Arcade Claw Machines are Rigged — Please Fake Like You’re Shocked
An arcade owner and operator in central California admitted, in an IAMA session on Reddit, that those addictive claw machines — wherein you endlessly attempt to grab a plush toy, fake sports jersey or other random goodie with a three-pronged claw that you maneuver via a control on the outside of the glass — are fixed! Our world is crumbling!
The owner, who goes by the user name TheDJTec, explained that the machines are only required by law (in California -- laws vary by state) to allow for a 1-in-12 chance of winning. Various factors, such as changing the claw's PSI, can be adjusted. PSI is "pound per square inch" - a unit of pressure measurement - which explains why sometimes the claw seems like it's grabbing like flaccid fingers and other times magically lift your prize.
"Yes. Indeed they are!," TheDJTec readily offers to the question: "Are the claws rigged?"
"Under California law my claws are set to 1/12 which means 1/12 players will have a chance to win. The example I used before is a 'toy' requires 10 PSI to lift. My claw during 11/12 tries will apply 4-6 PSI, or just enough to shuffle it or barely pick it up. During the 1/12 tries the claw will apply 9-11 PSI, sometimes picking it up and dropping, some successful."
We guess the way to beat the system is to watch eleven other suckers try to grab something, then swoop in and claim your toy (which never adds up to the amount of change you insert anyway).