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Any casino visitor dreams of winning a multi-million dollar jackpot. Even if they make the lowest bets and do not approach slot machines with numerous zeros on a special panel, there is a desire to become rich deep in their minds.

Some gamblers almost grasp vast wealth, but the casino does not want to give up on the jackpot. Why? Continue reading the article.

Why Do Casinos Refuse to Pay Jackpots?

Each situation is unique, but there are two primary reasons:

  1. Defective equipment;
  2. Illegal deeds of customers.

Let's briefly discuss both causes.

Video Slot Bugs

If there are any software errors, all winnings are canceled. This is a standard practice mentioned in the terms and conditions of all casinos.

jackpot on slot

Do you have a message about a ten-million-dollar jackpot on the screen? Hold your horses. This is a software error, and no one will be responsible for it. It is useless to file a lawsuit. The operator will engage the provider and independent auditors. They will confirm that the error has occurred, so there are no financial claims to be satisfied.

Unfortunately, this is the most common situation. The history of gambling knows a lot of such examples. Some of them are described below.

Customers' Cheatings

Scammers have long been trying to hack slot machines. Some fraudsters even hit jackpots, making a fool of the security services. No wonder gambling operators are suspicious of all winners. They will delay the payout and launch an investigation if they doubt your fairness and honesty.

Tommy Carmichael, a Legendary Slot Cheater

If the jackpot is huge, sometimes even a minor rule violation is enough for the casino to deny the payout. You can find a story about an older woman who lost one and a half million in our article below. The mischief is that she won that amount by playing the slot game using a bet made by the previous customer.

Some gambling clubs refuse to pay winnings to underage customers. Payouts are often canceled at online casinos as soon as it becomes clear that the player resides in the countries where Internet gambling is illegal.

What Can You Do if the Casino Refuses to Pay the Jackpot?

We want to share some recommendations on behaving if casinos don't want to pay your winnings.

  • In such a situation, it isn't easy to control yourself, but you have to. Do not raise your voice. Do not be rude. To put it simply, do not afford grounds for extra accusations.
  • Try to collect evidence. Take photos and videos on your smartphone. Try to find eyewitnesses. Do selfies against the screen with the jackpot amount on it. Upload them at once on social networks.
  • Don't be afraid to call the police. You should even insist on calling the representatives of the law enforcement forces.
  • Do not be afraid of threats. You should not react to accusations of fraud, stories about crime lords who own the gambling club or hints at future problems. If you face it, call the police.
  • Remember that you do not have to go with the security staff to the back rooms for on-the-spot checks. They also do not have the right to search for you or take your things.
  • Do not accept any compensation, free dinners, or other gifts. On trial, they can be considered evidence of a compromise achieved by two parties.
  • Address the lawyers specializing in such trials.
  • Draw the attention of the media to your situation. Social networks, television, online publications, printed newspapers, and magazines will gladly seize a chance, and casinos do not need such PR.

Even if you fail to get your jackpot, your correct behavior will help you to obtain at least something from the gambling operator.

Huge Scandals about Jackpots

Let's recall some notable cases which were mentioned in the media.

American Indian Practices

Unpaid jackpots are not uncommon for tribal casinos of Native Americans. In 2011, Jerry Rape sued the Wind Creek Casino in Montgomery. He filed separate lawsuits against two employees of the gambling club.

According to Jerry, he played a video slot game making bets of five dollars, and hit the jackpot of $1.4 million. Then one casino employee warned him: "Do not let them deceive you." And this happened.

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Jerry was kept in the back room for almost 24 hours. In response to his protests, he heard threats and accusations of fraud. The administration representatives informed him that the slot machine had been defective, so Rape would not get his payout. So, he went directly to the lawyer.

The trial continued till September 2017 and was unsuccessful for Jerry. The Supreme Court of Alabama closed the file. The court found that proving that casino actions were illegal was impossible. In addition, only federal and tribal laws are valid on the reservation's territory. Thus, lawsuits like that are doomed to fail.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones

On October 31, 1999, William Jones, a construction contractor, and his wife Sharon Jones went to the Fitzgerald's casino. One of the spins with the bets for twenty-five dollars made Sharon nearly jump for joy since she saw three black diamonds on the slot machine's screen. This combination should have allowed them to obtain $40,000. However, no corresponding sound or animation effects usually accompany winning spins.

casino fitzgerald's las vegas

According to Sharon, the slot machine showed the combination without providing the payout. William argues that the jackpot size can be seen on the surveillance cameras:

On the security camera, excessive attention to that slot machine was observed.

The gambling club administration informed the spouses that it was an error of the slot machine, so they would not get the jackpot. A representative of the Mississippi Gaming Commission in the casino confirmed the legitimacy of the actions of Fitzgerald's casino administration.

The couple complained to the Mississippi Gaming Commission about the casino, but the commission did not help them. Regarding a lawsuit, the casino representatives stated at a personal meeting that the mafia owned the gambling facility. So, the spouses were recommended not to give it a second thought. As a result, the parties reached a compromise whose details were not covered in the media.

A Steak Instead of 43 Million Dollars!!!

In November 2016, Katrina Bookman, a single mother of four children, played on the Sphinx video slot at Resorts World Casino in Queens, New York. One of the spins brought her $42,949,672, which could have been the biggest jackpot in American offline slot history.

I cannot even describe my feelings, - Katrina said. I nearly fainted.

Despite her numbness, she did not forget to take a smartphone to capture the joyful moment in the epic selfie.

jackpot winner Katrina Bookman

However, her joy soon came to an end. It turned out that the casino refused to pay out her winning due to the error. In return, she was offered to take dinner with a steak and $2.25, which she had been supposed to win. Katrina refused such a "generous" offer, addressed the media for help, and filed a lawsuit.

Dan Bank, a representative of the Resorts World, made a statement. He apologized for the error of the slot and said that the company would not pay out the jackpot:

The casino said that the numbers appeared on the one-cent slot due to an obvious error. The New York State Gaming Commission subsequently confirmed this fact.

The New York State Gaming Commission agreed with the arguments of the casino, referring to the standard provision of the rules: "Defects in the equipment make all payouts and draws canceled." The commission decided to remove the defective video slot from the hall and fix it.

Further considerations were in vain. Katrina got nothing.

Ninety-year-old Granny and 42 Million Dollars

Pauline MacKee, a ninety-year-old lady, played on the Miss Kitty video slot at Isle Casino, owned by Aristocrat. Her chips cost $0.01. One of the spins allowed her to win 185 coins ($1.85).

casino Isle Waterloo

No sooner had the older woman celebrated a pretty good win for her than a message appeared on the screen informing that Paulina won $41,797,550.16.

Yet, her gut feeling indicated that something was wrong:

She had doubts since the jackpot amount was too high for the one-cent slot.

The casino administration stated that the screen message was due to a software error. The jackpot was declared canceled with the traditional explanation: "Defects in the equipment make all payouts and draws canceled."

Paulina's lawyer filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court of Iowa. At the same time, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission was involved in this affair. Its representatives seized the video slot and carefully studied it at the hardware and software level in an independent laboratory. The specialists found that the slot machine had been adjusted for the maximum payout of $10,000, so winning almost forty-two million in this slot was impossible.

The trial lasted several years, but eventually, the court supported the casino. Paulina, a grandmother of thirteen grandchildren, received nothing except for her initial payout of $1.85. She just said:

I hoped to support my children financially, but fate decided otherwise.

The representatives of Aristocrat commented on the situation. The company stated they had already faced such errors, and the operators had been recommended to inactivate bonuses in this slot. Isle Casino ignored this warning.

$105 000 Jackpot Was at Arm's Length

In 2011, Cecelia Cubillo, a 75-year-old retired old lady, played in the Australian Adelaide Casino. Her one-dollar bet brought her $105,731 on the Fort Knox video slot, but instead of getting the payout, she was accused of fraud.

casino adelaide

The surveillance cameras clearly showed that the woman had wagered the credit left in the slot machine from the previous customer. This gave reason for the security service to accuse her of cheating and to deprive her of the jackpot.

According to Cecelia, she attends casinos from time to time when she has a couple of extra dollars in her wallet:

It is just a kind of entertainment for me. I enjoy contemplating casino lights.

That day she had only seven dollars. Walking past the Fort Knox video slot, she saw one remaining credit and pressed the button. This dollar brought her more than one hundred thousand dollars.

The operator told her that she would get her payout, but then the manager accompanied by the security staff, appeared. The older woman did not deny that she had played, making a bet using the money of the previous customer, but she refused to agree with the accusation of fraud:

She called me a thief looking for someone else's credits, and I was scared that they would call the police, which arrest me... I did not steal anything. I did nothing bad. I just played using the credit of the previous client, and I was accused of stealing.

A week later, Cecelia returned to the casino with her daughter and asked the manager responsible for monitoring slot machines to explain. The woman was told she would not obtain the jackpot, but for some reason, they offered her a $250 voucher, allowing her to pay for food and drinks.

If nothing was provided for me, - Cecelia wondered, - why did they give me this voucher? I've not used it and will never return to that casino.

David Christian, General Manager of Adelaide Casino, made an official statement:

The established rules prohibit visitors from stealing credits left by gamblers when playing slots... The entire amount of the jackpot was returned to the pool, and a week later, another customer legally won it.

Cecelia's voucher was called a goodwill gesture from the casino administration.

One Hour Spent as a Millionaire

Gary Hoffman thought he was rich only for an hour. On August 16, 2007, Gary Hoffman, an office employee from Albuquerque, played on the five-cent Mystical Mermaid slot at Sandia Casino. It is located on the territory of the Native American reservation in New Mexico.

After one of the spins, a message informing on winning $1,597,244.10 appeared on the screen. It is not difficult to guess how the lucky gambler reacted to his victory:

I was really excited.

The winner's celebration was short-lived. Initially, the casino administration congratulated the lucky gambler, but then he was invited to the back room to hear unpleasant news. He discovered that such a large payout could only indicate an error of the slot machine because it had been adjusted to pay out at most $2,500.

casino sandia

The casino invited a specialist from IGT, which had released this slot. He examined the slot machine and confirmed the earlier version: The message about the payout was a mistake. According to the rules, if places are defective, any winnings are canceled. The disappointed customer received only $385 and several lunches from the gambling facility.

Hoffmann made the following statement later:

I won the money in the honest and fair way, but I was deceived and deprived of my payout... I was the winner, but it was left empty-handed.

Then the audit organization called Gaming Laboratories International interposed in that matter. According to its audit, the problem was caused by a software error.

Gary tried to find justice in the tribal council and filed a lawsuit. However, lawyers argue that he cannot get the jackpot. Native American gambling facilities are operated by the unique Native American legislation so that such trials are not under the jurisdiction of US courts.

$99,000 Instead of $166 Million

Sometimes casinos agree with the customer for whom the gambling facility refuses to pay the jackpot. The case occurred in 2009 at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, Florida. The Seminole tribe owns it.

Seminole Hard Rock Casino

Bill Seebeck played a video slot game. One of the spins with a bet of 1.5 dollars brought him the jackpot, which reached $166,666,666.65.

Everything seemed to be OK. The administration congratulated the customer and offered him a check for the entire amount. However, the casino conducted an investigation and found out that there was a software error.

The maximum payout in this model could not exceed $90,000, and taking into account Bill's bet size, the potential payout was limited to $2,500. However, the Hard Rock administration did not intend to pay out even that amount since it was a slot-related error, which canceled all outcomes.

Seebeck hired a lawyer specializing in the intricacies of the complicated legislation valid in Native American reservations. However, the trial did not take place.

The casino offered compensation of $99,000 to Bill, and he agreed to accept it.

$80 Instead of $8,000,000

Veronica Castillo also thought that Lady Luck had smiled at her, but the dreams of wealth did not come true. The woman gambled at the Lucky Eagle Casino in Rochester, Washington.

Lucky Eagle casino

The video slot pleased her with eight million dollars, but the casino disappointed her. Later she told the following story:

They closed the slot, removed it, printed out the ticket, and gave me eighty dollars... I firmly believe that this can be considered fraud. I asked myself: "How many people have already experienced such problems? They think they have won, but they have to leave empty-handed."

According to John Setterstrom, CEO of Lucky Eagle Casino, this was the first such case in their gambling house. He stated that there was a software error, which resulted in the appearance of an error message on the screen.

This version was confirmed by the audit company that had evaluated the video slot. According to the technical characteristics of the model, it cannot pay out over twenty thousand dollars. Considering Veronica's bet, the upper limit was six thousand dollars.


Such stories are discouraging. They result in losing trust in particular casinos and the entire gambling industry.

Such misunderstandings are often due to software errors, but this cannot be considered a consolation for frustrated customers. Gambling operators and slot providers should bear responsibility for such software errors. Compulsory compensations would give them a more responsible attitude toward checking the integrity of their software.

It is not uncommon for online casinos to refuse to pay out winnings. Internet websites do not accrue winnings and block accounts, accusing customers of violating the rules. To avoid such misunderstandings, read Casinoz articles about choosing a reliable casino and properly registering and gambling.

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