New Jersey online casino players who gambled on an interactive slot manufactured by American Gaming Systems (AGS) are demanding compensation for a tech glitch that wrongly told them that they had won big.
Plaintiff Lisa Piluso, a suburban Philadelphia resident who works in Wildwood, N.J., alleges that she was cheated out of a $100,000 jackpot by AGS after the company claimed it was an operating error. Piluso was gambling on an AGS internet slot called “Capital Gains.”
I’m an experienced online player and I was shocked when AGS officials told me they weren’t going to pay even when I showed them the screenshot that I made of the $100,000 jackpot,” Piluso said in a release supplied by her attorney Paul D’Amato. “They said I actually won about $300, but they then offered me $1,000, saying they were ‘nice people.’”
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) says its internal investigation found that there was indeed a bug in the “Capital Gains” game, and AGS was subsequently issued a $1,000 fine from the state gaming regulatory.
D’Amato, a former New Jersey lawmaker who served on the Assembly Tourism & Gaming Committee, explained that his client was playing lawfully online via the Caesars Atlantic City platform. D’Amato filed the lawsuit on behalf of Piluso in the US District Court in Camden.
AGS is a publicly traded gaming manufacturer with a market cap of nearly $300 million. D’Amato says a $1,000 slap on the wrist from the state is unjust.
“Ms. Piluso was initially told that she hit the jackpot. Then stories changed and she was informed there was a ‘bug’ in the game that resulted in her jackpot. How many other players have been denied their winnings under the same circumstances?” D’Amato asked.
The Associated Press reports that there could be at least 14 gamblers who also thought they hit the game’s jackpot. The media outlet says 14 gamblers, including Piluso, have filed complaints against AGS for the “Capital Gains” glitch.
New Jersey Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Russo-Belles told D’Amato that an error resulted in certain bonus symbols revealed during one spin not being properly cleared before the next play.
“This error caused the patron(s) to believe that their bonus round winnings were higher than the actual winnings,” Russo-Belles detailed.
Odds Long of Lawsuits Prevailing
There’s a lengthy legal precedent that protects gaming manufacturers and operators from being on the hook to pay out on slot machine and electronic gaming device malfunctions. Slot machines and other gaming terminals come with disclaimers warning gamblers that tech errors void plays.
In Atlantic City, every slot machine features a notice that reads, “Malfunction voids all pays and plays.” The same protection is afforded to iGaming.
So, why do malfunctions often result in jackpots being displayed? The Nevada Gaming Control Board explains:
“With each pull of the handle, or push of the button, a slot machine begins the process of randomly selecting the next alignment of symbols. If a slot machine malfunctions, it cannot complete the random selection process. When a malfunction occurs, some slot machine manufacturers, for engineering purposes, set the reels to stop briefly in a jackpot position.
“When this happens, a player may see the reels momentarily stop at a jackpot. This often causes the player to believe a jackpot has been won. In recent years, slot machine manufacturers have changed the stop location to other than a jackpot alignment to help prevent the misunderstanding.”
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