Price Is Right Host Recalls Thinking He'd Go to Jail Over Rigged Plinko Game

As anyone who has ever watched The Price is Right knows some of the games on the long-running game show are simply iconic, including Plinko. The game sees a contestant drop chips down a pegboard where it can land in any one of nine spaces assigned some sort of monetary value depending on where the chip falls. It's a game that, while simple, can be exciting to watch but according to host Drew Carey, the game nearly caused a scandal -- and made him worry he'd go to jail -- over it accidentally being "fixed" to produce a large-dollar win.

During an appearance on the SiriusXM show Jeff & Larry's Comedy Roundup (via ScreenRant) explained that a behind-the-scenes error led one contestant to win $30,000 when the first three Plinko chips dropped right into the center, a high-dollar spot only for it to suddenly be realized that the gameboard had been manipulated for an advertisement and not set back to right before filming on the episode.

"There's a college girl that got to play Plinko, and she dropped her first three chips right down in the $10,000 spot," Carey recalled. "People were on their feet, jumping up and down and cheering. I mean, the crowd was going wild. She dropped the fourth chip, the floor director comes over, stops the chip, and leans into me and he goes, 'The game is fixed.'"

Fixing, or rigging, a game show is serious. Thanks to widespread rigging on quiz shows in the 1950s which was a major scandal at the time, there are federal regulations in place that prohibit such rigging. That's why Carey's reaction to the moment is one that had him thinking he would end up going to jail.

"'I'm going to jail. I'm losing my job. There's gonna be a scandal,' all these emotions going through my head," Carey explained.

In this case, though, the incident wasn't a true case of "fixing". As it turns out, a commercial for The Price is Right video game had been filmed using the Plinko board and said board had been adjusted with fishing line to produce a "winner" for the commercial. It had simply not been restored to its original configuration before the episode of the game show was filmed. The error was caught and fixed, with the contestant able to start over on a non-rigged Plinko board.


However, the incident did end up costing The Price is Right a bit of money. The contestant was allowed by Standards and Practices to keep the $30,000 in Plinko earnings off-camera as well as what they won after the mistake was corrected and the segment re-shot.

What do you think about the potentially disastrous Plinko incident? Let us know in the comments.