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Billings man sells slot machines to CBS show "Vegas"

 BILLINGS - The new CBS TV show "Vegas" starts this week and a Billings man has made a contribution to production. Slots of Montana sold some of the props you would find in a old time Las Vegas casino.  "I enjoy it," said Lou Adler, owner of Slots of Montana. "It's intriguing and keeps me busy."  Adler refurbishes old slot machines.

I probably have more machines than anybody in the United States," Adler said. "In the neighborhood of 250 machines right now.   So, when producers of the new show "Vegas" needed slot machines, they called Adler. "Phone rang one day and this lady said she was from CBS television," Adler said. "and wanted to buy some slot machines for a production company for a show this fall." Adler sold 16 machines and said he's looking forward to seeing the machines on the new tv show. 

"Of course Dennis Quaid being in it, everybody knows him and it should be an exciting show," Adler said. "It's going to be interesting to see, whether they're going to be playing them or just use for a background. To buy that many, I would think they're actually going to go up and play them" 

"For a local little boy in Billings, Montana to go national with a bunch of slot machines, I thought it was neat," Adler said. Adler acquired his first slot machine in 1957 and started his company, Slots of Montana, in 1990. The new CBS show Vegas airs on Q2 on Tuesday at 9 p.m.

Topics: "Vegas", CBS, Slots of Montana, Billings, Montana, Lou Adler


The Slot King

Posted: Aug 20, 2013   11:32 AM MST

BILLINGS - The king of the one-armed bandits lives in Billings, Montana. In fact, there isn't anyone like him for miles and miles. KULR-8 Photojournalist Levi Adams found Lou Adler selling Christmas trees for the Knights of Columbus. He is a jack-of-all-trades, but make no mistake, he is the king of buying, selling and putting the cha-ching back in mechanical slot machines.

They work very simply. There's a coin drop up at the top and a gravity feed. You put it in, you pull the handle and they run,” said Lou. Lou Adler fell into his trade, decades ago, as a collector himself.

 “I had gotten a slot machine back in 1957 when they were almost illegal to possess. Got it out of Sheridan, Wyoming,” said Lou. Lou started taking a few mechanical slots to shows, and that's when he thought ‘Why not?’ Either retire sprucing up antique furniture, or place his signature “fix” on the shiny beauties.

The machines definitely won and now, he has a thriving business. “We play them; we check them; we test the payouts; we check the jackpots that they dump,” said Lou. About 250 of the machines, all with their own serial number, decorate shelf after shelf in Lou’s workshop. He sells about 60 to 70 a year, and repairs many more. “The big ones people really like are the Mills High Tops. They were made from ‘45 to ‘48,” said Lou.

Some of Lou’s collectibles can be found in Switzerland, Japan and France. So what is the draw to these collectibles in such faraway places and here at home? Probably as simple as the sound of money. “You put the coin in. You pull the lever. You hear the coin drop,” said Dale Swoboda who bought a slot machine. Dale Swoboda met Lou at a trade show, but he says it was a one-armed bandit that reached out and grabbed him. “The slot machine was something I’ve always wanted,” said Dale. To say Dale loves his collectibles is an understatement. He has an old phone booth and plenty of antique art, but the slots are in a class by themselves. “I won't go to Vegas because I’ll lose for sure. Here, I can retrieve my money, so it's a win-win situation,” said Dale.

It's definitely been a winner takes all gamble for Lou. “I am the only out there with it. I'm really not in competition with anybody. I try to stay in the fair market,” said Lou. Whether it's a slot for the family room or the man cave, penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half or silver dollar, the odds are good Lou can get it for you, or he can make the cha-ching sound like a lot of bling. “I consider it a hobby. Kind of a joke at shows, people say, how did you get into this, I say it's hobby that went wrong,” said Lou. Lou says in 1948, there were more slot machines in Montana than in Vegas. Today, his customers pay between $1,500 and $10,000 per one-armed bandit. And it usually takes
4,000 pulls before you hit the big jackpot.

Tags: KULR8   Slots of Montana   Lou Adler


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