Something very unusual happened in Las Vegas at the Treasure Island hotel and casino. Robert Taylor, who was a tourist from Arizona, won nearly $230,000 on a slot machine in Las Vegas. But he walked away without even realizing it. It wasn’t his fault – the slot machine malfunctioned, showing no signs that he had won bonanza. No one noticed the error until long after the unsuspecting winner had left the casino premises. So, what did the casino staff do? They went far and beyond to try and track him down. The story is a testament to the transparency and professionalism of the modern casino industry.
It was January 8 when Robert went to the Vegas strip to have some fun playing slots. His choice was the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino, where he sat at a progressive slot machine to try his luck. After playing the game for some time, Mr. Taylor decided to call it quits. Figuring that he’d had a good time while playing the game, he didn’t care much about not winning. However, he didn’t know that an error had happened, the result of which was that the machine didn’t show any signs that the progressive jackpot was won. As a result, Mr. Taylor walked away having no idea that he was the lucky winner of the $229,368.52 prize. He was unaware and so were the employees of the Treasure Island Casino. However, a few days later, the casino staff realized that there was a problem. After conducting an extensive review of the slot machine, the Treasure Island casino personnel determined the jackpot had been won. Their next task was to figure out who had won it. That’s when the real trouble started. Tracking down the jackpot-winning patron was more difficult than everyone expected. The Treasure Island staff couldn’t do it on their own. Instead, they had to solicit help from other properties, using surveillance footage as their guidance. Unfortunately, none of that helped. Then, the Nevada Transportation Authority got involved, sharing ride-share data which helped identify the winner. The investigation took nearly three weeks, after which Mr. Taylor learned the big news. On January 28, the Nevada Gaming Control Board notified him that he was the winner of the $229,000 jackpot.
Slot malfunctions do happen, albeit not too often. However, when they do happen, they may cause real chaos, as evident from several stories from the last couple of years. Back in 2011, Caesars Casino made a mistake on its online bingo platform, giving away about $3,500 to a player. The casino realized the error quickly, but still decided to let it go. However, not all casinos have been as generous. A story from 2016 tells about a woman from Queens, New York hitting a $42.9 million jackpot. Or at least that’s what the slot machine showed. However, upon inspection conducted by the casino staff, it was revealed that the machine had malfunctioned. Evidence of this was that the maximum jackpot on that machine was set to just over $6,000. Despite the initial celebration, the unlucky woman ended up empty-pocketed. The casino did, however, offer her compensation in the form of a steak dinner. A few similar cases happened in other parts of the United States, with the casinos refusing to pay out almost every time. As per the gaming rules and regulations, casinos do have the right to do so if they can prove that the machine had malfunctioned. Still, as evident from the story, some casinos decide not to ruin the party for the players. Others, like Treasure Island, go even further – they do all they can to fix the errors caused by their machines – showing everyone that the industry is not all about making money at any cost. Speaking of which, there are some casino companies in the US that, in addition to doing business fair and square, also give back to the community. Donations by major gaming companies proved pivotal in Nevada during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The house always wins. However, the house also gives back. During the 2020 COVID pandemic, Las Vegas casinos gave away millions of dollars to save the lives and health of locals, as well as get Nevada’s economy back on its feet. Caesars Entertainment, for instance, donated almost half a million pounds of food. MGM Resorts donated, even more, about 552,000 meals throughout the pandemic. Las Vegas Sands did something similar. This company donated nearly 60,000 meals, as well as 55,000 bottles of water to people in the Vegas area. Even with the pandemic waning, Las Vegas casino companies continue to donate money to various causes. Their charity efforts show that the modern casino industry has come a long way from being strictly profit-oriented to being part of the community. Add to that the fact that casinos generate millions of dollars for the state budget, and you’ll understand how important they’ve become not only for Vegas but for the entire country.