Woman sues over slot game payout; 13 others make same claim

Entertainment

This Nov. 12, 2021 photo shows a screen shot of a demonstration version of the Capital Gains online slot game. A Yardley, Pennsylvania woman is suing the manufacturer of the game, saying it gave her a notice on her cell phone that she had won $100,000. But the manufacturer says “a bug” in the system wrongly told her she won more than she was entitled to. New Jersey officials say they have received 14 similar complaints about the game, manufactured by American Gaming Systems. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A Pennsylvania woman is suing the manufacturer of a popular online slots game, claiming it wrongly refused to pay her a $100,000 jackpot due to “a bug” in the product.

New Jersey regulators revealed Friday that 14 gamblers, including Lisa Piluso of Yardley, Pennsylvania, have filed the same complaint against the company, saying they were told they won far more than the manufacturer says they were actually entitled to.

Piluso says Las Vegas-based American Gaming Systems offered her only $280, but later upped the offer to $1,000.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Camden, Piluso accuses the company of consumer fraud and other wrongful actions related to the jackpot she was told she had won while playing on her cell phone in New Jersey on Oct. 2, 2020.

“I’m an experienced online player, and I was shocked when AGS officials, including the company president, told me they weren’t going to pay, even when I showed them the screenshot that I made of the $100,000 jackpot,” she said in a statement issued through her lawyer, Paul D’Amato.

“They said I actually won about $300, but they then offered me $1,000, saying we were ‘nice people,’” Piluso said. “How many other players have been in the same situation but agreed to settle for a fraction of their winnings after being told they, too, were ‘nice people?’”

AGS did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

The Capital Gains game she was playing was on an online platform hosted by Caesars Interactive New Jersey, although neither Caesars casino nor its online branch were named as defendants in the lawsuit. Caesars had no immediate comment.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement investigated the matter, and wrote to Piluso on Aug. 27 revealing that AGS “had discovered an issue/bug within the game” that wrongly failed to clear bonus symbols from previous rounds from a player’s screen.

“This error caused the patron(s) to believe that their bonus round winnings were higher than the actual winnings,” Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Russo-Belles wrote.

She added that the state had taken regulatory action against AGS but did not say what that action was.

In response to a request from The Associated Press, the attorney general’s office on Friday revealed it had fined AGS $1,000 for failing to ensure that the game was functioning properly. It could not immediately be determined if the company has paid the fine or whether it is contesting the matter. An attorney to whom the violation notice against AGS was sent did not return a message seeking comment Friday.

The violation notice has not been posted on the gaming enforcement division’s web site, which includes a bi-monthly list of enforcement actions taken by the director.

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Follow Wayne Parry on Twitter at @WayneParryAC

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