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Cheating on coin-operated machines – Is it a crime?

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Coin-operated devices take on many forms and have just as many functions. They include vending machines, arcade cabinets, jukeboxes, laundromat units, slot machines, parking meters, gas pumps and turnstiles. Although similar gadgets that accept cashless payments exist, coin-op devices continue to be popular and in use across America.

But while they’re convenient and allow the sale of goods or services even if there’s no seller around, they’re also popular targets for anyone looking to cheat their way into getting a free item. It can be tempting to attempt to snag an item that you didn’t have to pay for – after all, there’s no storekeeper to stop you.

Rhode Island has laws that specifically prohibit cheating on coin-operated devices. Anyone who breaks the rule – or helps others cheat – can face fines and jail time on conviction.

Cheating on a device is a crime

According to state laws, anyone who operates any coin-op device by using a slug, counterfeited coin, or any other unauthorized method is committing the offense of cheating on coin-operated devices. It’s also a violation of the law to obtain goods from a coin-op machine without depositing a coin.

Those convicted of violating the law must pay a $100 fine and serve up to 30 days in jail.

Creating and distributing slugs is also a crime

Rhode Island also has regulations prohibiting the manufacturing, sale, advertising and distribution of slugs or other similar items that allow people to cheat on coin-op devices.

This is a more serious crime than simply cheating on a vending machine. A person convicted of the offense must pay a $500 fine and face up to a year in prison.

In summary, it’s a crime to cheat on coin-op devices, whether they’re vending machines, coin-box telephones or meters. This crime may not be as severe as actual theft or robbery, but a conviction still leaves a person with a criminal record. Those facing charges should carefully review their legal defense options.