You Just Won $102,000 on the Slot Machine but the Casino Won’t Pay!

We’ve all seen the small notice on the slot machine that says something like, “Machine malfunction voids all pays and plays.” Have you ever really thought about what you would do if it happened to you?

Stephen Wilkinson was playing his favorite slot machine at the Philadelphia Park casino in Pennsylvania when he hit the jackpot for $102,000. The machine lit up, the jackpot music started to play, and on the screen it congratulated him on his win of $102,000. People quickly gathered around and began congratulating him, in fact the women beside him was so excited she phoned her husband to tell him the news. Well, Stephen was in for a big surprise but it wasn’t $102,000.

After several minutes of casino employees huddled in deep discussion, they made their way over to Stephen to congratulate him on his win. Wrong! They made their way over to let him know that there was a machine malfunction, and he did not hit the jackpot. However, they would compensate him for the malfunction by providing him with two free tickets to their buffet. No, I’m not making that part up. They tried to reconcile the situation by giving him two free buffet tickets. Unless there was gold and diamonds on the buffet, that doesn’t seem like just compensation to me.

What do you think? Do you think the casino should have to pay the money, or are they not liable because they have the warning on the machine? What about if it happened to you, how do you think you would respond? What would you do?

Let’s take a look at similar situation that occurred, you may have a different reaction. This actually happened to a fellow gambler that I know and it happened on a video poker machine instead of a slot machine, but video poker machines are classified as “slots” and have the same malfunction warning on each machine. This story has a slightly different twist to it, but ironically it was for about the same amount of money.

John was in the casino when he noticed a single progressive video poker machine. A single progressive simply means that the machine is not hooked up to any other machines, the jackpot rises as someone plays that machine only. Many video poker single progressives have a large display above the machine that lets the customer know how high the jackpot is. John noticed a $1 denomination ($5 for max play) video poker machine where the display read that the jackpot was $104,000 for a royal flush. If you don’t play video poker, just know that a normal payout for a royal on a $1 machine is $4,000. The progressives are reset at $4,000 and move up as the game is played.

John knew something wasn’t right. It’s almost mathematically impossible for a $1 video poker progressive machine to get over $100,000 without a royal flush being hit. If it got up to $20,000 it would be big news and you wouldn’t be able to play the machine because it would be packed with people. John decided to play and see what happened. The entire time he played the jackpot was still listed as $104,000 and was increasing as he played. After about an hour, sure enough John hit a royal flush.

What do you think happened?

  • A) The casino paid him the $104,000 that was advertised on the machine.
  • B) They paid him nothing because there was a machine malfunction.
  • C) They paid him the reset jackpot value of $4,000.
  • D) They paid him some other amount.

If you guessed option C you would be correct. The casino explained to John that the progressive counter display had malfunctioned and they would not pay him the $104,000. John didn’t fight it too much because he knew there was nothing he could do. I think he was most upset at the fact that they paid him the minimum of $4,000, which is the reset amount, instead of at least compensating him something extra since it was a progressive. They claimed that the malfunction voided everything, and basically they were saying he’s lucky to be getting the $4,000.

What is your feeling on this situation? Is it different from the first story? Does it matter that John knew something was amiss when he sat down at the machine? I would love to hear your thoughts, and any similar situations that may have happened to you or someone you know.

10 responses, Add Yours

  1. Jaz
    Jaz
    September 11, 2012
    10:03 am

    Being paid out only the jackpot reset amount definitely doesn't seem fair to me. It's casino's responsibility to make sure the machines are working properly. The labels warning about the possible malfunction are there just to cover their incompetent asses.

    How all the casino employees failed to notice how big the jackpot was on a low denomination machine, until someone actually won the jackpot is beyond me. 2 tickets to buffet even without the reset jackpot amount is really just an insult to injury and why would I want to take my hard-earned money to an incompetent casino who likes to insult it's customers? I would avoid Philadelphia Park Casino in Pennsylvania at any cost.

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    2. Greg Elder
      Greg Elder
      September 11, 2012
      16:59 pm

      @Jaz I have to agree. The problem is many times when these cases are litigated the casinos win! Often, the only way gamblers can put a dent in their pockets is to stop going and spread the word. A lot of times, the negative publicity the casino receives when the situation hits the media, causes them to lose more money than if they had simply paid the customer.

      The two free buffet tickets shows just how out of touch some of these corporate casinos are. You summed it up perfectly, the two buffet tickets were insult to injury at that point. Keep the comments coming.

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  2. Michael
    Michael
    August 11, 2016
    21:57 pm

    After hearing of these cases I've stopped going to casinos and gambling entirely. I was a regular gambler too.

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  3. jon sommers
    jon sommers
    August 12, 2016
    00:00 am

    If that would have been me, I would have went around and photographed any other "progressive" slot machine that had a payout highlighted more than $4,000. Then I would have showed the judge the fact that these "malfunctions" were known to the casino and they allowed the rising figures of money to keep going to people played those machines NOT realizing about the scam.

    IF the machine won't pay out more than $4,000 for a royal flush then at NO TIME should any slot machine show the highlighted payout for more than that. Progressive? That implies it WILL go over $4,000 so he should have been awarded the full amount the machine displayed. Additional pictures would prove the let other machines totals to rise to dupe the players.

    More gamblers need informed that machines won't be paid out so they quit using the one arm bandits.

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    2. Tom
      Tom
      August 12, 2016
      12:34 pm

      @jon sommers Only one problem, Jon. Casinos ALSO do not allow photgraphs to be taken on premises - maybe precisely to avoid the "scam remedy" that you propose.

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  4. Mike
    Mike
    August 12, 2016
    09:04 am

    I would call the police, the newspapers, and the television news stations, including the national networks to give them as much bad publicity as possible. I would also cause a scene in the casino to alert the other players that this place is designed to rip off winners. Then when they physically throw me out I would sue for assault.

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  5. Balk Defaulty
    Balk Defaulty
    August 12, 2016
    10:54 am

    "Steve Wynn" said in a live video about 20 years ago: "The ONLY WAY to MAKE MONEY from a Casino is to OWN IT."
    I have NEVER LOST so much as 25 cents since I watched the interview, I DON'T PLAY!
    Take the man at his word, he is an Honest Man!

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  6. Bill Smothers
    Bill Smothers
    August 12, 2016
    13:19 pm

    Was playing a $1.00 wheel of fortune machine [need to play max $5 to spin], when I hit the spin. Trouble was the machine's indicator did not spin, and I won nothing. Called the slot tech and he opened the machine at saw that "electronically" I should have been awarded $2000, but since the machine did not spin and show my winnings, I could not collect anything. Management was called, and they said sorry - no buffet tickets, nothing. Last time I ever gambled there.

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  7. Jack Dee
    Jack Dee
    August 12, 2016
    19:43 pm

    ^
    Complete opposite of the other story shared above. You guys should connect and combine cases. Fraud! Fraud! Which does the casino want?

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  8. Mattie
    Mattie
    August 13, 2016
    01:15 am

    If people are so dishonest every body should stop going to all and Bankrupt them let them see how it feels to be Screwed over

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