We all love the idea of traveling to Las Vegas and winning it big. For Veronica Castillo, the idea became a reality. When she visited a casino one day with friends, she had no idea what adventure she would have there. Winning a few bucks back in the machines is always desirable – well what about $8 million?
Veronica was in for a wild journey when she gambled one day and would win the big jackpot – only to have something terrible happen. What happened proved to be one of the most amazing tales ever told…
Taking The Risk
Veronica lived as a resident of Portland, Oregon, and had always dreamt of a Vegas win – who hasn’t? We’ve all seen the lucky winners on television and the radio who amazingly win millions of dollars after buying a scratch card or gambling over the weekend.
Veronica had never considered herself much of a gambler, but why not try? She stopped off at the Lucky Eagle Casino in Washington State and tried her luck. In the corner was a shiny and flashing slot machine which caught her eye. She walked over to it and did something that would change her life…
A Chance To Relax
Veronica never actually expect to win anything. She went to the casino with a few dollars and hoped to spend the time relaxing a bit and enjoying the trance of the slot machines.
Of course, she had hoped that something might happen, but she never thought it would. Using her loose change, she relaxed in the corner and started inserting quarters into the machine. One… two… three… how much money was she willing to put into the machine?
Beat The Odds?
Veronica isn’t a silly woman. She knew that the odds weren’t in her favor and that slot machines often favor The House. The chances of winning your money back are slim, let alone a massive jackpot.
People can spend hours, and hundreds of dollars, on the same machine just sitting there wasting time and money. Veronica didn’t mind; she was happy to relax on her holiday and switch her mind off. Did she expect what came next? I don’t think anyone did…
It was November 2015 when Veronica had decided to spend some time on the same fateful machine. She couldn’t explain it, but there was something calling her to it. It’s a common tactic among slot users: eventually, the machine cashes out so it’s best to stick with it.
Over time, she had put in more than one hundred dollars! She didn’t mind, she was just enjoying the ride. Fate would strike eventually, and one special pull of the lever had resulted in a win! How did this happen? Find out on the next page…
How Do They Work?
First, we need to understand what makes slot machines work the way they do. They are some of the most popular attraction in any given casino because anyone can win at any time. They don’t require any skill or tactics – which is both good and bad.
All it takes is one coin to become a millionaire. These devices are anything but simple, though, as they are filled with technology that makes them harder and harder to ‘beat’. This one piece of extra technology may have cost Veronica millions…
In effect, each machine uses something called a Random Number Generator. This generator ensures that no two results are ever aligned with each other and create a pattern that can be detected. The generator ensures that the result from each spin is as unique as possible.
Every outcome is completely random and has no influence from the previous spin. This makes it fair and random to every player, regardless of how much time or money they have spent on the machine. But the history of malfunctions is a bit different…
Can They Malfunction?
The very idea that slot machines could ‘malfunction’ is a pretty new phenomenon. Manufacturers claim that malfunctions occur due to the sheer complexity of the new machines and their new technology.
Before 1960, the vintage machines would just randomly spring numbers up from rotating drums – they couldn’t really do anything ‘wrong’. Even if they did break, it would be almost undetectable. This is because the payouts were generally much lower at the time, but read on to find out why it was so different for Veronica…
‘Never Tell Me The Odds!’
Generally, payouts will always be less than your odds when you play the slots. Also, because each spin is randomized, you have no better odds at winning on the machines than you would at a game like Roulette. The outcome, and therefore the odds, can never be predicted or tricked.
It’s important to know that playing the slots always gives the casino a bit of an advantage in the long-term. Always remember that next time you find yourself in a casino! This is why what happened next was such a mystery…
A Winning Roll
Veronica didn’t just get her money back: her cash prize was more than $8 million. She saw each slot safely stop in its tracks. Her eyes widened, her heart raced – could she believe what she just saw? She sat there in silence for a few moments, overcome with emotions.
She couldn’t believe the number she saw. $8.5 million is a life-changing sum of money, and Veronica knew it. After a few moments, she gasped and screamed with joy. She started to think of everything in her new future…
Her New Life
Of course, Veronica started to daydream about everything she could do with that money. After paying off all her mortgages and credit card bills, she started imagining all the holidays she could take. A new car, a new house, a new wardrobe – it still left millions more left in the bank.
Can you imagine what you would do with that money? Sadly for Veronica, her dreams would soon be shattered into a million pieces. But what could have possibly gone wrong?
Rags To Riches To Rags
It only took a few moments after Veronica won her millions for the casino to intervene. In just a few seconds, workers walked up to her and said that she actually hadn’t won what she thought she did. They explained that the machine had ‘malfunctioned’ and that it had defected.
Therefore, they deduced, she was not entitled to anything! Of course, Veronica was a little more than upset to hear this – what are the chances that the machine would break just as she won?
The casino workers claimed to understand her frustration and rewarded her with an $80 cash ticket. Veronica couldn’t believe what was happening – all the while the workers were quick to unplug and remove the machine right in front of her. But she had won!
And now, it looked as though they were trying to silence her while removing all evidence of her win. How many times do machines malfunction the other way, and prevent people from winning? It was time for Veronica to put her foot down and do this…
All Veronica wanted was an explanation. How could it be that they would so quickly remove a winning machine and call it broken? Wasn’t the point of a slot machine to accept the winnings and losses?
On the corner of the machine, there was a small sticker that stated that all winnings would become void if it was shown the machine had malfunctioned. But it hadn’t! She had won fair and square! If that’s what they consider broken, then that just isn’t fair. It was time to launch an investigation…
Catching The Cheaters
Veronica claimed that the casino was clearly cheating in an attempt to save them an $8 million cash out. She listened to their excuses and read the stickers, but it all seemed a little too convenient for them. Who decides when a machine malfunctions?
To her, it seemed like the casino was openly cheating in front of her. She accused them of ‘fradulant’ behavior and then started to think about all the other people who may have lost out for the same reasons…
Finding A Friend
It appeared that Veronica’s cries didn’t fall on deaf ears. The head of the Lucky Eagle Casino, John Setterstrom, understood the frustrations and promised to launch an investigation into the matter.
He claimed that he believed the casino workers since he had been at the institution for 20 years and had never seen a story like this before. He promised a full investigation would take place to understand how and why something like this happened to Veronica. What did they find?
After only a short while, there was an official statement from the casino. It didn’t exactly comfort Veronica; she knew she was taking on a large company and they wouldn’t go down without a fight. The statement said they were working hard on getting to the bottom of the story.
Rocket Gaming Systems, the company that built that machines, was doing an in-depth investigation. All Veronica could do was keep waiting. We can’t imagine how hard that must have felt!
The statement shared specific information regarding how the slot machines operate. They planned to prove that the machine had in fact malfunctioned and didn’t give up trying to explain how. They explained that the machines are only designed – and capable – of handing out $20,000 of winnings.
In their mind, it malfunctioned because it’s literally impossible for a machine to hand out that much money. They said that Veronica couldn’t have won more than $6,000 due to the amount of money she was betting. They did something that could rectify the situation….
A Public Apology
The Casino issued an official apology to Veronica and said how it understood her frustrations. The idea of winning $8 million and having it taken away in a second must be difficult to process.
What’s more, it set an unfair standard in her mind: anyone would be happy with $20,000 in winnings but this felt like peanuts now! The casino empathized with Veronica but stressed there was nothing it could do. What caused such an event to happen?
What Causes A Malfunction?
According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the event is rare but it DOES happen. He said: “There are over 209,000 slot machines normally operating 24 hours a day seven days a week in Nevada and unfortunately, on rare occasions, there are malfunctions.
Malfunctions occur for a variety of reasons including, improper tampering, coin jams, empty hoppers, switch failures, computer chip failure, power outages and accidental contact (bumping).” It’s fair to ask if it has ever happened to anyone else?
It turns out these occurrences are more common than the industry would have you believe. In 2016, Katrina Bookman, 44, believed she won a $42.9 million jackpot at Resorts World Casino in Queens, New York.
As soon as she won, security took her aside and said the machine had broken! At time of writing, she hired a lawyer to fight the case and the outcome is still undetermined. Let’s hope she wins the case so she can pay for the expense of a court ruling!
An Alabama Case
It’s not too different from another case from 2011. Construction worker Jerry Rape, and his wife, Kim, were also playing slot machines. The same thing happened to them and they thought they won $1.3 million at the Wind Creek Casino in Alabama.
Security pulled them aside and gave them $100 credit instead. They both hired a lawyer, and the outcome from the case is unknown. Amazingly, these cases have become more frequent in recent years – even affecting a woman in her 90s! Read on to see her story…
A $41 Million Malfunction
One of the most recent cases of a machine malfunction occurred in 2015. Pauline McKee, a 90-year-old woman, had thought she won a huge $41 million at the Isle Casino in Waterloo, Iowa.
The case went all the way to the Iowa Supreme Court and they said that since the machine could only cash out $10,000 at a time, it was a clear mistake. She was awarded $1.85 and her legal fees, which is modest, to say the least! Click on to see a winning example…
A Winner On The Slots
In Canada, they must be too polite to contest a winner! In 2014, a Canadian woman claimed to have won $100,000 at the Lake City Casino in British Columbia on slot machines. The maximum winnings were supposed to be no more than $1,000.
According to an official statement from the casino: “We couldn’t confirm what the jackpot amount was supposed to be. Therefore, accordingly, we determined the appropriate course of action was to pay that erroneously displayed prize amount to the player.”