Can Canadian Casinos Refuse To Pay You?
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Can Canadian Casinos Refuse To Pay You?

Can Canadian Casinos Refuse To Pay You?

Although casino marketing makes it out to appear that you can win big, in reality, it is the casinos that do most of the winning. Sure, there is always someone who takes home a huge jackpot, and the casino marketing team will spin that into a piece of PR that causes even more people to visit and take their chances. And considering that casinos draw a lot of business, the games there are designed with an automatic House Edge that ensures the casino will end up with more money than you will by the end of the evening. Each game has an RTP (return-to-player) percentage and that indicates how much of your wager goes into the prize pool. The casino always gets a cut from your wagers, and that is what keeps them in business. Oh, that, and the nights you have a losing streak.

But what if you happen to be winning a lot and winning most of the time you spend in the casino? Well, that’s not a bad thing. However, there are times when a casino either can’t pay you that major prize or won’t pay it to you. Usually, there is a legitimate reason for them not paying out. But sometimes a big winner thought they nailed a major jackpot but didn’t. Before we get to those stories, let’s take a closer look at the reasons why a casino may not pay you your winnings.


Reasons Why The Casino Won’t Pay You

Okay, the lights on the slot machine are flashing. The bells are ringing and you have created quite a commotion in the row of slots you are in. People are gathering around, some are jumping for joy happy for you, and casino officials are making their way across the room to where you are. It all seems surreal and you haven’t been able to react quite yet as you are still processing the scene as it continues to unfold in front of you. Finally, you jolt out of your daze and start yelling that you’ve won a big jackpot. After photos are taken, you are whisked away to the casino office to sort through the process of receiving your big prize. So far, everyone seems convinced that the last spin you took on the slot machine you were playing hit a major combination and unlocked a huge jackpot for you. But within minutes, that jackpot disappears as the casino officials explain why you won’t be getting that big prize. Here is a look at some of the reasons why that may happen.


Reason #1 - You Can’t Prove Your Identity

Hey, it happens. You popped into the casino for a few spins on the slots on your way home from work and although you had some cash on you, for some reason you left your ID behind. That’s not a major problem, but it does create a bit of a hurdle between you and your prize. The casino is required to run an ID check on you to verify that you are who you say you are and that your identification matches that information. Oh, and they won’t tell you this, but the casino is also checking other details about you when they run your ID such as whether or not you are involved in money laundering or any other criminal activity. Without your ID, the casino can’t run their ID check and that means they cannot release the money to you. However, there is a solution. The casino will present you with something called an unclaimed jackpot slip. You will have up to 90 days to produce your ID to claim your prize. No biggie, right?

Reason #2 - You Owe Child Support

Yup. That is a legitimate reason why a Canadian casino can refuse to pay you that big jackpot. While they are confirming your ID, your name may come up on something called the Gambling Intercept Payment (GIP) System. The GIP System is a database with the identities of people who happen to be behind on their child support payments. Even if you have some sort of monetary judgment against you, the GIP System is going to know and if you currently owe some cash, the government will gladly use your casino winnings to cover what you owe before you get what’s left - if anything. It may not sound fair to you but think about it for a moment. If you have fallen behind on your court-prescribed financial obligations, it’s a good thing you hit a big jackpot so you can get all caught up and not face further complications from the court. 

Reason #3 - Technical Difficulties

This can be a problem. Fortunately, it does not happen very often. But there are times when the machine you are playing has a glitch. We know, it may not sound like a good reason, but new technology has a way of messing up every so often. So, possibly that slot machine that said you won tens of thousands of dollars had a slight techno bump and in reality, you ended up winning a few dollars or maybe nothing at all. As much as it sounds like the casino is ripping you off, they are within their legal right to refuse to pay you due to a technical gremlin in the machinery. There’s even a clause somewhere within the casino that says something to that effect so that you know from the get-go that you are playing the games at your own risk. Yes, it stings. It will sting for a long time, but rest assured that this is a fairly rare occurrence because if it happened often, your local casino would have a reputation that would be far more damaging to them in the long run. It still won’t get you your jackpot, sorry about that.

Reason #4 - You Misunderstood The Bonus Terms

Speaking of small print, before you get loud and angry at the casino not paying you your big prize, you may want to take a closer look at the rules and conditions of the machine you are sitting at. A casino can refuse to pay you simply because your win did not meet all of the qualifications. The bonus terms will carefully spell out the details, which will vary from one machine to the next. The wagering conditions have to be fulfilled for the jackpot you think you won to be a legitimate jackpot. We know, it sounds a bit convoluted, but we did tell you that casinos are designed to make money, not give away all of their money. Plus, the game manufacturers who provide the machines to the casinos will have built-in special requirements that trigger bonus games and other features that make the gameplay exciting. Without certain requirements, the casinos would be paying out for jackpots that were far too easy. Part of the fun of casinos is trying to beat the system. It doesn’t always work.


Reasons Why The Online Casino Won’t Pay You

In Canada, it is illegal to play online casino games anywhere than at websites that originate in and are licensed to operate within Canada. That means offshore gambling sites are off-limits, however, there is little enforcement of this. While we are not suggesting you play online poker or blackjack or the slots at any of these offshore sites, it does take place. Canadians do have access to gaming sites that are legal within Canada and they are created by each provincial government. Although it is said that online gambling is far easier to participate in than visiting a land-based casino, there are reasons why an online casino won’t pay your winnings. Here is a look at those reasons.


Online Reason #1 - You Used False Information To Open Your Account

One of the attractants to online gambling in Canada is that you can, for the most part, enjoy some slot machine activity while being relatively anonymous. Where that ploy doesn’t help you is when you first create your online account. You have to use your proper ID (and be of age) to have a valid account. Lying or faking any of the information will be discovered eventually. The last thing you need is for your fake name or address or birthdate to be the reason why your winnings won’t be paid out.

Online Reason #2 - You Have Multiple Accounts

This should be self-explanatory. When you open an account at an online casino, it has to be the only account you have. You can try to get away with more than one account but it will instantly be a red flag for the casino and will be the reason why your winnings are not released to you. 

Online Reason #3 - Your Account Has Yet To Be Verified

When you create an online account, you will be asked to provide copies of certain documents to verify your identity and other account details. You can’t skip this part because you don’t want to share this information. There is no way that you will be sent your winnings without a verified account as it becomes a risk to the casino.

Online Reason #4 - You Didn’t Use Your Credit Card/Bank Account

This is a lot like using false or fake information, only instead of lying about your credit card or bank account, you have used someone else’s. Even if you don’t own a credit card or have a bank account, you can’t use someone else’s to open an online gambling account. The only exception would be if the credit card and bank account are jointly owned by you and a spouse. You’ll have to check with your preferred online casino to find out how they would deal with that situation. Some may not permit it at all. Others may provide you supply verification information for the other person as well.

Online Reason #5 - Cheating

Well, as hard as it may be to believe when you consider the screening process in place at most online casinos, cheating still occurs. If you like to game the system and use your talents to win, don’t be surprised if the casino refuses to pay and states that they have proof that points to some cheating activities.

Online Reason #6 - Playing Under A VPN

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) gives you online privacy and anonymity by simply creating a private network off of a public internet connection. It’s a pretty nifty way to surf the net and do so safely from any wifi signal. However, the anonymity part will cause you to forfeit any of your online casino winnings if you hit it big while playing through your VPN. 

Online Reason #7 - The Casino Was Unreliable

Yes, it happens. Online casinos come and go and if you have any winnings owed or have cash in your account for wagering, it all disappears when the “unreliable” casino disappears off of the face of the internet. It is a real risk and makes some offshore options very iffy. That is why in Canada is it best to stick to the provincial government lottery corporation-operated online casino sites.


Other Issues With Online Casino Sites

Since we’re on the topic of online casinos, there are a lot of complaints that gamblers have about some of these sites. While we can’t verify for sure if the issues are with offshore operations on provincially-sponsored gaming sites, these complaints are common. Here is a breakdown of a few of them and why they occur.


Complaint #1 - I Used My Credit Card To Deposit Funds Into A Friend’s Account And The Casino Won’t Pay My Winnings.

This is a simple case of not following the terms and conditions of the online casino. In the list of terms and conditions will be a notation that states you may void your winnings by using your credit card to deposit funds in anyone else’s account. This is to prevent money laundering and credit card fraud.

Complaint #2 - The Casino Won’t Pay Me As I Have Two Player Accounts.

Again, a violation of the terms and conditions. This is why it is so important to read the fine print.

Complaint #3 - It’s Been Two Days And The Casino Still Hasn’t Processed My Payout.

Withdrawal time frames are set by each casino. It will be spelled out in the Terms and conditions. Also, expect processing time required for payment providers which could result in payouts taking several days before they reach your bank account.


Then There’s The Loophole 

Referring again to the terms and conditions, there are online casinos that can just flat out refuse to pay you your winnings and not have to give you a good reason for not doing so. The wording will be something like this: “We can refuse any client without explanation” and that means they can choose to keep your winnings. Oh, but you do have recourse but it involves some work. First, you have to contact the gambling/lottery corporation in your province and explain the situation in as much detail as possible. Include screenshots, if you have them. Keep in mind, if your complaint is with an offshore online casino, your provincial lottery corporation will not be able to assist as offshore sites are not licensed to legally operate in Canada. 


Examples Of Big Winners Not Getting Their Winnings

Now we are at the point where we will share with you the story of two big winners who ended up becoming losers at the casino. Let’s begin with the story of Katrina Bookman. She was playing the slots at the Resorts World Casino located in Queens, New York. The jackpot she thought she had won was just under $43-million. She verified the win by snapping a selfie of herself next to a machine that was printing out a cash ticket for her for $42,949,672.76. Talk about a life-changing jackpot! Well, it wasn’t quite as spectacular as one would imagine as once Bookman collected the ticket, she went to cash it out. Instead of the casino writing her a check they offered her a complimentary steak dinner and $2.25. Why did the casino refuse to pay Bookman her huge jackpot? Well, here is where technology becomes the scapegoat. The casino claimed that the Sphinx Slot Machine Bookman was playing has malfunctioned. The New York State Gaming Commission verified the claim which meant Bookman’s luck ran out as soon as she tried to cash in her winnings. Bookman hired a lawyer and so far, she still hasn’t seen a penny from the casino.

Meet Veronica Castillo. Castillo, from Oregon, was at the Lucky Eagle Casino in Rochester, Washington with her mother. While playing slots, one machine has indicated that Castillo had won $8-million. The casino staff quickly sprung into action and shut off power to the slot machine that Castillo was playing and offered her $80, less than her deposit of $100. As it turns out, the casino claimed that the $8-million jackpot was created by a malfunction as the machine has a notice that states the maximum payout is $20,000. Castillo also sought legal counsel and stated that the casino policy was “deceiving…might even be fraudulent.” Considering the error in the slot machine was the result of a technical glitch, she is likely to not see any of her winnings paid out. The casino did offer to pay her around $30,000 but that is a far distance from what the slot machine had said she had won in the first place. Regardless, these two examples show you that casinos can choose to refuse to pay you and claim a technical error was to blame which, in effect, gives the casino the right to refuse to pay. It doesn’t sound very fair, does it?


What If This Happens To You?

Good question. We’ve already covered what you can do if an online casino refuses to pay you your winnings. But what if it happens to be a land-based casino? Well, as it turns to, there isn’t very much you can do. In Canada, you can file a complaint with the provincial lottery corporation where the casino is located. But that is not going to get you your jackpot. As you've already seen, all a casino needs to do to get out of giving you your big jackpot is to claim that the machine you were using experienced some kind of mechanical issue. When you consider slot machines used in casinos today all operate with a random number generator to make payouts random and fair, any win should be considered a legitimate win. However, some casinos have decided to pay out winnings only to a certain level and reserve the big jackpots for glitches and the fine print to explain away. It doesn't seem fair, but on the other hand, it doesn’t happen very often when a casino won’t pay out a huge jackpot win. Remember, if you find yourself in the position of trying to collect on a big win and the casino refuses, there are things you should do anyway. They include:

Stay Calm

As tempting as it may be to cause a scene and make a lot of noise, the calmer you are, the better you will look should you choose to seek legal advice on this issue. The last thing you need is to have your claim tossed out of court based on your behavior and treatment of casino officials because you were angry and upset.

Get The Facts

Document as best you can all of the information you need regarding the situation. That can include photos of cash tickets, the slot machine, etc. Also, collect the slot machine number and snap a photo of the terms and conditions if printed on the machine.

Seek A Lawyer

Get the advice of a lawyer who has experience in this field to get a better feel of your chances of success fighting for your jackpot from the casino in court. If the lawyer indicates that you are fighting a losing battle, drop your case and accept the fact that your jackpot does not exist.

Take Whatever They Offer

If the casino makes you a cash offer of some kind before you leave the facility, you may be further ahead to just take it and move on. It will be cheaper than trying to seek a settlement in court. Remember, the casino is not obligated to offer you anything but you may also end up with something more than a steak dinner.

Beware Of Casinos

Gambling is a fun form of entertainment. For some, it can produce enough winnings to cover the costs of dinner and drinks for the evening. For others, it is the lure of a big jackpot that attracts them to the poker table or slots. Be clear on why you are visiting the casino and what you expect to get out of your time there. If you plan to kill an hour or spend $20 on bets, then that should be all you plan to do. If you hit a big jackpot, ensure that you have met all of the qualifying conditions and you may see that prize paid out to you without delay or issue.

Casinos Are Usually Fair

Although we have outlined several reasons why a casino can refuse to pay you your jackpot prize, it is more the exception to the rule than the norm that money will not be paid out. Due to the licensing system in Canada where casinos require licenses issued from the provincial lottery corporation of the province the casino is operating in, you can expect that the licensed casinos are legitimate and operating under the careful supervision of provincial authorities. The casinos to be very concerned about are the ones located offshore. As they are not licensed to operate in Canada, they are considered illegal. However, internet access permits them to accept customers from all over the world, including Canada. Many of these operations are risky to be involved in for various reasons and some Canadians have been ripped off by online casinos that appeared one day and were gone soon after. If you do decide to gamble online, confirm that the site you are visiting is legal in your province.


In Conclusion

Canadian casinos can refuse to pay you. There are various reasons that this can happen and are usually related to the terms and conditions of the land-based or online casino. By having proper identification on you, and not owing money on any court-ordered financial obligations, you should be able to collect on all of your casino winnings. That is, provided there isn’t a technological glitch that gives the casino an option to not provide you with a big jackpot prize. Remember, the casino games are designed to win the casino money and each time you wager, you add to the casino's revenue. After reading this article, you will have a better understanding of the old saying that “the casino always wins.”


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