Man Sues Casino Over $1.6M "Erroneous" Jackpot



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I've only pulled the handle of a slot machine one time in my life. That was when I happened to find a lost token on the casino floor, right in front of a slot machine. And instead of taking the token to the cage and claiming some cash, what did I do? I put the token into the slot and pulled the handle. And that was it.

To this day I haven't been quite able to forgive myself for pissing away all that money. I still think about all those other things I could have done with that cash that was rightfully mine to keep. But hey, I was young and stupid.

Those two paragraphs above describe my entire slot-machine gambling career. But Gary Hoffman could probably write a few books about his life playing the slots. The highlight of his gambling career happened on the morning of August 16th, 2006, when he pulled the handle of a "Mystical Mermaid" slot machine and hit a jackpot that said he had won $1,597,244.10. Mr. Hoffman (sucker that he is) immediately started celebrating his lucky day. One thing that Mr. Hoffman didn't realize (sucker that he is) was the obvious fact that casinos do not invest into slot machines just so that they could piss away million-dollar jackpots every time some lucky sucker happens to hit an unlikely combination.

Casinos bill themselves as "entertainment" venues. This is of course nonsense, but if we imagine for a moment that this is true, then we could argue that Mr. Hoffman got plenty of entertainment. For a few moments he knew what it felt to be a millionaire (without actually having any millions at the bank). In those few precious moments of his pathetic life he found his true happiness in money. Now, tell me that this is not entertaining. But entertainment, as we all know, is just a make-belief world. In reality, there was no money - just a number on some slot machine. Had his life continued on this imaginary path, he would soon have realized that all that cash would have brought him too many worries. Everyone would want to be his friend, but he would know they were just after his money. Sooner or later Mr. Hoffman would live to realize that there was no way of knowing why all his grand kinds were lined up by his deathbed. Would they be there to comfort him (out of love and respect), or just to make sure they got a piece of that $1.6 million (out of love and respect for money)? He may even piss away all that cash just to see if anyone still cared for him if he died broke. The casino spared him of all those problems by not paying a penny of the $1.6 million jackpot. He should be grateful and happy. Instead he complained and sued the casino.

The casino calls it an "erroneous" jackpot. That is the industry term for jackpots that casinos have no intention of paying. Sometimes those jackpots are truly the result of some technical error and sometimes the bastards just don't want to pay. Sometimes it's hard to know which is which, especially when one had already made plans for what to do with a million bucks. Such situations can be very frustrating. Enough to drive a man insane.

It is really hard to draw any conclusions from this report alone. The report is very poorly investigated and sloppy. For example, when the narrator says "the Mystical Mermaid machine isn't supposed to pay up more than 25 hundred dollars..." the camera is zooming-in on a close up of the machine that reads WIN UP TO 25000 (25 followed by three zeroes). So, which is it? 25 hundred dollars, or 25 thousand dollars? Also, when they show a wide shot of the machine, I don't really see that it's the same machine they were showing in the close-up shot. Are they just using stock footage, or are they showing us shots of the actual machine?

The fine print on the machine says: if machine malfunctions, it voids the play. Interestingly, no one is mentioning if the play is also void in such way that all the wagers are reimbursed to the gamblers, in the event of a malfunction. But regardless, this disclaimer can conveniently be used at the casino's discretion. One problem is, how does one prove that the machine malfunctioned? But it doesn't seem that the casino has to prove that, it seems that it's up to the gamblers to prove that the casino is wrong. Until then, the casino holds the money.

The casino says that the Mystical Mermaid machine is just a nickel machine. Another report I've read says more specifically that it is a free-standing nickel machine. This would tend to suggest that there are no progressive mega-jackpots. Whatever this particular machine may be, all slots have one thing in common: they are all specifically made to consume money and give nothing in return.

If you are ever going to play slots, don't complain when the money is gone.


Disclaimer: Any part of this text that may be interpreted as insults to Mr. Hoffman, or any other slot-machine players, were intentional.