Monday, March 23, 2009

Man sues OLG over $43M slot 'mistake'

A Wasaga Beach retiree is suing the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation for a total of $45.9 million after he claims he won big on a slot machine only to be offered a few free buffet dinners.

Pawel Kusznirewicz served the OLG with a statement of claim today for a trip to the Georgian Downs slots last December that left him feeling like a “persona non grata” and out a $42.9 million win.

When the lights and sirens went off on the two-penny slot, named the Buccaneer, the Polish immigrant thought he had won millions - he even got chest pains and thought he was about to have a heart attack. One OLG staffer told him he’d have to go to the winner’s circle to collect but other officials told him the machine had malfunctioned and there’d be no cash.

“I’m very frustrated because you see that big money and then you get nothing,” Kusznirewicz told the Sun today. “For $42 million, a four person buffet? You got to be kidding.”

The OLG has vowed to defend the action saying the machine really did malfunction and the Buccaneer only pays out a maximum jackpot of $9,025.

“Bottom line is the machine malfunctioned, this was not a winning play, the machine goes nowhere close to those astronomical figures that are being quoted,” OLG spokesman Allison Sparkes said, adding there was an error message on the screen.

“A loose analogy would be if you went to your bank machine and deposited $1,000 and an error message appeared and your receipt came out saying you actually deposited $1 million, you don’t get to keep the $1 million because the machine malfunctioned.

“You certainly wouldn’t expect the banks to give you the money because of a technical error.”

In his statement of claim Kusznirewicz, 55, states he attended the Innisfil casino with his wife Halina on Dec. 8 and began playing the Buccaneer. After 20 minutes and $60 worth of playing, the Buccaneer began making sounds and flashing its lights, indicating a win, the statement claims.

“The prize won by Kusznirewicz, as shown on the video screen of the Buccaneer slot machine, was $42.9 million,” the claim states.

All the statements in his claim have yet to be proven in court.

Casino staff told Kusznirewicz he would not be paid because of a malfunction.

Kusznirewicz claims there was no indication the machine was broken and OLG staff couldn’t point him to any proof. Staff took photos of the machine and then turned it off.

One supervisor gave him a business card for two then four free meals at the casino’s buffet. Kusznirewicz says he didn’t take them up on the buffet meals.

The statement asks the OLG to pay $42.9 million along with $1 million in general damages, $1 million in aggravated damages, $1 million in punitive or exemplary damages and costs.

Kusznirewicz’s lawyer Bryan McPhadden said his client was lured into the casino under the promise of potentially winning the dream only to have it turn quickly into a nightmare once he won.

“Under the circumstances OLG should pay the amount it indicated he had won,” McPhadden said. “OLG wants people to play for the fantasy and when the dream comes true they pull it away.”

The OLG vowed to defend the action saying they followed the rules of the province’s slot machine regulator, the Alchohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Any wins caused by a malfunction are void, the corporation maintained, adding that warning is posted on each slot machine.

Lisa Murray, a spokesman for the AGCO, said a final investigator’s report on the machine should be released soon.

“There was a malfunction,” Murray said, adding the commission subsequently checked similar machines in the province. “This is the only time it has ever happened for a jackpot for a large prize like this ... It was a blip, it was an abnormality that happened.

“It’s an electronic device so from time to time there will be a malfunction that will occur.”

The AGCO sets the standards for how the machines must be operated before they are introduced and check them quarterly, she said.


Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home