Malfunction Cheats Man Out of $57 Million Jackpot
How would you like to win 57 million dollars? And then find out that you really didn’t win? Most slot machines these days are run on computer chips, which means that just like your trusty laptop, they’re bound to fail on occasion.
That’s what happened to Behar Merlaku, who thought he’d won a $57 million jackpot, only to learn a software error voided his big score.
Merlaku, a 26-year-old Swiss national, was playing at a small casino in Austria earlier this year when the machine suddenly began playing music and its screen told Merlaku he’d won the life-changing prize.
Upon closer examination, however, he’d only lined up four of the five symbols necessary to win. When casino employees discovered this, they told Merlaku it had been a “software error” and offered him $100 and a free meal. In a fit of understandable frustration, he rejected that and instead filed suit against the casino in an effort to make it pay the millions he says he won.
The civil action, thought to be the biggest claim of its kind anywhere in the world, is being closely watched by casinos everywhere. Merlaku’s attorneys say the casino refuses to take responsibility, instead blaming the slot machine manufacturer for the mishap, and the casino is in violation of an Austrian law stating jackpots cannot exceed $2.6 million.
The suit also says the fact that the machine told him he’d won was enough to give him a legal claim to the money, despite the fact he only achieved four of the five required matches.
Merlaku said, “I will fight for this until my death… I can’t sleep anymore and I constantly think about the injustice I’ve experienced.”