Antique Italian Gambling Machine
Antique crap game, it's the Italian version of the French "Epatant".
Dice games like this, with their relatively simple internal mechanism, were amongst the earliest trade stimulators, and were known as "zanzibars" or "zanzi-bars". Pushing a 5 centime coin into the slot caused the green circular plate inside the glass dome to vibrate vigorously, thus "throwing" the dice. This model, called "L'Epatant" was manufactured by Charles Barrier in Lyon around 1900.
There were two
ways of playing - either against another patron, or alone against the
The scoring guide explained the rules of the
game, and listed the prices of the drinks that
could be won. Although the tariffs look enticingly
attractive, in reality, as with all gambling
machines, the odds were heavily stacked in
favour of the house. It's statistically most likely
that the total score of 5 dice rolled
simultaneously will lie in the range 11 to 23 - and
it's generally these numbers, apart from the
cunningly included 15, which didn't pay out,
resulting in the patron losing his 5 centimes bet.
In perfect working condition, it's tall 28 cm.