Can slot machines malfunction?

The history of slot machine gambling, on- and offline, is awash with tales of players who have filed unsuccessful lawsuits against casinos for absurdly large sums of money that they believe they should have won because of a malfunction. Slot machines can malfunction for a variety of reasons, but it is not often that a player who has legitimately won a massive jackpot walks away without it.

That was, however, the case with Arizonian Robert Taylor who, in January, 2022, legitimately won a progressive jackpot worth $229,368.52 on ‘The Mask’ slot machine at Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. A communication error on the wide area network caused the machine to malfunction, such that neither Taylor nor casino staff were aware of his windfall. Consequently, Taylor left more or less empty-handed but, when the glitch was discovered some days later, the casino contacted the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) for help in identifying its lucky, but unwitting, patron.

After countless hours of searching through surveillance footage, identify him they did, and the casino notified him of his good fortune nearly three weeks after his winning spin. James Taylor, Chief of the Enforcement Division at the NGCB, said, ‘We thought it was a long shot to be able to identify him. But we really wanted to put a lot of effort into this. It was the right thing to do to find the owner of this money.’

According to James Taylor, his namesake was ‘very appreciate’ of the efforts of NGCB agents in tracking him down. Robert Taylor did eventually return to Treasure Island Hotel & Casino, where he was presented with a ceremonial cheque for his winnings. Thereafter, he was unavailable for comment and requested, via the casino, that his privacy be respected.