Grandma loses $42 million in jackpot due to a computer glitch

Iowa Supreme court verdict favors the casino and declares “$42 million” jackpot to be the slot machine glitch, 87 year old Pauline McKee loses on a jackpot

How would you feel if a slot machine declares you won a jackpot of $ 41797550.16……..mind blowing!!! well who would not be amazed? It was in July 2011 that 87 year old grandmother Pauline McKee, a resident of Illinois, had been to Isle Hotel Casino in Waterloo to attend a family reunion. There she started to play the “Miss Kitty penny” slot machine when her daughter invited her to play. Mckee had played other slot machines however this was the first time that she played the “Miss Kitty penny” slot machine and after playing for a while, all of a sudden the machine declared that she won a jackpot of almost $ 42 million. “Credit: 1810, Bet: 25, Win: 185. The reels have rolled your way! Bonus Award  $41797550.16.”

Mckee and her daughter immediately asked the casino supervisor to make the huge payment; however the casino manager instructed the supervisor to block the slot machine till further investigations are done. Further, the supervisor also paid Mckee $18.10 that she had won on the slot machine till that point. The casino officials also said that it is some sort of computer glitch and she had won only $1.85. They further added that as per the rules of the game “Malfunction voids all pays and plays.”

Grandma could not take this refusal and ultimately sued the casino by taking the case to Iowa Supreme court in January 2012. Finally, on April 24th 2015, the seven member jury have passed the verdict which is in favor of the casino.

The collective verdict from the jury is based on the fact that as per the terms and conditions of the game, that has been clearly declared on the touch screen of the machine, the maximum payout would be only $10,000 and further it also clarified that any sort of “bonus” is not allowed.

The jury further also affirmed that “a contract is a contract.”

Justice Edward Mansfield further also added that : “McKee did not read the rules of the game or look at the pay table before playing the Miss Kitty game.”

To add to Mckee’s anguish, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission sent the slot machine for forensic examination. The forensic study confirmed that there was a glitch in the machine that was responsible for the erroneous declaration of the jackpot. On the other hand, Aristocrat Technologies who built the slot machine had already detected the “Bonus glitch” way back in 2010 and had issued a bulletin to the casino regarding this “rare occurrence” also warning the casino to disable that part from the system as a preventive measure however, it seems casino ignored this bulletin.

The judgement read: “The rules of the game formed a contract between the patron and the casino, and the patron was not entitled to the bonus under those rules. Further, the patron failed to prove the necessary elements of either promissory or equitable estoppel. At no time did the casino represent to her that a bonus would be available if she played the game, nor did the casino promise to pay the $41 million after the notice was displayed. In any event, the patron did not detrimentally rely on any representation by the casino. Finally, the patron failed to present proof
of an ascertainable loss sufficient to warrant recovery on her consumer fraud claim. We therefore affirm the district court’s ruling granting summary judgment to the casino on all three counts.”

So moral of the story, always read the rules before you play any game!!!

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Maya Kamath
Maya Kamath
Content writer with unending love to pen down my thoughts and views regarding the new technological inventions as well as probe into the current affairs. Feel as if i am free bird who can actually live life at my pace.


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