Skip to Content

Gambler hits $1.4M jackpot but a computer glitch gets in the way

Casinos are like lotteries – the odds of winning one are pretty slim. When you try your luck in any casino game, the system is always set against your favor and chances are, the house will win nearly all of the time. At the end of the day, casinos are big money-making businesses, after all.

But what if you manage to beat all these casino odds and win a big payout, only to get denied your winnings because of what is claimed to be a “system glitch.”

Hard to believe? Well, that’s exactly what happened to this man in Alabama while trying his luck at a local casino.

The case of Jerry Rape

It all started seven years ago when a man named Jerry Rape put $5 into an electronic bingo machine at the Wind Creek Casino in Montgomery Alabama, operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The machine suddenly activated “several noises, lights, and sirens” and announced that Rape had just won “The Big One.” According to Rape’s lawsuit, the machine showed a jackpot of $459,000, then $918,000, and finally, a “payout multiplier” settlement of $1,377,000.

The casino then took Rape’s payout ticket and had him wait for 24 hours before telling him the bad news – nope, he didn’t win anything. He was told that the casino’s bingo machine “malfunctioned.”

Jackpot denied?

Rape then sued the Wind Creek Casino in the tribal court of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians but was eventually dismissed. The court ruled that due to the tribe’s sovereign immunity, meaning it was considered an independent nation, it was immune from being sued.

With his case’s dismissal in the tribal court, Rape tried his luck and took his case to Alabama’s state courts.

Last Friday, the Alabama Supreme Court finally ruled that Rape cannot sue the tribe in state court and the case needs to be tried in tribal court. The court reiterated that the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is an independent nation of itself and that’s where cases occurring on its land should be litigated.

Unfortunately for rape, this brings the case into a full circle and it looks like it’s unwinnable at this point. The Alabama high court even noted that it found itself in a “Catch-22” paradox and it can’t even settle the dispute even if the tribe wasn’t protected by sovereign immunity.

The court also said that since the incident happened within the regulatory and adjudicative jurisdiction of the State of Alabama, gambling itself is illegal.

With these seemingly insurmountable roadblocks in place, it looks like Rape may have given up. System glitch or not, he’s not going to get his winnings, after all. Rape’s lawyer indicated to Ars Technica that his client’s legal avenues have now been exhausted and “it’s over.”

The tribe, on the other hand, said that the Alabama courts did the right thing and is pleased with the ruling in favor of the Tribe.

What do you think? Is the court ruling on Jerry Rape’s case fair? Drop us a comment!

cryptocurrency e-book hero

New eBook: ‘Cryptocurrency 101’

Don't want to lose your dough to crypto? Check out my new eBook, "Cryptocurrency 101." I walk you through buying, selling, mining and more!

Check it out