A little over a month ago, a construction worker hit a large six-figure jackpot at a casino in Argentina, but the venue’s management refused to pay. Now, a similar court case wrapping up after 10 years could be the fuel he needs to win.
Antonio Miranda won ARS100 million (US$788,000) on a slot machine at the Casino Club of Río Gallegos in July. However, the casino rejected the payout, arguing that the machine malfunctioned.
Since then, as his legal battle looms, Miranda has suffered physical and mental health issues, according to his lawyer. A judge who ruled that a malfunction is not the gambler’s fault will help Miranda build his case.
Beating the House
For more than a decade, Casinos Gala, located in the province of Chaco, refused to pay the ARS3.6-million (US$26,684) prize a gambler won on a slot machine. He took his case to court and, last week, the Superior Court of Justice of the province told the casino to pay up.
In that case, casino patron Hipólito Ríos notified a casino supervisor about the winnings. However, the individual told him that he had to wait a week to file a claim. This was, according to the representative, because Argentina was celebrating its spring Carnival at the time.
Ríos agreed and returned to collect the prize. Only then did he learn that the casino wasn’t playing fair. It refused to pay him, stating that he didn’t have proof he won. Casinos Gala also tried to use that same argument after Ríos took it to court.
Initially, when the legal battle began, a judge ordered the casino to pay ARS50,000 (US$370.60). Not happy with the amount, Ríos appealed and found support in Argentina’s Consumer Defense Law.
That law stipulates that the burden of proof in this case rested with the casino, not Ríos, to legally justify its position. Now, 10 years after the legal fight began, it’s coming to an end.
The judge determined that Casinos Gala could not prove that the slot machine was defective. In addition, even if it had, it’s still responsible. Consumers cannot be liable for technical issues a business suffers, the judge stated. As a result, Ríos won the prize the slot displayed.
Case to Help Miranda
With the ruling in that case positive for the plaintiff, Miranda has more legal ammunition to use against Casino Club. However, it’s going to be a difficult fight since, from the beginning, the casino’s management has proven itself to be anything but consumer-friendly.
Dr. Gustavo Insaurralde, Miranda’s lawyer, tried to give the casino a chance to come clean. He sent a request asking to negotiate with the property’s management, but it ignored his request.
As a result, Insaurralde sent a letter notifying Casino Club of legal action. However, the team of lawyers representing the game room answered the letter denying payment. In addition, they threatened legal action if the lawyer sent any more letters. They said they would seize Miranda’s salary over the alleged claims of defamation.
However, Insaurralde continues to gather more information to target the casino. Last month, he told local media that two more people have acknowledged the property rejected their claims of winning at slot machines.
The legal team also accused Miranda of damaging the machine, something that, until now, had never come up. However, because local police confiscated the surveillance footage, the truth of what really happened will eventually come out. If everything is as Miranda says it is, he can thank Ríos for indirectly lending a hand.
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