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Topic: Rat race
Message: Posted by: cheaptrick (Sep 8, 2009 01:08PM)
I'm 70 years old, but I remember an ingenious scam I used to see at church carnivals and fireman's picnics in my county as a kid.

The operator had a large wheel (about 6 ft in diameter) that revolved in the center of his booth, and cages containing live rats.

The wheel had large holes cut around its rim. Each hole was marked with a different color, and the specs placed bets on the hole that the selected rat chose.

Rats, being color blind, one has to wonder if some skulduggery was involved, maybe using scent.

Sadly , we never see this wholesome family entertainment anymore.

It certainly was great fun for an 8 year old boy. Now, THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!

Message: Posted by: Kyf (Sep 9, 2009 12:54AM)
We still have that (but with ferret's) in the UK.

Our little village fair has a local with a circle (not moving) and 6 numbered tubes.

You bet on which tube the ferret will exit the system.

Not a scam though - just the standard 6:1 odds in favour of the house since this attracts a lot of interest and people bet evenly on all 6 exits.


Message: Posted by: cheaptrick (Sep 9, 2009 07:16AM)
Maybe this game wasn't rigged. It might have been pure chance.

Medium sized white rats were used. The operator gave the turntable a spin
then put the wee beastie on the revolving contraption.

He would have ample opportunity to drop a food pellet into one of the holes
(actually coffee cans fastened under the hole) when he gave this thing a spin.

I think this method was used because the rat might just sit there and enjoy his ride, but in this case it found its hole almost instantly.

Message: Posted by: Kyf (Sep 9, 2009 09:12AM)
Interesting - of course in the "ferret" game - we know the operator and everything is for the local sports club funds (village life is wonderful - all the takings go into funding village events - like the Christmas party) so there was no point in cheating.

But the rats - that does seem like he would have ample opportunity to "rig" the game.

The house odds still see very much in favour of the operator "Like the donkey derby" at fairs - my wife loves that game - house odds alone seem to be enough.

Over here (I'm in the UK) health and safety and the RSPCA (Royal Society for the prevention/practice of cruelty to animals) would not allow a spinning rate to exceed a certain pre-determined "safety" factor on the grounds that the rat may be "slightly confused" by spinning too fast and, as such, it's not a terribly nice thing to do to a rat.

My own view - I'd rig the game with explosives - making it tougher for the rat and more of a spectator sport.

In my game - you'd need a LOT of rats.....

Only joking - it's been one of those days.


Message: Posted by: cheaptrick (Sep 11, 2009 09:59AM)
As to the spinning rate. As I remember this, the wheel wasn't spun very fast,
so I don't think the speed would be an issue.

House odds would give a great return to the operator because this drew a fairly large audience and the betting was brisk.

Message: Posted by: Kyf (Sep 11, 2009 12:31PM)
So like the "donkey derby" this is a 5 losers to every winner.

Not sure you'd need to rig that further.

No if you combined that with the "Whack-a-rat" so the rat had a bit of risk.....
Message: Posted by: Robinmarx (Aug 16, 2011 12:31AM)
You dip your finger in ammonia if the marks play one color heavy, and touch the hole you don't want the rat to run into.
Message: Posted by: Steven Conner (Aug 16, 2011 06:49AM)
I use to run this as a kid many years ago with Goody's Million Dollar Midway and we used cheese to make the mouse go to certain boxes. It was one of the better moneymakers. I think it is still around, not sure.

Message: Posted by: bubbles (Jan 26, 2012 10:25PM)
Several carnivals in the US still operate Rat Roulette games.
Message: Posted by: Police Magician (Jan 27, 2012 07:53PM)
Dipping your finger in ammonia and also using the cheese are two ways to rig this to a flat game. Without it, it is gambling as chance is the only way to win.

The ones I have seen, including the one with one carnival is only one mouse let loose.

You are right, it is a money maker.

Message: Posted by: deadcatbounce (Mar 11, 2012 05:48PM)
Kyf, Odds of 5-1 against the punter are fair odds. In order for the "bookie" to make money, it has to be rigged, or no-one would make any money in the long run, if I read what you said correctly. House odds would have to be 4-1 against (or at least, less than 5-1) for the operator to win overall.

And anyway, where did you EVER see a Fair game NOT rigged? !! And by that I mean one offering fair odds?