The slot machine Behar Merlaku was playing at a casino in Bregenz, Austria, lit up, started ringing, and a message flashing on the screen told him that he had just hit the $57 million jackpot. But when Merlaku went to collect his prize, the casino bosses said that he didn’t actually win and that the machine had suffered a “software error.”
But since the casino is in the customer service business they decided to offer Merlaku $100 and a free dinner so that there wouldn’t be any hard feelings. Well, Merlaku declined the offer and is now suing the casino for his $57 million jackpot.
The Daily Mail reports that Merlaku was playing on a slot machine that required five matches to win the jackpot. Merlaku only had four of the five matches when the machine started ringing the winning bell. But Merlaku says that shouldn’t matter. The 26-year-old said:
“I will fight for this until my death. It is outrageous what they have done to me and my family… The jackpot came up loud and clear. There was music and the sum I had won – nearly 43 million euros – was displayed on a screen. I was so overjoyed and in my head I began calculating what I could do with all this money.”
The casino, owned by Casinos Austria AG, is saying that it is not required to pay Merlaku because the jackpot was triggered by a software error. If anyone should pay, according to the casino, it should be the manufacturing company for providing a faulty machine. The casino also says that Austrian law forbids jackpots of more than two million euros and it shouldn’t be required to pay the $43 million euro jackpot.
The casino’s case seems pretty flimsy. For one, isn’t it possible that Merlaku actually hit the jackpot and that the “error” was actually a stuck reel that displayed four matches instead of five? And if Austrian law forbids jackpots of more than two million, shouldn’t the casino face a fine for having a machine that hands out $57 million jackpots?
What do you think? Is Merlaku entitled to his jackpot? Should the casino be allowed to deny a payment due to a software glitch?