It’s common to see slot machines in land-based casinos that have warnings stating “Malfunction voids all pays and plays.”
This may seem like a harmless disclaimer, because how often have you had a slot machine malfunction on you? But it’s also a legal loophole to protect casinos in the case of a malfunction that awards a huge payout.
There have been some high-profile instances of slots malfunctioning and voiding life-changing payouts for players.
One of the best instances involved Veronica Castillo, who won an $8 million jackpot at Lucky Eagle Casino in Portland, Oregon.
After investigating, Lucky Eagle officials told Castillo that her jackpot was the result of a machine malfunction.
“I was very excited and happy, then I couldn’t believe it,” said Castillo. “The casino staff came over and told her the machine had made an error and malfunctioned. They shut off the machine, took it away, printed out a ticket and gave me $80.”
It doesn’t seem fair that the machine showed Castillo an $8 million win, when, in actuality, it was worth one hundred thousand times less than this. But Lucky Eagle was able to determine that the machine in question, which only offers a $20,000 top prize, did malfunction.
Another example involves Stephen Wilkinson, who hit a $102,000 jackpot at the Philadelphia Park Casino. But Philadelphia Park employees informed Wilkinson that the machine malfunctioned, offering him 2 free buffet tickets to make up for it.
Fortunately, after the incident went public, Philadelphia Park said that the error was human in nature, thus giving him the $102,000 payout.
In the vast majority of cases, big payouts from slot machines are legitimate. But just be aware that the “Malfunction voids all pays and plays” sign actually means something and can void a jackpot in rare cases.