Casino in Florida Refuses to Pay $166 million Jackpot

Posted on November 5th, 2009

Here´s an interesting one for you. Who´s pulling a fast one here? We´ll let you decide..

A casino slots player in Florida: Bill Seebeck was certain he’d hit the jackpot. He claims the slot machine he was playing started to flash a winning jackpot of more than $166 million. Seebeck was jumping up and down screaming.

But the casino says there was a machine malfunction — and is refusing to pay up. How gutted would you be?

The slot was at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa, and Bill Seebeck was feeding the Bally Ultimate Party Spin Slot machine.

He was betting $4 a game and had fed about $80 into the machine when the lights started flashing and bells started ringing. The display flashed up: $166,666,666.65.

Casino managers immediately came over and sectioned off the machine. Seebeck was then told that the Ultimate Party Spin machine had malfunctioned. Seebeck says “I feel let down and ripped off.”

The casino asked him to sign something that stated that the machine had malfunctioned, and that he was not entitled to any winnings. Seebeck did not sign, of course, and is now investigating legal action.

The casino said that the slot machine’s top prize is only $99,000, so it was clearly a malfunction.

What´s the ruling in this case. Anyone know a legal precedent?

“Machine malfunction voids all pays.” Most slot machines in casinos displays this disclaimer. If the Florida one did, then Bill is on a slippery slope, especially as the jackpot was $99,000 (this should also have been prominently displayed).

What it means is this: you can be sitting at a slot machine and hit the top jackpot–on the payline, with the maximum coins wagered–and win nothing. “The machine malfunctioned.”

The most famous slot malfunction happened in Arizona, at a Native American casino managed by Harrah’s. A woman claimed she won the $330,000 jackpot. Several hours later, the casino verified with an independent lab that there was a glitch in the computer chip, and she was denied the jackpot.

The woman went legal with her case to the tribal commission overseeing the casino, and the decision to not pay the jackpot was upheld. Harrah’s eventually compensated the woman for her jackpot, but only because of the PR impact her case was having on the company.

So the moral of the story is, you may not win these cases in court, but if you kick up a big enough stink about it and speak to as many newspapers and media channels as you can, you are likely to get a pay off of some sort, if you can prove that the machine actually started flashing, whirring and buzzing with your jackpot. Take a picture on your mobile phone!


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