'd held those two cherries instead of letting them spin. And in almost all cases, no matter what you chose, the result would be the same.

FairPlay has conducted repeated experiments on a wide variety of machines, and in every case has found that the machines cheat (ie predetermine the outcome regardless of what the player does) for more or less their entire play cycle. A more detailed account of the nature of this cheating can be found here.

In short, every fruit machine in the UK cheats everyone who plays it on more or less every single spin of the reels.


You don't have to take our word for it, though. You can try it out for yourself on your own PC. You'll need the following files:

The PC emulator - Download
The Eastenders program files - Download

When you unzip the above files into a folder, you'll notice a file called "EASTENDERS.RAM". This is the machine's "saved memory state". Every time you quit the emulation, the machine saves its memory to this file. If you copy the RAM file out of the folder to a different folder anywhere on your PC, you can copy it back in at any time to restore the machine to that state. (You'll overwrite the existing RAM file.)

So by saving the RAM file before an event (you can only save at the start of a "credit", not in the middle of a gamble), playing out the event, then loading the RAM file back in and playing the event out the other way, you can see that no matter what you do, the machine will generate the result it wants.

Alternatively, you can use a program called VMWare to run the fruit machine emulator in a virtual environment, which allows you to save a "snapshot" of the machine at any time - including in the middle of a gamble - and reload it back in at will. See the program's own documentation to see how to do this, but it's very easy.

So now we've established beyond any doubt that the fruit machine is cheating. What can we do about it?

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