Old Slot Machines – Where Do They Go?

The Liberty Bell was the first variation of the modern mechanical slot machine. Pictured above is creator Charles Fey

Those of us who play slots, and have been since the beginning of our recreational gambling, have had favorites that we loved to play.  I would travel to different  casinos around the country looking for them in joints that were old enough to have had them in inventory.  But, then there is the disappointment when we can’t find them anymore.  Miguel, our Rhode Island correspondent, could probably tell you where every “Hot Hot Penny” 5-reel slot is

Some slots have been on the casino floors for years, such as Bally’s “Hot Hot Jackpot.”

, or was, in New England, Atlantic City and Vegas casinos.  I am constantly on the prowl for Aristocrat’s “Betting Zoo” Cashman machine.

Of course, we all know why some slots stay for a few months, and why some machines stay in the casino floor inventory for years – money.  It it continues to make money, it stays – if not, bye-bye one-arm bandit.

We also know of those favorites that are on their last leg – the monitor is blurry or dis-colored, buttons have been replaced over and over, or the sound is non-existent.

So, as years go by, new slots take the place of older machines on the casino floor.  It begs the question, “Where Do the Old Slot Machines Go?”

Mark Pilarski of Vegas Master says, “Sadly, many of the beautiful, much-loved slot machines of yesterday are no longer with us.

Playing the Slots at the Taj Mahal, Atlantic City – early 90’s

Casinos want to squeeze as much out of a slot machine as they can, so many old slot machines which have been removed from the casino floor are sent off to the workshop to be dismantled and used for parts, or otherwise sold as scrap.”

Jawa in Star Wars.

Scrap?  Oh no, pictures of  Star Wars “R2D2” captured by Jawa come to mind, being sold with scrap in the original Star Wars in 1977.

But not all slot machines end their lives on the scrap heap, others are simply locked away in the basement of the casino.  I can see it now, as the vault opens, the whimpering of old slots can be heard  “pick me, pick me,” hoping to see the light of day in the casino one last time, only to have it opened up, or have it’s only arm ripped off for an aging slot still on the floor.  Oh, the horror…….

Double Diamond Slots, still popular today after all these years.

Casinos typically don’t get to buy as many new slots per year as they would like, so they end up hanging on to slots for many, many, years. They get taken off the floor by performance, so the worst titles are the ones that are coming off. By the time the casino gets around to getting rid of these, they are pretty much worthless to other casinos as they are very old and the title is usually unpopular.

Some older machines are sold.  Collectors buy them, or other casinos, especially on cruise ships or in North America, namely Caribbean Islands.  Some people buy them from collectors for home use. Only a few states, such as Arizona, allow for personal ownership.  And many of the newer machines with TITO technology (no coins) are not favorable for home usage.  Those with TITO have one problem for personal play – you need a gambling license to buy the paper for the tickets!

John Robinson, from Casino City Times, sums it up as follows:

“What a casino does when it’s finished with a slot machine depends on how it was acquired. If it was placed in the casino by the manufacturer on a participation basis (the casino and the manufacturer split the money won from the machine), the casino just asks the manufacturer to remove the machine. If the casino leased the machine, it asks the leasing company to take back the machine at the end of the lease. If a casino bought the machine, it sells it to a slot distributor or wholesaler.”

If you want to find a particular machine, just search for a used version of the machine on the Internet. Note that almost every state restricts private ownership of slot machines. You can find the restrictions for your state by searching on the Internet.

So, that’s where slot machines go after they have served their monetary purpose to the casino.  No slot Heaven, no Hall of Fame, just move along, you’re done Mr. Bandit.  Time is up.

Kinda sad?

NO! – They are just machines with a RNG that are played for our fun and the casino’s profit.  As Tim Dressen, of the popular Las Vegas Podcast “Five Hundy by Midnight” says, “Don’t get attached to things (in casinos, in Las Vegas) because change is bound to happen.”


That’s all for now.



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