It might be a good time for slot machine fans in the US to take a break and find a different way to pass the time, at least until casinos can figure out what’s causing the devices to wig out and malfunction. There have been several reports over the past week of one-armed bandits going haywire, with at least one patron being robbed of a multimillion-dollar jackpot. Troubles have been reported with the machines in at least three different states.
Last week, the Jena Choctaw Pines Casino in Louisiana saw issues with its slot machines before the holiday weekend. Those problems were still persistent on Monday and, heading into the weekend, 300 of the property’s 710 machines had to be turned off, according to local media outlet KALB. There were reportedly communications issues between the devices and servers, but no one was able to identify the source of the problem.
The casino’s director of marketing, Keith Young, told the media outlet, “I would love to be able to say yes this is exactly what happened because we would know exactly what to do to go and fix it. Unfortunately, we still don’t have that data. Once we get that and can now attack it and frankly that’s why we are building it from the ground up because whatever it was we are going to make sure it doesn’t exist anymore.”
Last Friday, according to Boston media outlet WCVB, Encore Boston Harbor was dealing with slot machine problems of its own. A handful of patrons using the machines were greeted with an error related to the slot ticket system, but the issue was reportedly fixed relatively quickly. It isn’t clear how many of the property’s 2,800 slot machines had been affected, or how much money may have been at stake.
Encore acknowledged the issue in a statement, explaining, “We experienced a brief system failure with our slot ticket system in which we reverted to hand-paid jackpots. The problem has been resolved and we are paying all the winners. Customers have reported that some of the slot machines started coming back online around 9:30 p.m. Friday. If you were inside Boston Harbor and you experienced a slot machine failure, please contact us at [email protected].” It added that the problem had been resolved and that it was “paying all the winners.” The slot machines were reportedly back in operation by 9:30 PM Friday night.
In the most egregious of errors, and one that is going to most likely play out in court or arbitration, Newcastle Casino in Oklahoma suffered a slot machine last Friday, as well. However, in this case, the malfunction coincidentally happened right after a casino patron won $8.5 million on the machine. Oklahoma’s Fox 25 reports that Maribel Sanchez was at the casino Friday morning when she hit the massive jackpot on a Liberty 7s slot machine. When the device indicated she had won, it shut off; however, not before she was able to take a picture of the display and the winnings.
The casino claims that the machine malfunctioned and that this voids the winnings. It won’t say what the malfunction is, though, and won’t comment on the issue further. Sanchez has already hired a lawyer and this “malfunction” could cost the casino big time.