Mission146
Posted by Mission146
Nov 06, 2015

If there is one common thread amongst devoted slot players and newcomers to machines alike, it is that dream of a nearly impossible hit that transforms them from people of limited-moderate means to millionaires in an instant.  Imagine the feeling of jubilation when a slot machine informs you that you have won in excess of 8.5 million dollars!  After the initial shock, I should imagine that the winner of the money has a swarm of various thoughts going through his/her head as to all of the wonderful things they can do with such a tremendous sum.

Such a tremendous, non-existent sum.

In an unfortunate turn of events for both Veronica Castillo and the Lucky Eagle Casino, the former believed that she did just that while the latter knew that she didn't.  That's not to say that she didn't have some reason to think that, as her picture clearly shows the requisite number of credits on her Jurassic Riches machine:

http://www.katu.com/news/local/Over-8-million-jackpot-was-slot-machine-malfunction-casino-says-340207762.html

It's very difficult to believe (any Washington readers here?) that the Jurassic Riches machine is even capable of such a handsome payout given that it is a nickel level machine.  In fact, some of the jackpot winners proclaimed on the Lucky Eagle website:

http://www.luckyeagle.com/

Consist of Lonnie, who won $20,684.  Walter, who won $5305.  Then you have Nancy, she won $80,000.  Barbara won 20k and Phillip 48k. 

Veronica Castillo did not win in excess of 8.5 million dollars, though.  In fact, while it is unclear why the casino chose this specific amount, they sent her a check for $80. 

For anyone who has ever wondered why almost all, if not all slot machines, have a disclaimer stating, "Malfunction Voids All Pays and Plays," well, there you have it.  In addition to the extreme likelihood that, pursuant to the Line Pays, such a jackpot is impossible on one of these machines, it is also very difficult to imagine a 1,000 slot casino out of Washington state is going to be offering anything that could even potentially payout 8.5 million dollars.  I suppose player-banked linked progressives (if applicable) might be an exception. 

This actually brings up an interesting question though: What is the most appropriate response of the casino to this event?  I imagine that opinions are going to vary wildly and might even include, "The machine says 8.5 million, so pay it!" 

While I certainly don't think that paying the 8.5 million dollars should be necessary, I definitely think that the casino could have done better than forking over an $80 check.

Let's just take a second and think about this:  How many slot players really pay such significant attention to the Rules/Pays screen as to calculate the highest returning combinations, the amount returned per such combination based on the amount bet and then multiply that by the number of lines being played?  With respect to casual slot players, my guess on that is going to be about one in every none.  Therefore, I think that it is perfectly within reason that Ms./Mrs. Castillo was conceivably under the impression that she had just hit for 8.5 million dollars. 

Casino staff made quick work of clearing up that confusion, of course.  However, there is an entity responsible (in one way or another) for the fact that the machine would ever read such an amount, and that entity is the manufacturer of the slot machine.  Compared to the elation that Ms./Mrs. Castillo must have experienced upon 'hitting' that result, the realization that such a result did not actually happen and the 'winnings' were not going to be given to her must have been a heart-wrenching event. 

I mean, we're talking Cinderella story rags-to-riches sort of stuff here just to have it all dashed by a disclaimer.  And, yes, I do understand why that disclaimer exists and I understand what it means in this situation.

But, eighty bucks, really?

I imagine, at this point, it would have been much better for Ms./Mrs. Castillo to have simply lost on that spin instead, such is the tremendous emotional beating she must have taken given the realization that she had not had her life changed in an instant.

Therefore, I think that there should be some sort of manufacturer's guarantee (absent any tampering by the casino staff, of course) that should  any machine malfunction while leased, or within x years of purchase by the casino, that the manufacturer will compensate the casino in the amount of $10,000 and such amount shall be used to pay the player.

Do you advocate for something greater, perhaps $100,000?  I could be convinced. 

Either way, putting myself in Ms./Mrs. Castillo's shoes, I really don't think it is an adequate amount of compensation to simply send a check for eighty friggin' dollars and expect her to be on her merry way.  Granted, I understand that is $80 more than she had before, but the malfunction of the machine doubtlessly resulted in significant emotional duress for the would-be winner that needs to be adequately addressed.

I mean, let's take a look at Table Games for example:  Imagine a player has just colored-up from a session of Blackjack for a yellow and a few Greens.  Now, we're going to say that this player has a 'feeling' as he or she is walking past the Craps Table and tosses a green in front of the stick mid-hand calling out, "Hard Eight!"

The Craps Supervisor says, "Hard Eight's a bet," and the dice come to rest with the faces showing 4-3, seven-out, line away.

In addition to the fact that, at a particularly superstitious Craps game, the individual who lost the Hard Eight bet might be taking some light verbal abuse for jumping in mid-hand, perhaps after the dice were already out, and thereby 'causing' a seven-out, the player now looks into his or her palm and notices the yellow ($1,000) chip is missing.

In a sudden flash of clarity, the player realizes that he or she must have thrown the $1,000 chip onto the table for the Hard Eight bet as opposed to one of the Green ($25) chips.  Panicking, the individual tries to explain to the Craps crew that the $1,000 bet was made entirely in error and that the intended bet was actually only meant to be $25!

How many times do you think the player wins that argument?

That's really the point, isn't it?  In my Craps example, the player screwed up and is (I assume in most cases) rightly held accountable for what might have genuinely been an honest mistake.  Even if it is a genuine mistake, it was still something that is presumably in the player's control.

The same goes for manufacturers of slot machines.  When these machines go out to the casinos, they need to have been thoroughly tested for every possible event to ensure that something like this doesn't happen.  Even though an event such as this is a rarity (as would be making a $1,000 bet as opposed to a $25 bet) the slot manufacturer should take responsibility in offering a substantial sum of compensation to the player. 

In other words, assuming that this scenario was the fault of faulty equipment that was unaltered by the Lucky Eagle Casino, then the casino should have the ability to offer the player a meaningful amount of compensation such that the casino simultaneously does not look bad and is not out a substantial sum of money. 

Or alternatively, throwing in the wrong chip should void all pays and plays.

Comments

darkoz
darkoz Nov 06, 2015

Perhaps a max payout bet rule would be sufficient. That is the max a machine could payout would be the amount paid. How much you want to bet this woman was playing the minimum when the machine malfunctioned and still thinks she won so much?

As for the Craps example, something similar happened to me (with a purple $500 when I meant to play a green) in roulette as the ball was spinning. Soon as I placed the chip it wasn't my vision that clued me in but the dealer yelling out real loud (PURPLE OUTSIDE). Needless to say, I snatched the chip up fast as could be (While simultaneously hearing the dealer yell (PURPLE NO LONGER INSIDE) and I breathed a sigh of relief. Even better, I breathed a tremendous sigh when the dealer called no more bets a second later and the ball eventually landed - I would have been a loser.

darkoz
darkoz Nov 06, 2015

EDIT - the dealer yelled PURPLE NO LONGER OUTSIDE but I can't edit the comments

Mission146
Mission146 Nov 06, 2015

Darkoz,

It's tough to say what she'd have been betting, but the minimum is quite conceivable. I also agree that a top Line Pay multiplied by the number of Lines and the bet per Line would be reasonable compensation.

The Croupier doing his job well was quite fortunate, in your case! Hopefully, my theoretical Craps crew would call it out as a, "$1000 Hard Eight!"

Romes
Romes Nov 06, 2015

More than likely she was using a players card, and thus they should be able to find out how much she was betting and calculate a "max possible win" on the machine. That's one place to start.

Next, regardless if she gets paid the 8.5 I still think she has a very strong case for emotional distress. I mean, if you REALLY thought you'd FINALLY won a massively life changing amount of money, all to be told "nah it was a mistake" I think even being in good shape I'd have a heart attack! I can't imagine seeing the numbers on the screen, believing it's real, and then being told it's not. I truly believe this would be very emotionally distressing and that she deserves compensation for that. Are they going to court for the 8.5 & emotional distress, or do you have any further details?

Mission146
Mission146 Nov 06, 2015

Romes,

I think that's reasonable, but I would definitely just go with Top Line Pays because I wouldn't want to get into any discussion of she could theoretically hit Free Games (if applicable) and then have fully stacked Wild symbols on every Free Games spin except those necessary to re-trigger and keep Free Games going, or whatever. I think best Line Pay would suffice.

I agree that she has a case for emotional duress, possibly, but she needs to make sure that the slot manufacturer is a co-Defendant in all of this, of course. I really think that's who is to blame, anyway. I don't have any further details at this time, though I have diligently tried to find more on it.

Keep in mind that the casino presumably has that malfunction disclosure, though. Therefore, I would suggest that she doesn't have a cause of action for compensatory damages with respect to the 8.5 million. I don't see any way that 8.5 million happens, especially if that is literally an impossible win on the machine. I hope she didn't cash that check, though, hopefully she sends it back and gets an attorney to inform the casino it's going to take more than that t resolve this.

Again, I really want the takeaway to be: Yes, it may have been an honest machine error (read: mistake) but on the other side of the game, players have had to pay for honest mistakes in the past, too.

Odysseus
Odysseus Nov 12, 2015

Gaming is a highly regulated industry. If there is legal fault anywhere, it would be the regulatory body that approved the use of that game in their jurisdiction.
Each game is tested for months before being submitted to the regulators and 3rd party testing agency's (GLI) who perform even more testing. Every effort is made to avoid situations like this.
This developer is very small and probably never made 8.5 million distributing this theme. The vast majority of slot players are constantly looking for a 'new' game to play. The game they won on last month has gone cold and they are looking for that 'hot new' title that is going to bring that luck back.
This makes for a very short life span on the casino floor. Some larger manufacturers have 7000+ themes in their library and pump enough out a month to quench the players thirst for new experiences.
As for her emotional pain; Comp her a night or two and a couple free meals. That's about the best the property can do. The manufacturer did its due diligence and passed all of the requirements set by a state/region/tribal governing body, to place their product. Good luck litigating with those same agencies.

Goethe
Goethe Nov 15, 2015

A very simple answer to this I think. In the UK, the RTP figures for phyiscal terminals are required to be showing on an information plate somewhere on the interface, or in the supporting game helpfile.. Machines are clearly marked with a maximum payout figure; ie a category C machine located in a bar or pub has a maximum payout of £100 etc. I'm told that in the States, all of this sort of thing isn't evident, and that short of doing some intensive math(s), players won't know what they're playing and what they can expect to win if their luck's in.

Mission146
Mission146 Nov 15, 2015

Odysseus,

You make strong points about the applicable regulatory agencies, but is the manufacturer not still responsible for distributing a product that will not have this sort of glitch?

My point is that it must be a problem in the coding, though I'm not going to claim to know whether or not the applicable regulatory agency actually thoroughly examines the code. Maybe they just play test and the glitch didn't come up.

As far as a few nights and meals comped, no thanks. I'd take the $70, cash. I can't imagine the guest would want to return.

Goethe,

A theoretical maximum return is determinable pursuant to the paytable of the game, though it does take exhaustive analysis to even approximate an RTP for most slot games.

Posting a maximum possible payout would be a good idea, though.

waznotwas
waznotwas Jan 06, 2016

From viewing video of the event it is clear that the machine was Metering down not rounding up - if given the chance the machine would have likely eventually reached the correct payout - of 10.50 for the pattern displayed on the screen. the payout of 80 dollars was the total credits she had in the machine - they didn't provide any additional compensation other than her own credits.

25wins
25wins Nov 23, 2016

:)

Please login or register in order to leave a comment


Sorry, an internal error has occurred. The error has been logged and will be reviewed.

In the meantime, please try your request again if you haven't already.

If the problem occurs more than once, rest assured that it will be investigated and fixed soon.