More Casinos Realize They Can Blame Software Glitch And Not Pay Out Big Prizes

from the sneaky,-sneaky dept

Last summer, we suggested a new business model for casinos, after hearing the story of one casino blaming a software glitch in order to not pay out a jackpot a player had supposedly won. In that case, the guy was supposedly hiring a lawyer, but we haven't heard an update. However, it appears that others are picking up on the trick. A new casino in Pennsylvania had a slot machine tell a player that he had won $102,000, supposedly "the big jackpot" of the day. Various casino staff came up and congratulated him, until someone else came over and offered him two free meal coupons, saying that the jackpot message (which even stated his name) was a software glitch on their internal computer system, and was due to some internal testing that never should have reached the actual machine. Specifically, they claim it was "a communications error." The article does note that the slot machines have a disclaimer that the casino is not liable for machine malfunctions, but there are questions about whether or not that covers this situation, since it wasn't technically the slot machine that malfunctioned, but the casino's computer system. Either way, it seems pretty sleazy, and probably isn't particularly good publicity for a new casino trying to drum up business. Update: Apparently the casino has changed its mind, recognizing the bad publicity the original story caused. The casino claims that their investigation turned up that the error was a human error, not a machine glitch, and therefore they paid up.

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  1. identicon
    Ernie, 26 Jan 2007 @ 10:41am

    Re: two cents worth

    Slot machines are not standalone anymore. Machines with "Progressive Jackpot" are linked in with many other machines, sometimes nationwide. This software error can happen if a machine in Boise Idaho AND a machine in Stanford CT both hit at around the same time. In that case, machine A reports the win and then transmits it back to the central server, while machine B reports the win and transmits it back to the central server also. The first one to the gate wins, but BOTH tell the player that they've won. This is why EVERY slot machine says that jackpots must be confirmed by casino staff.

    Even non-progressive machines are linked now, as they not only report big payouts (the payout decision IS standalone on that machine), but report how much $$$ you've put into the machine. That is the whole POINT of player cards.

    The thing that most people don't understand about the casino biz is that the casino has ZERO interest in fixing the results. They win anyway. They don't care how much you've won (or more likely lost) as an individual, they know that as an organization, they have won.

    To explain: Assume you have a casino with nothing but blackjack tables. 5000 of them, $5/hand. $5*0.0062 = 3.1 cents (assuming dealer hit a 17), or $155 / hour for those tables. The casinos generally run 24hr/day, so those tables will make at LEAST $3720/day. AND THOSE ARE THE BEST ODDS IN THE CASINO!

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