On Oct. 25, 2009, a man named Ly Sam was playing a slot machine at the Sheraton Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The machine, a game called Landlord, showed that Sam had won US $55.5m. The Vietnamese-American Sam couldn’t believe his luck. Trouble is, neither could the hotel manager, who claimed the machine had erred and Sam was owed nothing more than an apology. Sam is now in the process of suing the hotel.
Let’s hope Sam has more luck than Elmer Patzer, a British Columbia resident who thought he’d won big at the Hastings Park racetrack in November, 2004. Patzer went to the track with 20-25 unchecked betting slips he’d accumulated that racing season, and when he fed them into the machine, the machine fed him back a voucher for over $6.5m. Imagine his chagrin when the racetrack refused to honor the voucher. Patzer sued, but the court pointed out that the largest ever payout to an individual Canadian horse bettor was just over $1m, and based on the size of the betting pool, Patzer’s voucher had clearly been issued in error. Damn, ain’t anybody getting paid in the offline betting world anymore?
Enter an unnamed horse bettor in Hallandale Beach, Florida. This stingy character was drawn to Gulfstream Park’s betting window by the ability to play the 10-cent Rainbow Six. The aim of this ‘microbet’ is to hit six winners, but the entire pool gets paid out only if there’s a single winner. If there’s more than one winning ticket, the winners split 60% of the total, while the remaining 40% carries forward to the following day’s prize money. Well, on this day, our unnamed hero was holding the only winner, and just like that, his thin dime was magically transformed into a fat $221,677 paycheck. And it didn’t bounce, neither.