Monday, August 20, 2007

Slot machine keeps on giving ... and giving

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- It was the slot machine that kept on giving -- and giving.

A malfunctioning video lottery terminal at Twin River casino gave gamblers credit for twice as much money as they had inserted, erroneously paying out $450,115 during two months.

The machine, installed in May, was removed July 15 after the problem was discovered

The company that supplied the machine, Gtech, says it has reimbursed the money to the state. It is also investigating whether any criminal activity occurred, whether the company can recoup any of the lost money and whether the problem could have been discovered earlier, company spokesman Robert Vincent said.

Vincent said the machine was installed May 25, with a money-doubling feature apparently turned on accidentally. The feature allow patrons to get credit for double the amount of money they put in, with a maximum of a $100 credit for a $50 bill.

The state will keep $274,000 of the reimbursed money, and the rest will be distributed among Gtech, Twin River and the town of Lincoln. Twin River, in Lincoln, is one of two state-authorized gambling parlors in Rhode Island.

Last summer, a slot machine at Caesars Indiana credited gamblers $10 for each dollar they inserted because the software wasn't designed for U.S. currency, state police said. Caesars lost $487,000 on the machine during that time, state police said.

Caesars Indiana said some of the two dozen gamblers who played on that faulty machine returned the money after the casino contacted them.

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