The gambling world got off to a wild start in early January! A slot machine player from Arizona won a progressive jackpot of $229,368.52 at Treasure Island. The only problem is that the player didn’t know he was due a six-figure payout.
There was a “communications error” on The Mask slot machine at Treasure Island and the player was not paid. Since this wasn’t a typical slot malfunction, the player was due to be paid the jackpot that wasn’t displayed.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB)took nearly three weeks to find the player. It took the NGCB multiple attempts to reach the player. Once informed, Robert Taylor returned to the Las Vegas Strip casino to get paid the six–figure jackpot and pose for photos with a Big Check.
Slot machine errors aren’t always malfunctions
Typically “malfunctions void play” on slot machines. This is listed on every game. However, this was a rare occasion where a slot machine malfunction happened after the game was over.
Senior researcher for the NGCB, Michael Lawton explained the difference to Las Vegas Advisor:
“In some cases, a malfunction can void a game, but in this case, the game itself was completed and it was a valid jackpot. The problem, in this situation, was the communication error after the jackpot between the machine and the vendor.”
This kind of error happens so infrequently that Lawton told the Las Vegas Review–Journal that he doesn’t remember the last time he had such an occurrence.
After isolating the problem, Treasure Island had a rough go of identifying the player. The NGCB stepped in and helped connect the casino and the player.
Tracking down the winner
Tracking down the winner wasn’t as easy as simply identifying the person playing the game. This specific patron wasn’t using a players club card, making it much harder to single him out. The NGCB had to do serious detective work to find Taylor.
The NGCB used multiple agents of its Enforcement Division to find the identity of the player. Altogether, the investigation took about three weeks.
The process of tracking down the player included reviewing multiple hours of surveillance footage at multiple casinos. There were also numerous interviews with witnesses who may have seen Taylor.
Additionally, the board did a study of electronic purchase records. They then analyzed rideshare data obtained from the Nevada Transportation Authority and a rideshare company. This helped the commission to follow Taylor as he traveled around Las Vegas on vacation.
The process takes more than just identifying the player, though. It took the NCGB a few times reaching out to finally contact Taylor and explain that he was due a progressive jackpot from his visit to Las Vegas.
Nevada Gaming Control Board explains
After nearly three weeks, the NGCB was able to confirm the jackpot winner was Robert Taylor from Arizona.
In a statement, James Taylor, Chief of the Board’s Enforcement Division said:
“The Nevada Gaming Control Board is charged with the strict regulation of the gaming industry, the protection of the gaming public, and ensuring that the industry benefits the State of Nevada. I commend the agents of the Enforcement Division, particularly Agent Dan Nuqui, for ensuring that the public trust in the gaming industry remains strong by spending countless hours over two weeks to ensure that a patron is awarded winnings owed to him.”
“I’d also like to thank the Nevada Transportation Authority for their assistance in confirming the identity of the patron. This has been a great example of government working together for the benefit of the public.”
This doesn’t happen often. It appears as though the NGCB takes paying out winners as seriously as punishing cheaters.
Robert Taylor was notified about the error twenty days after actually winning on Jan. 28. Alerted to the win, he happily returned to Treasure Island on Feb. 9, to finally pick up his $229,368.52 jackpot.