Macau jackpot winner may lose multi-million dollar prize

HONG KONG, Sept 2, 2007 (AFP) – A Hong Kong woman who won 43 million dollars in a Macau casino may not get her money because the slot machine was not working properly, the territory’s gaming inspector said Sunday. The machine showed the woman had won the equivalent of 5.5 million US dollars after putting in just five Hong Kong dollars.

But the South China Morning Post said casino staff refused to hand over the money, saying there was a mechanical mistake.

The woman complained to the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau, which ruled that the prize money was “unreasonable” given the maximum prize from the slot machine was supposed to be 45,000 dollars.

The watchdog said that after preliminary investigations it did not agree with the gambler’s complaint, but would conduct further research before making a final ruling.

It is not the first dispute about jackpot winnings at a Macau casino.

In February, a 16-year-old Hong Kong girl won a 95,000-dollar jackpot on a slot machine, but the casino refused to pay out because she was too young to gamble. The gaming watchdog censured the casino owner for allowing underage gambling and ordered it to pay the winnings to her mother.