A US woman has lost thousands of dollars in poker machine winnings after a casino mix-up meant the prize was paid to the wrong person.
Cynthia Obie spent an evening with a friend having a flutter at the MGM National Harbour Casino in Maryland last Friday when she hit the jackpot.
“I was very excited. Like, I need this money,” Ms Obie told news station FOX5DC.
While the woman did not disclose the exact amount of her win, she told US media the sum was in the “thousands” — a figure which was very much needed following the Christmas season.
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However, when it came time to claim her prize, Ms Obie discovered the casino had made a huge mistake — by taking down her social security number incorrectly by just one number.
A nine-digit social security number is issued to every US citizen and permanent resident, and employee, patient, student and credit records are often recorded under it.
Punters must also produce their social security number in order to claim a jackpot.
Ms Obie, an occasional casino visitor, told FOX5DC staff had collected her identification including her social security number — but ended up misreading it by just one digit.
That incorrect number, which was entered into the casino’s system by a staff member, belonged to another person entirely — someone who owed the state money in unpaid child support.
As a result, the prize was confiscated and Ms Obie was not given one cent of her cash.
She said her initial excitement turned to confusion and then devastation after the mistake was revealed.
And she said by the time she had convinced staff a case of mistaken identity had taken place, it was too late to correct the error.
“I’m like, ‘No. All of my daughters are grown. I’ve never paid child support.’ I’m like, ‘this can’t be right,’” she said.
Instead of her significant prize, Ms Obie said she was offered drink vouchers and $US200 ($A278) in game credit in compensation.
Unsurprisingly, Ms Obie said she was not impressed with the situation.
“Now I’m at the point, this is insane. You guys are a billion-dollar corporation,” she said. “You do the research: I won fair and square. I just want my money.”
A spokesperson confirmed the “unfortunate error” had taken place in a statement provided to FOX5DC.
“Due to MLGCA (Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency) rules and Maryland State Law, we cannot provide an additional payout for this jackpot, however, if she presents the proper identification credentials to the Maryland Gaming Commission, they will provide her with the appropriate payout,” the statement read.
“We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused Ms Obie.”
Ms Obie’s only remaining option now is to take the matter up with the Gaming Control Agency.
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