Ronald Harris Ward worked for the Nevada Gaming Commission in the 1990s.
His job was to analyze and test the computer software used in the slot machines to establish if there were any flaws in the software.
Part of his job required him to travel around Las Vegas to check the slot machines for any errors which was quite a tedious job, but an essential one, to prevent cheating.
He knew all the inner and outer workings of the slot machines and was one of the few Nevada Gaming Employees who had access to the secret code which allowed him to reprogram the RNG (Random Number Generator) of the slot machine.
More specifically, he reprogrammed the slot machine’s software using EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory) which controlled the amount of money the machine paid out. Furthermore, it also influenced the precise time the slot machine would win.
He erased the existing memory of the slot machines micro-chips and replaced them with his own microchip which he programmed for the machine to payout when coins were inserted in a specific sequence.
The sequence he used was three coins for the first spin, two coins for the second spin, two for the third spin, one the fourth spin and so on.
Once he inserted the coins in his pre-formatted sequence, the machine would pay him out, and the cameras would not pick up anything suspicious.
However, He could not do this alone due to being an employee at the Nevada Gaming Board. Therefore he recruited an old unemployed friend called Reid McNeal to assist him.
McNeal would play the slot machines that Ward had programmed and whilst they made money from it, it was not enough, and they got greedy.
They decided to do one big payout of $100 000 on a Keno machine, but as the odds of hitting such a jackpot was 230 000 odds, it raised the suspicion of the casino.
Security followed Mcneal back to his hotel room where they found Ward and all the evidence. Both of them were arrested and charged, but Reid got off for giving evidence against Ward.
Ron Ward received a seven-year jail sentence.