How Do Coin Pushers Work in Casinos?


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Every land-based casino has an array of games that visitors can choose to play depending on their preference, and each gaming machine has its rule. Coin pushers games are one such game, although they have become less popular these days, unlike a few decades ago when they could be seen in most casinos. The reason for fewer people playing this game today can be attributed to the internet and the emergence of online casinos. In this article, we will briefly look at the origin of coin pusher games, how they work, and how casinos make money from them.

What is a coin pusher?

Coin pushers are exciting games filled with coins and sometimes different prizes, which sometimes include cash prizes. The game first found its way into casinos in the 1960s, and it was an exciting one to play, attracting many gamblers who would flock to casinos to claim no deposit free spins and enjoy a new game. It involves a player dropping coinage into a coin pusher machine, which continues to make a to-and-fro motion.

How do coin pushers work in a casino?

This machine has three coin ports, with the front port pushing forward and backward with dark holes on both sides:

  • The front port is the coinage port and the port for adding coins.
  • The other two ports on either side do not give out coins, while the ones placed on them are directly recycled.

When playing coin pusher games, the player drops coinage into the machine, which falls into one of the trays, and if a player is lucky, it will get pushed into the stack of coinage. Easy, quick, and less bloody than demanding $1 million during a robbery. This causes one or more to spill over the edge and be returned to the gambler as a win. Quarters, dollars, and even tokens can be used to play depending on the machine used, unlike other games that only accept a particular type of money.

Casino Machine Example Coin Pusher Game
Image: Toby Howard / Depositphotos

Some coin pushers allow the coin to drop onto the tray, while some coins flip up onto the tray by a spinner. Such games are called “Flip it”. The main aim of the machines in a casino is to set off a chain reaction that will push coins or prizes of the winners into a payout tray.

The machines return to equilibrium once games are complete, meaning they don’t stack a higher amount of coins than they are already used to. The average number of coins these machines can take is constant, no matter the number of games played. This is to avoid the machine getting overloaded with extra coinage, which will give an unfair advantage to whoever is gambling next so long as people play and win.

How a casino makes money through coin pushers?

Many casinos make money from this machine through the spillover from the games’ wins. When a punter wins a game and coins fall off to the extreme left or right edges, the machine sucks it up instead of giving the player. This way the casino makes money is unknown to most players as the holes on the edges are hidden behind and underneath signage. However, many ardent punters know about this and have expressed displeasure.

Do casinos still have coin pushers?

Nowadays, it is challenging to find such machines in gambling houses as most of these classic games are going to extinction. One of the reasons for this is that the devices used for these games are obsolete. Modern gaming houses only have new and trending games like slots and video poker. The machines only attract older players who grew up playing them, and since they are complicated to come by these days, it can be pretty challenging for punters to find.

Coin Pusher Arcade Machine Example
Image: Julija Lavrisceva / Depositphotos

It’s like trying to find an actual instructor instead of an online one because the latter can be more productive. Over the years, players have raised the question of why traditional games have lost popularity. Some say it’s because the machines used for such games are more challenging to maintain. In contrast, some said people had drifted away from games like that due to the introduction of modern casino games and their eye-catching features and technology.

Where can the coin pushers game be found?

As was stated earlier, these games are hard to find nowadays in modern casinos. Your best chance of coming across one today is if you pay a visit to ancient ones, which are also less visited, and this is because it is the only possible way to maintain such extinct machines used for gambling. You can also get to see one at a carnival or fair.

However, old establishments, where you are most likely to see coin pusher games, will opt for traditional games, which are slightly different from what the real deal looks like but closer to what you can get from coin pusher games. It is possible to find and play online pusher machines in an app version, but these games need more physical touch and experience of dropping the currency into the machine and watching the pile move forward.


Coin pushers machines were a common sight in most casinos a few decades back, but the trend has shifted as most players prefer online ones. The creation of other game types, like video poker, which players now prefer, makes it less profitable for a casino to keep this machine. The game is easy to play as it only involves dropping money into it and watching it pay you if you’re lucky.

Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Julija Lavrisceva. The photos (1, 2) in the body of the article were taken by Toby Howard and Julija Lavrisceva.

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