Marina Bay Sands – Slot Winner Denied The Cash Prize

Posted: October 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

23rd October 2011 (SUN)

Special Commentary by:  Professional Ground expert panel

Why This Woman Casino Patron Was Denied Her Win?

The Singapore local news The Straits Times reported on 22nd Oct 2011 (Sat) that a woman casino patron at Marina Bay Sands Casino was denied of her big prize slot (Jackpot) win amounting to SGD416,000 in cash. Apparently the casino manager told the patron that the slot machine was malfunctioning.  The casino claimed that the machine was capped at a maximum payout of SGD50,000 in cash and with additional prize of a sport car worth SGD258,962 if the winner were to sell back to the casino. Therefore, the total winning prize for this patron is SGD308,962.  The patron ( a woman aged 58) refused to accept such a deal and insisted on the SGD416,000 that was indicated by the machine.

Can this casino patron claims for the stated (winning) prize on the basis of “game integrity” and casino compliance?  Or, put it the other way, can the casino lawfully deny the patron on the cash bonus (SGD416,000) stated on the machine, on the ground of machine malfunctioning?

This case is now been referred to the CRA (Casino Regulatory authority) for investigation.

Is there any precedence in other jurisdictions on such cases?  In Macau (year 2007) one of the casinos faced the same claim by a slot patron who “striked” a top prize of HK$10 million.  After investigation by the local casino regulatory authority (DICJ), the case was dismissed.  The reason being it was truly a case of machine malfunction at that point in time, proven by the system’s audit.  That’s the principle of game integrity. Players only allowed to take whatever is correctly pay out by the casino game’s parameters and condition as submitted and approved by casino regulatory authority.

However, under the circumstances of this case (Marina Bay Sands) it is too soon to conclude that this slot patron hence can not claim for the stated wins.  To be objective and fair, the following factors should be taken into consideration:

(1)  During the occurence (i.e. when the patron hits the winning cash bonus), was there a casino slot promotion on-going on the casino floor?  If yes, was the sport car that’s mentioned by the casino manager the redeemable prize?

(2)  Was the particular slot machine been grouped under the casino promotional sweepstake at that time in which it includes the sport car as winning prize?  Or it merely belongs to separate slot banks (groups of slot machines) that functioning on their own prize-winning cash bonus? This is a very important factor because the casino manager should not substitute other winning prizes that’s not part of the “deal” (i.e. announced casino promotion & stated prizes).

(3)  Was there any hard-copy or electronic messages on the particular slot machine indicating the correct prizes (i.e. SGD50,000 cash + sport car) to be won?  Or the only indication was the cash prize of SGD416,000?

(4)  Independent experts should conduct an audit trial of the casino’s slot machines and system that runs the supposedly cash plus sport car floor promotion. (If indeed there’s really such an activity been conducted at that time).

(5)  Casino should explain under what circumstances in which they claimed that the slot machine was malfunctioning when the patron striked the big prize-winning?  Apparently it could be part of a “linked jackpot” on the casino floor in operation and the cash bonus was hit based on pre-programmed random algorithm.

Whatever, the above scenario presents an interesting similarity as in the case of insurance claims.  The first principle remains “what’s the deal” (or contractual agreement) between the customer and the operator. In addition, integrity & compliance must be fulfilled by both parties in order to exercise their respective rights.

Good to wait and see what will be the outcome of the investigation. This will be the precedence for resolving future casino-patron disputes.

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