A man who won $57 million from a slot machine is taking the casino to court after it told him it was a software error and refused to pay up.
It was a very good day for Behar Merlaku of Switzerland when a slot machine at an Austrian casino went bells-and-whistles bananas, telling him he'd won the grand prize of $57 million. But it quickly turned into a very bad day when he attempted to claim his prize and was told by the casino owners that a software error had triggered the machine and that they weren't going to pay up. They offered him $100 and a free meal instead, and he, quite naturally, told them to get bent.
In the casino's defense, the top prize is meant for a five-slot match and Merlaku apparently only matched four slots, but the machine said he won and in his mind, that's all there is to it. So he's taking the casino to court in what is considered the largest claim of its kind ever and one to which casino operators around the world are paying very close attention.
"The jackpot came up loud and clear. There was music and the sum I had won - nearly €43 million - was displayed on the screen," Merlaku said in an interview on Austrian television. "I was so overjoyed and in my head I began calculating what I could do with all this money."
Merlaku and his lawyers are holding a press conference tomorrow to outline their case against the casino, which is slated to begin next month. But he may have shot himself in the foot: evidence that only four of the five slots were matched came from Merlaku himself, who recorded a video of his big win on his cell phone.