43-Million Slot Win Disqualified by Casinos Austria

Casino tries to fob player off with a free meal and Euro 70

Much of Austrian media’s attention has been dedicated to an intriguing slot win case, in which Casinos Austria decided to disqualify a player's Euro 43 million slot win at a casino in Bregenz, Austria in March, and attempted to fob the player off with a Euro 70 payment and a free meal voucher.

The disgruntled player, Behar Merlaku (26), saw the slot machine he was playing burst into bells and fireworks, announcing a Euro 43 million sign flashing, but he did not manage to get the sum from the casino, as its management turned down his win as a software malfunction. Not even the screen photo he took turned out to be of any help, as it shows four aligned symbols instead of the five required for a jackpot win.

Currently, Merlaku is working with his lawyers, who claim that he is entitled to the win because the machine awarded it; hence, instead of the Euro 70 and a meal voucher consolation prize, Merlaku may be looking at a more favorable reimbursement.

In addition, his lawyers prepared a press release, stating: "The slot machine that produced the winning display was immediately accessed by Casinos Austria.

"There was no contemporaneous independent assessment of the claimed error, and no opportunity has since been afforded by the company for the machine software to be analysed, other than by Atronic, a supplier to it of jackpot controllers.

"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."

In the latest reports, Casinos Austria has passed the ball to its machine provider, Atronic, and it has been stated by corporate spokesmen that in Austrian law jackpots cannot normally be higher than Euro 2 million.

If no settlement is reached, a court proceeding will be initiated on January 10, 2012, and if that happens, the case will surely be closely followed by European gambling groups.

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