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"Science and science fiction, how do you even distinguish the two?"
- Jerry Pournelle

Win-Reducing Gambling Circuit  
  Circuitry in a game that detects winning strategies and then alters the game to make winning more difficult.  

Imagine a pinball game with circuitry that detects winning strategies - and then changes the game layout to make winning more difficult.

"... something took note of the effect the cushion was having on the ball. The assembly operates so as to protect itself from the ball's activity." He had seen this before, in other outspacer gambling gear: sophisticated circuitry which kept the gameboard constantly shifting in a way as to seem alive - in such a way as to reduce the chances of the player winning. On this particular construct the player obtained a winning score by inducing the five steel balls to pass into the central layout: the replica of the Ionian hamlet. Hence the hamlet had to be protected. Hence this particular strategically located pressure-cushion required elimination..."

"... Let's say that this pinball machine has seen ten thousand separate games, and each time there's been a careful readjustment of the circuitry directed toward rendering the steel balls neutralized..."

From Return Match, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Galaxy in 1967
Additional resources -

I find myself wondering if modern gaming environments detect when the game is too easy, and then toughen the standards to create a greater challenge (or to get you to spend more money).

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  More Ideas and Technology from Return Match
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
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