Man to sue Austrian casino after $57 million jackpot denied

Dec 14, 2011, 9:38 am (33 comments)

Gambling

A gambler who thought he had won £37 million (US$57 million) on a slot machine has been offered a free meal and £60 (US$93) instead, after casino bosses said the jackpot was due to a "software error".

Behar Merlaku, 26, played the winning machine at a casino in Bregenz, Austria.

Despite only getting four of the slot machine's five required matches, Mr. Merlaku was told he had won the massive jackpot — complete with a winning bell and flashing screen.

However when he went to claim his prize, the Swiss player was instead offered the money and meal by casino bosses after they refused to pay out.

Now the disgruntled 26-year-old is to launch a lawsuit in Austria next month to force the casino to honour the "win", which Mr. Merlaku's lawyers says he is entitled to because of the what machine said.

The civil action, thought to be the biggest claim of its kind anywhere in the world, is being keenly watched by gaming operators everywhere.

The incident happened in a Casinos Austria AG establishment at Bregenz, which is run by a company which also has UK outlets, on March 26 this year.

When Mr. Merlaku made his claim the operators of the casino immediately blamed a glitch in the machine.

When he snubbed the paltry offer of compensation he was banned from the casino. Lawyers for the plaintiff say the company has passed the buck to the fruit machine manufacturer and refuse to take any responsibility for the error.

It also cited Austrian law which said jackpots cannot normally be higher than two million euros.

A press conference is due to be held tomorrow in Innsbruck, Austria, outlining the case against Casinos Austria, which operates a casino in Glasgow.

Its UK subsidiary holds a UK gaming operators licence. It also operates casinos in Cairns and Canberra, Australia, and elsewhere.

Mr. Merlaku's legal team said, "The slot machine that produced the winning display was immediately accessed by Casinos Austria.  The regulator, the Austrian Ministry of Finance, has shown no interest in pursuing an orderly investigation as would be the case in well regulated gaming jurisdictions such as the UK, Switzerland, Singapore, the USA, Australia and Macau."

The first hearing in the case is scheduled for January 10 next year.

Mr. Merlaku, a Kosovar-Albanian who moved to Switzerland at the time of the Balkans wars, said in an Austrian television interview that the greatest moment of his life quickly turned into the worst.

He added, "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."

Mr. Merlaku even used his mobile phone to film footage of the winning noise and screen.

However, this could be used against him in court because the video shows he only had four of the five symbols in a line; in Austria there must be five matches.

His lawyers will argue that because the machine told him he had won and therefore is justified in pursuing a claim.

Daily Mail, Lottery Post Staff

Comments

Guest

I know that most stores where i buy food, or get a service of some sort, if an employe accidentally marks the price of something lower than it should be, they will give it to me at that price, or if a representative quotes a wrong price, I will only pay what i was quoted.

But when a large amount of money is involved such as in this case, I'm not sure If he should get the whole thing. in my opinion, the casino should give this guy at least a million or so, that would be the right thing to do, because afterall, it's not like the casino can't afford it. The machine is on their property despite the error resulting from the manufacturer.

What casinos should do, and maybe they already do it, I don't know, is to require everyone to read a disclaimer before entering the casinos, so they know what the rules are, and have no basis for lawsuits.

Boney526's avatarBoney526

Quote: Originally posted by on Dec 14, 2011

I know that most stores where i buy food, or get a service of some sort, if an employe accidentally marks the price of something lower than it should be, they will give it to me at that price, or if a representative quotes a wrong price, I will only pay what i was quoted.

But when a large amount of money is involved such as in this case, I'm not sure If he should get the whole thing. in my opinion, the casino should give this guy at least a million or so, that would be the right thing to do, because afterall, it's not like the casino can't afford it. The machine is on their property despite the error resulting from the manufacturer.

What casinos should do, and maybe they already do it, I don't know, is to require everyone to read a disclaimer before entering the casinos, so they know what the rules are, and have no basis for lawsuits.

Gotta side with the Casino here.  Yeah it sucks, but clearly, if under the law in Austria, the JP couldn't be that big, and he only get 4 out of 5, it's got to be a software glitch.

 

I mean, I'd be upset, too, but this kind of stuff happens (although as the casino - I'd be returning any slots from that manufacturer.)

temptustoo's avatartemptustoo

 Seems I have been reading of this happening alot lately in different places. I for one will stay out of the casino's.. No Pity! poor guy ...  He should have taken the meal....

TheRightPrice

Pay the man!

 

I have NEVER been to any slot machine where there is a disclaimer BEFORE you put in a $1.00 that it is not responsible for "Software Glitches"

CLETU$

I've seen this happen in casinos in my area,but not for this amount of money.It sucks but the casinos usually win.My personal opinion is they should pay when THEIR machine malfunctions.But,like I said,the casinos usually win.

cbr$'s avatarcbr$

What?If Mr. Merlaku, is the same man that we read about a few months back , then this does't add up right .In the first report it was blame on a malfuntion machine , which you see signs all over the casino about why they don't  paid for that . But now they are saying it the software which cause the problem, plus the jackpot was over their legal limit they should paid out. These story has two conflicting view . This don't add up to began with now I ' ll  say it the casino need to paid- up. Then the casino need be the one dealing with the software company for reinbursment. As far as the jackpot be over the legal limit that they should have paid- out . that a after fact now . He should be paid the amount of money displayed on the screen. I have not see any where in the casino that they don't paid for fault software. The machine did acted like a winning machine sound effect the work it did what it suppose to do. Now, the players rights need to be protected from fault software as well. What next? If they get away with this , does this mean every time a player wins now if the casino doesn' t want to play use the this excuse not to pay .No No

GASMETERGUY

Quote: Originally posted by temptustoo on Dec 14, 2011

 Seems I have been reading of this happening alot lately in different places. I for one will stay out of the casino's.. No Pity! poor guy ...  He should have taken the meal....

My sentiments exactly.  How many JP at casinos have been hit only to be denied because of a malfunction?  More than I am finding comfortable.  That is why I stay out of casinos.

CARBOB

However, this could be used against him in court because the video shows he only had four of the five symbols in a line; in Austria there must be five matches.

If the above statement is a fact, in my opinion, he doesn't stand a chance!!

Grovel's avatarGrovel

Quote: Originally posted by CARBOB on Dec 14, 2011

However, this could be used against him in court because the video shows he only had four of the five symbols in a line; in Austria there must be five matches.

If the above statement is a fact, in my opinion, he doesn't stand a chance!!

I have to agree. If all the numbers matched I would have sided with this guy. But this was clearly a  mistake. His best hope is to try to settle outside of court.

dr65's avatardr65

I think he's going to have to settle for what he won according to the symbols.

4/5 with bells and whistles just isn't the same as 5/5 with bells and whistles.

dpoly1's avatardpoly1

I only play blackjack on the very rare occasions that I go to a casino!

Winning big on Friday! Going Green the proper way .......... with money .............

Yes Nod

maringoman's avatarmaringoman

It must be very devastating to think that your financial worries are over only to be told that they are still very real.

I however think that casinos should start paying fines that go to the players who make the discovery that the machine is broken.

Say the machine breaks down and announces you have won $5M, the casino should offer you $10,000 for the adrenalin and emotions

that you go through the instant you think you have won big. $60 and a meal is not good enough, I think.

B$Rizzle's avatarB$Rizzle

Quote: Originally posted by on Jul 22, 2024

Dearsha - if you think they should be penalized & pay , then why not pay the guy who thought he'd won? Why do you think the penalty should go to the "Homeless" or the "School teachers instead of the guy????

 

If anyone gets a payout from this, it should be the GUY who thought he hit the jackpot, not the homeless or teachers. What part did the homeless people have in this?? Please explain

 

Im confused on this one

haymaker's avatarhaymaker

Quote: Originally posted by on Jul 22, 2024

i work at a ac. casino,your idea is a blanket punishment on many ppl. that have nothing to do w/ the problem and are just trying to make a living

a few years ago we had a shutdown,caused by a budget disagreement between the gov. and senators,just a few days,but it was a weekend in the summer.

i know more then one person that still has not recovered from this

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