Casino Should Honor Slot Machine’s Payout Despite Glitch

COMMENTARY | According to Digital Trends, a Swiss man is suing an Austrian casino for refusing to pay up after a slot machine said he won nearly 43 million euros. When he went to collect the casino offered him $100 and a free meal, that the “win” was actually a software glitch.

While the glitch part appears to have been factual, with the man’s turn only matching four of five slots, the machine declared him a winner nonetheless.

First of all, the man easily could have won. Every turn had a chance of winning a jackpot. The casino should have had enough cash on hand to cover the machine’s possible payout, which could happen at any time. So why not honor the gentleman’s machine-declared win? According to rules of chance, it could just as well have been completely legitimate.

Secondly, letting casinos claim “computer glitch” whenever they lose sets a horrible precedent. The powers that be in gaming, business, and even government could start claiming computer error whenever they “lose”, similar to despotic rulers claiming “computer error” with every election.

Third, social custom dictates that those with more power behave graciously toward those with less. If a teacher accidentally gave a student a higher-than-earned grade, it would be cruel to remove points if the student had already seen the higher grade.

Legally the situation is similar: We impose legal restrictions upon our nation’s ultimate power — the government itself — by mandating statutes of limitations for trying alleged criminals. In criminal court, we place the burden of proof on the prosecution. Laws protect the less-powerful consumer such as with rent-control statutes. We try to restrict landlords, lenders, and companies from making people dependent on them, unable to easily break free, and then raising prices.

In hiring, if a company offers someone a position and they begin spending money as a result, such as planning for relocation, the company should be financially liable if they rescind said offer. If people spend money in good faith after receiving a financial offer the offer should not annulled without just compensation.

The casino-goer thought he had won money, just as many others have won money. He began thinking about what he could do with his winnings, same as everyone who is offered a new job or a raise begins planning what to do with their new income. The casino should pay up.

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