If you host regular poker nights at your house, you might’ve thought about introducing variety into your home-based casino nights. You might have even gone a step further and searched for slot machines on sale. Regardless of how entertaining that sounds, you might want to learn a bit more before you click on Buy.
Namely, purchasing slot machines in the United States is not as simple as it sounds. There is a lot more to it than simply making space for it in your game room. You will also have to check the legalities behind purchasing one. With that in mind, let’s see what it takes to buy a slot machine in the US.
Legality of Owning a Slot Machine
Surprisingly, the federal government does not decide whether owning a slot machine is legal or not. It’s the state you live in that sets the terms. Namely, each state has its own control boards and regulations that monitor gaming. To avoid any legal consequences, you need to get familiar with the gaming laws in your state.
Besides, you’ll notice some surprising names on the list. For instance, all forms of gambling are prohibited in Utah, yet purchasing a slot machine isn’t. The law is similar for states like Arkansas and Texas, where gambling is either illegal or heavily regulated.
On the other hand, some regulations won’t be at all surprising. For example, states like Nebraska, Alabama, and Tennessee prohibit the purchase of slot machines primarily due to their conservative values. Others, like Connecticut, outlaw individually owned slot machines to protect their native gambling industry.
Plenty of factors go into these regulations, so it’s challenging to keep up with all of them individually. However, to make your job a bit easier, I’ve collected information on all 50 states in the US and the legality of owning a slot machine. Take a look below.
|Legal to own machines 25 years or older||California|
|Legal to own machines manufactured before 1942||New Jersey|
|Legal to own machines manufactured before 1950||Georgia|
|Legal to own machines manufactured before 1952||Washington, DC|
|Legal to own machines manufactured before 1954||Vermont|
|Legal to own machines manufactured before 1984||Colorado|
Where to Buy Slot Machines?
With today’s technology and selection, your choices are abundant when it comes to buying slot machines. Aside from the obvious choice that is an online purchase, you can also get in touch with reputable retailers, manufactures, and distributors.
It all depends on what type of machine you want to purchase and how much money you’re willing to pay for it. But, before all, you need to make sure you’re dealing with people who know their stuff. If you see an online ad for a $20 slot machine, it’s probably a scam.
With that in mind, let’s dive deeper into the available options.
Resellers and Retailers
When it comes to slot machine resellers, there are a few well-known US-based options that you should consider. The ones worth mentioning include:
- Bright’s Antique Slot Machines
- Gamblers Oasis
- San Diego Antique Slot Machines
- Slot Machines Unlimited
- Slot Machines USA
- Wee Chin Electric Machinery Inc.
When you visit these places or get in touch with them, you’ll be offered a variety of used slot machines. What’s more, you might even learn an interesting story about their history that you can take home and pass on.
What does the purchase process look like? For example, if you opt to visit the family-run business Slot Machines Unlimited, you’ll see an abundance of refurbished-to-order machines, which are specifically tailored for home use. Even second-hand slot machines don’t come cheap — expect to set aside around $1,000 for big brand names like Konami and Bally.
On the other hand, if you have the dough to purchase brand new machines, you should go straight to the providers. Simply pick your favorite slot retailer and get in touch with them. In many cases, you’ll deal with casinos that act as intermediaries.
Be sure to do in-depth research so as not to miss out on anything. Bear in mind that there are some advantages to this type of purchase, like a warranty and a receipt.
Online and Auctions
If you’re on a tight budget but still want to purchase a high-quality slot machine, online sales and auctions have proved to be a good choice. It’s up to you whether you prefer to pay full price or enjoy the thrill of an online auction. Some of the sites you can visit to find what you’re looking for include eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, and even Etsy.
On some of these sites, you’ll find plenty of functioning antique slot machines if those are more your cup of tea. For example, eBay is the mother-lode for antique slots. So, you’ll be able to find slot machines costing thousands of dollars or purchase spare antique parts for personal projects.
You’ll also be able to find slot machines from industry titans like Amaya, Bally, IGT, Konami, WMS Gaming, and more.
Before you make a purchase, do some research about the seller. Check their previous reviews and online status to make sure you’re not dealing with a fraud. There should always be a dose of suspicion when it comes to online purchases.
What to Consider When Buying a Real Slot Machine
As with any big purchase, you should consider a few things when purchasing a real slot machine.
- Glass or plexiglass — It might not sound like a big deal, but you’ll notice a significant shift in the price between machines with real glass and those with plexiglass. Real glass is more durable, and it will withstand the test of time, while plexiglass fades over time. The extra cost is worth it, in my opinion, as a faded plexiglass screen on a slot machine is a terrible nuisance.
- Third-party sellers — If you spend a lot of time on slot machine research, you might notice many third-party sellers. Namely, plenty of online sellers do not own the slot machines they’re selling but simply take your order, purchase the machine from someone else, and ship it to you. With third-party sellers, you’ll probably pay more than the machine’s original price. You’ll recognize these sellers by their stock images or those taken from the official dealer’s website.
- Budget — Before you make a purchase, determine your budget. Think of the maximum amount you’re willing to spend on a slot machine, but include the shipping cost and any extra repairs that the device might require. By factoring everything in, you’ll be able to make a more informed and budget-friendly decision.
- Repairs — You should expect some repairs with second-hand slot machines. It’s not often that you’ll find a used slot machine in premium condition, but even those might need some refurbishment due to their age. Only purchase second-hand machines if you’re prepared to make additional repairs.
- Size — Real slot machines might not look big among their peers in land-based casinos, but they are huge for a regular-sized home. Think about its size and the delivery process. Will you be able to get it through the door and inside your house or apartment?
- Dedicated space — Lastly, don’t spend thousands of dollars on a slot machine if you don’t have a dedicated space for it. Think about the practicality of having a slot machine in your living space if you don’t have a separate gaming room or place in your garage.
How to Pick the Right Slot Machine?
Many factors come into play when picking the right slot machine for you and your home. Since they come in different shapes and sizes, you might want to think about how they fit into your home’s aesthetic, especially if you live with your family.
Aside from that, you should think about the games that you typically enjoy playing on slot machines. Are you more of a vintage slot machine fan or a trend follower? Does an antique machine or a brand-new toy fit in your game room better?
Some slot machine enthusiasts believe they don’t make them like they used to, so they opt for a classic one-armed bandit machine. If you’re looking for something with greater variety, a device with touch-screen technology or a 5-reel machine is a great choice. Consider how many people will use the machine and whether you want a coin- or paper-operated machine.
Regardless of your final choice, be prepared to sign some paperwork once you purchase the slot machine.