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Thread: Woman forfeits $1,400 jackpot after self-barring from casino

  1. #1
    Bronze alpha1243's Avatar
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    Woman forfeits $1,400 jackpot after self-barring from casino

    Another casino free rolling a customer? I especially like her line: "One thing about Americans, they're troublemakers."

    http://buffalonews.com/2017/04/23/wo...t-unjustified/

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    NIAGARA FALLS – Two years ago, Pasqua DiGianni had a bad night on the slot machines at Seneca Niagara Casino.

    After winning a jackpot and then losing most of it back because she wouldn't stop gambling, she ended up signing a document barring herself from the casino.

    On April 15, the Woodbridge, Ont., woman returned to the Niagara Falls casino for the first time since that incident – and had an even worse night, despite winning again.

    After pumping at least $600 into a single machine – she contends it was far more – DiGianni finally hit the jackpot to the tune of $1,400.
    But when she headed for the cashier's window to claim her winnings, casino management refused to pay her.

    Not only that – they called Niagara Falls police, who charged her with trespassing.


    It seems the self-imposed ban on visiting the casino was still in effect. Now she has a court date Monday.

    DiGianni, 69, did receive a $600 refund for the cash the casino says she spent on the slot machine that night, though she says she spent more than twice that much. She said played the same $1 slot machine, spending $400 at first, then went to the cashier and got another $500, then another $400.

    With no luck playing the minimum nine chances at a time, DiGianni finally punched the maximum $45 play button, and that's when she hit the $1,400 jackpot.

    "If I didn't win that jackpot, they wouldn't know anyway (that I was there)," she said. "If they would have given me that jackpot, I would have broken even."

    She admitted to The Buffalo News last week that, in 2015, she had signed a document barring herself from the casino. She also said she received a letter last year inviting her to return, but she was unable to locate it.

    DiGianni said as far as she's concerned, she should have been let off with a warning if she was still barred.

    "I was really shocked. They could have warned me, 'OK, we believe what you're saying,' but not give me this court date," DiGianni said. "And then they wouldn't give me the jackpot. They should have given me the jackpot regardless."

    Philip J. Pantano, a spokesman for Seneca Gaming Corp., said he couldn't comment on the matter because of regulatory restrictions.

    But the Seneca Niagara Casino website includes a policy that could explain why DiGianni was arrested and not paid her winnings.

    On a page headed "Responsible Gaming," the casino warns, "If a person who has been voluntarily excluded enters the premises while under exclusion, he/she is subject to arrest for trespassing and any winnings will be forfeited."

    The policy also says that after a year, those who have barred themselves from the casino may ask in writing for reinstatement. It appears DiGianni might have received a letter allowing her to do that.

    "When I received the letter that they wanted me to go back, I was surprised, too," she said.

    "Regulatory provisions prohibit Seneca Gaming Corporation from discussing any specifics related to the exclusion of an individual. If any authentic documentation exists that would further clarify this situation, we would be happy to review it," Pantano said.

    The police arrest report said DiGianni has been barred since May 28, 2015.

    "Two years ago, I signed out, because I won the jackpot and I wasn't winning anymore. I gave it back, almost all, and then I signed out," DiGianni said.

    DiGianni lives north of Toronto and said she and her husband sometimes stop at the Niagara Falls casino after visiting relatives in the Buffalo area. She said she seldom goes to other casinos.

    She was upset by the publicity her story has brought her.

    "What's the big story? That I trespassed?" she asked, adding that she doesn't think the situation reflects well on the casino.

    "They made a big thing out of nothing," DiGianni said. "One thing about Americans, they're troublemakers. I'm a simple citizen and I went there. I received a letter last year. So what that I went there? It's not a big deal. They could have said, 'I'm sorry. Next time, don't come.' "

    Now DiGianni faces a Monday court date before Niagara Falls City Judge Danielle M. Restaino on the trespassing violation.

    "I'm going there and I'm going to explain to the judge, this is my truth, and I was naοve about it," DiGianni said.

  2. #2
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, this is a common trick used by casinos these days. It's especially common at Indian-run casinos (like this one), which tend to be more shady.

    As you said, it's a freeroll. When the gambler is losing, they look the other way. When the gambler wins, they claim, "You should've been banned, we just didn't realize you were here."

    Sometimes it's not quite that sinister, but it ends up a freeroll anyway. For example, some places just don't bother looking for banned customers, and they only discover them when they hit a jackpot and need a W2-G form. At that point, they say, "You're not entitled to this."

    On the flip side, the casinos are in a bad position. They can't pay these out, or otherwise the ban is meaningless. The banned people will keep coming back, even if charged with trespassing.

    The solution?

    The casino should make it VERY CLEAR that any winnings will be confiscated when someone self-excludes. That is, they should be signing a separate paper which clearly states this, and they should be orally told, as well.

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    Silver GringoStar's Avatar
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    The real solution would be to have a fail-safe that disallows her from making any bets. I am not sure what kind of slots she was on, but if she was using a card associated with her name/account, the credits should not function.

    I get it though, this is a way of casinos using a practice intended to protect gambers to screw them over further.

    I would love to see the form or document she filled out and signed to self-ban herself.

  4. #4
    No sympathy here. You can always ask to be unbanned. I have "heard" it takes a waiting period of something like 30 days. Simple solution.

     
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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GringoStar View Post
    The real solution would be to have a fail-safe that disallows her from making any bets. I am not sure what kind of slots she was on, but if she was using a card associated with her name/account, the credits should not function.

    I get it though, this is a way of casinos using a practice intended to protect gambers to screw them over further.

    I would love to see the form or document she filled out and signed to self-ban herself.
    She likely didn't use a card. If she did, then she has more of an argument, because they couldn't claim that they weren't aware she was there.

    Even if she filled out a document which had "We can confiscate your winnings" buried in the fine print, I don't think that's enough.

    These casinos should make it VERY CLEAR to the player that they will not get any winnings if they return and are caught, which will make any kind of big or medium win impossible. That by itself would probably keep these people away.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by GringoStar View Post
    The real solution would be to have a fail-safe that disallows her from making any bets. I am not sure what kind of slots she was on, but if she was using a card associated with her name/account, the credits should not function.

    I get it though, this is a way of casinos using a practice intended to protect gambers to screw them over further.

    I would love to see the form or document she filled out and signed to self-ban herself.
    She likely didn't use a card. If she did, then she has more of an argument, because they couldn't claim that they weren't aware she was there.

    Even if she filled out a document which had "We can confiscate your winnings" buried in the fine print, I don't think that's enough.

    These casinos should make it VERY CLEAR to the player that they will not get any winnings if they return and are caught, which will make any kind of big or medium win impossible. That by itself would probably keep these people away.

    A couple of points of interest here.

    Now, I can't attest to Indian Casinos because I don't have much background playing/working/behind the scenes with them but each Indian Casino still answers to a regulatory body governed by that specific state.

    If you are either 86ed or you self exclude yourself, your card is immediately de-activated once it becomes official in the system. This means even if you attempt to use it, it will either alert security or just won't function at all.

    I assure you (at least US owned non Indian casinos) it is serious business having an 86'ed or excluded player playing on the property. They don't want the action. They're not trying to grind money from them. It's more a hassle than anything else.

    I don't blame the casinos in this spot. Technically, any self excluded patron that gambled at a property is tresspasing so I would be pretty confident the casino would be in its right to withhold any winnings. But they don't want any negative press so they fairly refunded her losses to her.

    I have to assume the casino determined the amount lost via surveillance since as mentioned I'm pretty sure she wasn't using a card, not that that would've tracked her play anyhow.

  7. #7
    Silver GringoStar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drexel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post

    She likely didn't use a card. If she did, then she has more of an argument, because they couldn't claim that they weren't aware she was there.

    Even if she filled out a document which had "We can confiscate your winnings" buried in the fine print, I don't think that's enough.

    These casinos should make it VERY CLEAR to the player that they will not get any winnings if they return and are caught, which will make any kind of big or medium win impossible. That by itself would probably keep these people away.

    A couple of points of interest here.

    Now, I can't attest to Indian Casinos because I don't have much background playing/working/behind the scenes with them but each Indian Casino still answers to a regulatory body governed by that specific state.

    If you are either 86ed or you self exclude yourself, your card is immediately de-activated once it becomes official in the system. This means even if you attempt to use it, it will either alert security or just won't function at all.

    I assure you (at least US owned non Indian casinos) it is serious business having an 86'ed or excluded player playing on the property. They don't want the action. They're not trying to grind money from them. It's more a hassle than anything else.

    I don't blame the casinos in this spot. Technically, any self excluded patron that gambled at a property is tresspasing so I would be pretty confident the casino would be in its right to withhold any winnings. But they don't want any negative press so they fairly refunded her losses to her.

    I have to assume the casino determined the amount lost via surveillance since as mentioned I'm pretty sure she wasn't using a card, not that that would've tracked her play anyhow.
    Your and Druff's assessments both make a lot of sense. One question though.

    If someone gets 86'd for counting in blackjack and they return at another date and make some money, then they are recognized or flagged at the cage, can the casino go through their pockets and belongings? I realize this woman was unaware she would be denied, but I am trying to imagine how she may have gotten away with the cash if she hypothetically knew that her self-ban would come back to bite her.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by GringoStar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Drexel View Post


    A couple of points of interest here.

    Now, I can't attest to Indian Casinos because I don't have much background playing/working/behind the scenes with them but each Indian Casino still answers to a regulatory body governed by that specific state.

    If you are either 86ed or you self exclude yourself, your card is immediately de-activated once it becomes official in the system. This means even if you attempt to use it, it will either alert security or just won't function at all.

    I assure you (at least US owned non Indian casinos) it is serious business having an 86'ed or excluded player playing on the property. They don't want the action. They're not trying to grind money from them. It's more a hassle than anything else.

    I don't blame the casinos in this spot. Technically, any self excluded patron that gambled at a property is tresspasing so I would be pretty confident the casino would be in its right to withhold any winnings. But they don't want any negative press so they fairly refunded her losses to her.

    I have to assume the casino determined the amount lost via surveillance since as mentioned I'm pretty sure she wasn't using a card, not that that would've tracked her play anyhow.
    Your and Druff's assessments both make a lot of sense. One question though.

    If someone gets 86'd for counting in blackjack and they return at another date and make some money, then they are recognized or flagged at the cage, can the casino go through their pockets and belongings? I realize this woman was unaware she would be denied, but I am trying to imagine how she may have gotten away with the cash if she hypothetically knew that her self-ban would come back to bite her.
    If someone has already been 86'ed for counting per your example, the casino would have every right to contact metro and have that person arrrested for trespassing.

    The days of back rooming people are 25 + years removed.

    The casino would certainly confiscate all the chips/any winnings but regarding going into their pockets, I would say doubtful. If there was any search involved, it would almost certainly be done by metro.

    It's quite easy to circumvent if you are 86'ed or self excluded.

    There is only one casino that I know of that factually has facial recognition software in Las Vegas. Meaning if you entered a property you shouldn't be in, as long as you don't use a card, get asked for id, or are recognized by someone, you'll be able to maneuver especially during prime gaming hours like the weekends.

    if this woman had not hit a jackpot, which alerted surveillance as well as the slot department, she would've gotten away with it and we never would've heard the story .

  9. #9
    Gold duped_samaritan's Avatar
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    Not sure about regulations in Canada, but in AC casinos any funds seized by casino are forfeited to the government, including funds by underage, self-banned or banned players.

    Example:

    Last month tropicana had to hand over $30k +

    Ordered the forfeiture of $30,818.13 in funds theoretically won by
    prohibited persons at Tropicana;

    http://www.njdge.org/docs/Rulings/20...ropforfeit.pdf

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