Industry Reports

Allegedly “Malfunctioned” Slot Machines Kill People’s Hopes

Slot machines started to grow in popularity with every passing day, and there is a good reason for that. Fueled by a desire for low-cost gambling entertainment and a thread of hope that some day the luck will be on their side, many people started to rhythmically press the spin button of the slot machines. People are flocking around the electronic gaming machines, looking at them as if in a state of trance. To the players, who like strategic games, this may look like a ridiculous and boring activity. But slot players are simply staying in awe in front of the slot machine. These machines are colorful, entertaining and engaging.

Imagine you play a slot game at a casino. Lost in the monotonous game, you automatically keep on tapping the spin button. At one moment, you hear all the bells ringing and you see all the lights flashing, indicating that you hit the big money. The feeling is hard to be described. But we all have heard myths and legends about winners, who are detained in the back room of the casino by big casino workers, explaining to the winners that they cannot receive their honestly won prize. Unfortunately, there are real cases, in which slot machine winners are denied their payout. Surprisingly, there are a number of cases, in which people are denied their prizes due to “malfunctioned” slot machines. More information about the most noteworthy cases could be found in the lines below.

Paul Kusznirewicz

The retired Canadian player Paul Kusznirewicz hit the top prize of $42.9 million. On 8th December 2016, Mr. Kusznirewicz was playing an OLG slot machine called Buccaneer at Georgian Downs in Innisfil. At one moment, the entertaining machine activated its alarms and lights, signaling that Mr. Kusznirewicz won the life-changing jackpot. But the ensuing experience was nothing like he had imagined. Some members of the casino staff told Mr. Kusznirewicz that he would not be receiving a payout, as it was a result of a defect.

Two Anonimous Canadian Men

Our team dug out another interesting case from 2006, when two men from Manitoba played a computerized version of Keno and matched all five numbers on the screen. The machine indicated that the two men, who preferred to remain anonymous, hit the jackpot of $209,716.40. The casino refused to pay the prize, claiming that the situation occurred due to a problem in the machine’s software. Infuriated by this, the two men threatened the casino that they will bring the case to the court. In response to the accusations, the casino officials explained that the game is based on matching the set of numbers with another group of numbers, which are randomly generated by the machine’s software and errors of this type are rare, but possible.

Grandmother Pauline McKee

In 2015, the 90-year-old Pauline McKee, who is a grandmother of 13 kids, was playing the penny slot game Miss Kitty at the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo in Iowa. The gambling machine signaled that the old lady has hit the jackpot of £27.6 million ($41.8 million). Hoping to financially support her kids, she experienced the incredible feeling of winning a massive prize. However, the fortunate old lady appeared to be not that lucky as she could not get a single dime due to the machine malfunctioned. In order to resolve the dispute, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) sent the machine’s software to an independent testing laboratory to investigate the case. The conclusion was that the slot machine had a software problem, but the manufacturer Aristocrat Technologies warned the casinos about the bug.

Veronica Castillo

Veronica Castillo from Portland is the other “unfortunate millionaire”. In 2015, she hit a jackpot of $8 million from playing a slot game at Lucky Eagle Casino in Rochester. Ms. Castillo was a millionaire for mere minutes after the casino managers claimed that she won due to a computer glitch and she has been denied the jackpot payout. Casino CEO John Setterstrom issued a statement, in which he explained that this had never happened before in the casino, promising to launch an investigation. Speaking of her situation, Ms. Castillo commented that it is not all about her prize, but to protect all people from having their hopes shattered by some casino employee.

Harry Blackwood

In 20125, Harry Blackwood thought he had struck it lucky after hitting the tremendous prize of $25,000 while playing a slot machine at Fallsview Casino. He explained that the machine’s lights started to flash, but its bells did not go off. After that, the entertaining machine went into a freeze mode, but the arrow pointed a prize of $25,000. It did not take long until the player’s elation was turned into anger after the casino told him that he actually did not win as the machine had malfunctioned.

Additional Notes

The current article was inspired by the latest update on Jerry Rape’s case, which Casino Reports covered. The gambler from Alabama won a jackpot of $1,377,000 from a slot machine at the tribal-owned Wind Creek Casino in Montgomery, Alabama. However, Mr. Rape should farewell to his prize, as he was denied a payout. The casino told him that the slot machine did not function in a proper manner. The player filed a legal action against the casino, but the court nixed the case, explaining that the tribal nation is immune from being sued.

Katrina Bookman is yet another victim of the “malfunctioned” slot machines. As Casino Reports revealed earlier this year, Ms. Bookman won $43 million from a slot machine at Resorts World Casino in Queens, New York. This would be the largest jackpot ever won from a slot machine in the U.S. history. Overwhelmed with excitement and enthusiasm she even took a selfie at the background of the flashing dollar signs. To her big surprise, the casino offered her a steak dinner and $2.25 instead of cashing out her prize. The casino apologized and told her that her winning is a result of a “malfunctioned” slot machine. Similar to Mr. Rape, Ms. Bookman decided to address the case in a lawful manner, but her claim also failed in court.

The casinos are obliged to make sure that all of the gambling machines are functioning properly and are well-maintained. But just like humans, machines also make mistakes. However, it is hard to say if the gambling machines are to be blamed, or some casino operators just do not play fair.