If you live in Ontario you might have heard about the guy who hit the jackpot on a slot machine for $42,900,000. Trouble is, the machine was supposed to max out around $9,000. Via the Toronto Star:
Paul Kusznirewicz, perhaps the world’s most unlucky lottery “winner,” thought he had struck it big at the Georgian Downs casino in Innisfil this past December, when the 2-cent slot machine he had been playing for 20 minutes exploded in lights and music. A message: “Call attendant. You have won a jackpot of $42.9 million” popped up on the screen, the 55-year-old says.
But when casino personnel arrived to investigate, they told the Wasaga Beach resident that the slot machine had messed up and he wasn’t entitled to any winnings. All Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. machines display a notice that malfunctions void all pays and plays. “This machine clearly malfunctioned. The most it can possibly pay out is $9,025,” said OLG spokesperson Allison Sparkes.
While the OLG is technically right, they’ve also technically been pretty douchebaggy about this. They didn’t give the guy the $9,000 he should have gotten — presumably the amount calculation malfunctioned, not the fact that he won — but rather offered to comp him dinner for four. How magnanimous. The man, quite understandably, is suing the bejeezus out of OLG; it almost certainly would have been less costly for them to simply do the right thing in this case.
But when reading this my cynical side kicked in. Maybe this was a ploy by the casino, a devious(er?) form of marketing. For the cost of some legal fees and the $9,000 they’ll surely end up paying this guy to go away, they’ve guaranteed themselves a ton of press. Now, you might say that this is bad press. I would counter that, aside from there being no such thing, those with a tenuous understanding of math and odds — in other words, a casino’s primary audience — might actually see this as a chance to visit a casino whose slots are screwy and prone to giving out exorbitant sums. I know, it seems a stretch, but I suspect that even now some poor rube is planning a trip to Georgian Downs with their fingers crossed that they too will trick the computerized moneymaking system.