They’re talking about a casino manager or the designers of games intentionally altering or designing a game to allow illegal manipulation. Does this happen? Every industry has its share of scofflaws who rip people off. Thankfully, modern game design (not to mention regulatory practices) has all but eliminated this kind of behaviour from gambling venues.
Because today’s poker machines are digital (motherboards have replaced tension springs and physical reels of symbols) it would be very difficult for a casino to alter a game. Let alone control the rewarding of jackpots or set a game up so that it hands out short pays on purpose. To do so, a casino’s manager would almost have to collude with a game’s designer or hire someone to come in and mess with a game’s random number generator, software, or other internal parts. That creates a paper trail. It also involves more people, and the more humans involved in a scam, the more likely it is to be discovered.
These days, pokie manufacturers and gambling sites (online or land-based) that host poker machines must adhere to strict regulations. And pass testing by third-party auditing groups. All casino games also record all aspects of performance, including wins, losses, pay-ins, and payouts. This information would alert the authorities immediately to any wrongdoing.
Some online casinos have ripped customers off in the past, and no doubt it will happen in the future. The best way to avoid playing on a rigged pokie is to only do business with real money casino sites that have randomness and fairness certification for their games. The same goes for land-based gambling venues. If you do your poker machine play with a casino you trust, one that has a good history of customer service, and one that operates legally, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
The bottom line is that pokies are always going to be profitable for the casino, not the player–at least in the long run. There isn’t any way for bettors to overcome the advantage they provide to casinos. They are built to earn money; no one has to cheat at a pokies game for it to turn a profit for the casino.