It’s a feeling that so many will understand. Spend an hour or two on a slot machine, just knowing that at any moment it is about to pay out, only to walk away with empty pockets and disapointment. Out of frustration, some may want to to smash the machine and teach it a lesson for being so cruel, but nobody actually does that, right?
One New York man certainly did. Thomas B. Waicul, was charged on February 26 after causing an estimated $1,500 in damages. The 47-year-old was arrested after punching a machine at the Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady, New York and now faces a felony charge.
It’s not the first time a man was arrested for assaulting a slot machine. In June, 2019 of last year, a Florida man was arrested after he punched a ‘Quick Hit’ slot machine at the Seminole Immokalee Casino in Fort Myers.
Richard Stewart, 62, was arrested after deputies arrived at the Seminole casino to discover that the front glass of the slot machine had undergone substantial damage. The deputies discovered shards of glass on the floor and that the machine was no longer functional. Stewart was arrested after he told police that he was not able to pay for the damages. He, too, was charged with criminal mischief.
Going back even further to January 2018, Dion King was charged with criminal mischief after assaulting a machine at the Northwood, Iowa casino known as Diamond Jo. The Mason City man caused $2,000 in damage after punching the touchscreen several times. The amount the King lost was not disclosed.
Nottingham Trent University Prof. Mark Griffiths explained that these violent reactions are totally understandable. “Even when you’re losing while you’re gambling, your body is still producing adrenalin and endorphins.”
Thankfully, some operators are already putting in measures to regulate those adrenalin levels, and hopefully avoid future Mr. Waiculs from smashing their machines, or from ruining their own lives. In November, 2019, the UK Betting and Gaming Council announced new artificial intelligence that would detect eratic play, and implement a ‘cooling off’ period with a mandatory break.