Why Do Casinos Sometimes Refuse to Pay Winners?

Casino Games Logo on Left Hand Holding Money Behind Back With Fingers Crossed

Striking it rich in a casino is a dream of most casino gamblers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a starry-eyed rookie or a grizzled veteran; everyone gets excited about winning money in the casino.

It’s a tall task to hit a massive payday in the casino. Even under the best conditions, the stars may align just off enough to make you a loser.

Imagine hitting an enormous jackpot or rolling your way to riches at the craps table and having the casino inform you that you’ll never see that money. It’s enough to draw deep-seated resentment at the mere thought of casinos pulling such a ploy.

However, this nightmare has become a reality for many casino gamblers, but it’s almost always for a valid reason. Why do casinos sometimes refuse to pay winners?

Usually, the answer comes down to a choice by the player or a grievous error made by a software developer.

Not Having Proper Identification Is a Problem

Casinos are required by law to verify the identity of all winning gamblers. If you head to the casino without proper identification, you may be forced to leave without your glorious pile of cash.

The casinos aren’t to blame for this one. The federal government has several entities that want to know who wins money and how much.

The primary concerns are tax evasion and money laundering. Both are serious issues, and the casinos are happy to consent to law enforcement in curbing the crimes.

Suppose you lost your ID on the way to the casino or someone stole your wallet walking down the Strip; you’re not completely hosed. Casinos will issue an unclaimed jackpot slip, which gives players three months to get their house in order.

Still, I can imagine that winning a million dollars and leaving the casino without a penny is soul-crushing on some level. At the very least, it would make for a ton of sleepless nights.

Glitches in the Games Will Negate Your Wins

Sometimes the most catastrophic refusals to pay come on the heels of something entirely out of the casinos’ control. That’s the case when a slot machine glitches and pays an illegitimate jackpot.

In recent memory, two cases popped to mind: a slot machine malfunction erroneously gave players the impression they had won millions. The first instance was a player issued over $8 million in credits on a game that had a maximum jackpot of only $20k.

Slot Machines at Victoryland Casino

The other major faux pas came when a machine glitched in New York and awarded a player over $28 million. In both instances, the casino was off the hook as it was an error.

Still, that’s the kind of sting that doesn’t go away with a buffet comp and a bottle of champagne.

You Haven’t Completed Your End of the Bargain

Online casino bonuses are an excellent way for players to get a head start on the house edge. However, these offers come with strict wagering requirements that gamblers must meet before players can withdraw any money.

If players attempt to take their cash out of the online accounts before they have reached wagering requirements, the casino may negate all wins on the grounds of bonus abuse and close your account.

You’ll lose all of the wins you racked up and possibly your deposit money if that happens. It’s all buried in the fine print, which is why I continually preach reading the terms and conditions before accepting any online casino offers or making a deposit.

You can’t fault the online gambling sites for putting measures in place that protect their investment.

Cheating Won’t Get You a Dime

It always surprises me the audacity people have by cheating the casinos out of money. These massive complexes have better security than banks and are keen to sniff out anyone up to nefarious behavior.

If you get caught cheating in a casino, you’re not going to see a penny of that money. However, that will be the least of your worries.

Cheating in most casinos is considered a felony, and casinos are apt to prosecute to the fullest extent the law will allow. That comes with courts costs, legal fees, fines, and possible jail time.

Hands Gripping Jail Bars With a Casino Chip Background

Furthermore, if the casinos suspect you of cheating, they may refuse to pay. They prefer the risk of being sued to the idea of rewarding a gambler.

Besides, casinos have teams of lawyers who are chomping at the bit to get into a courtroom. So, your chances of seeing the total amount of your wins are far from a sure thing.

Some Advantage Techniques Will Get the Casino’s Attention

It’s not always a case of outright cheating that will have the casino refusing to pay up. Some high-profile advantage gamblers have found this out the hard way.

Living legend Phil Ivey made a name for himself in the poker rooms, but that doesn’t mean he won’t seize any opportunity the casinos provide. A few years ago, Ivey made a couple of runs in high-stakes baccarat games worth over $20 million.

However, the casinos claimed that Ivey and his accomplice had orchestrated the private games to exploit an advantage technique known as edge sorting. The casinos claimed that the duo had found a way to gain an unfair advantage due to a flaw in specific packs of playing cards.

The casinos further corroborated this in court with detailed requests for the specific decks of cards and how the gamblers made a profit. Ultimately, the pair received none of the millions they had won playing the games.

Casinos know they always win, and when players get too greedy, the results are never to the player’s liking.

You’re Getting Scammed

Thankfully, this isn’t nearly as common as a few years ago. But sometimes, casinos will flat out refuse to pay players.

This blatant refusal to pay was a headache for many early online gamblers. They’d make a deposit and were none the wiser continuing to make deposits over time.

Guy on Laptop Playing Online Roulette

However, the casino would become impossible to reach if they finally hit a hot streak or a jackpot and wanted to clear some of that money out. Since most of these sites were located overseas, the gamblers had no choice but to chalk the entire ordeal up as a learning experience.

Thankfully, this is a problem of the past, and online gamblers are in much less danger of being scammed by online casinos today. Still, when an online casino refuses to pay a player, the task of retrieving your money becomes more complicated.

If You Have Judgements Against You, Casino Money Isn’t Clear

All U.S. casinos use something called the Gambling Intercept Payment System. This database tracks all players who may owe child support taxes or have other judgments against them.

These financial liabilities may put a severe damper on your big day in the casino, but the policy is understandable. The bright side is that if you are in the database, you could win your way out of the plight and be free and clear of the financial burden.

You Use a Friend’s Credit Card to Make a Deposit

Online casinos are incredibly cautious about who they give money to when a withdrawal is requested. The casinos have several different policies in place to safeguard the players.

They are also skittish of the massive waves of online crooks that target the sites. So, if you make a deposit using a friend or family member’s credit card, you run a legitimate risk of having your account banned.

You’ll lose all past winnings and get blocked from the site.

The same can be true for players who provide false information when registering an account. You need to provide complete and accurate information with the online casinos and use your bank account to make all deposits.

You’re Using a VPN to Get Around Regional Restrictions

The final reason a casino may not pay you for your lucky win is the use of a VPN. Virtual private networks make it impossible for the casino to confirm your location.

Since most online casinos in the U.S. are restricted to players only in that state, the casino may refuse to pay. In all likelihood, you’re using a VPN to get around the gambling laws in your state.

So, you know the risk going in, and the choice is yours more than the casinos.

So Why Do Casinos Refuse to Pay Winners?

The factors for a casino refusing to pay are widespread but entirely reasonable. The only two examples that I find to be somewhat suspect are where it applies to advantage gamblers and glitches in the game.

I understand why we shouldn’t hold casinos entirely financially responsible for a slot machine going haywire, but there needs to be some consideration tho the player. The bottom line is that if you’re playing by the rules, you’ve got no worries.

Reading the terms and conditions before registering with an online casino will serve you well. The chances of a misunderstanding are far less likely when you know what you’ve signed up to get.