John Marando, an 82-year-old retired truck driver from Ontario, recently played a jackpot casino slots game at the Mohawk racetrack near Milton, Ontario. He won more than $10,000, but he was taken to a room where he was told that he wasn't eligible to collect his winnings. He was then escorted from the premises.
The reason is that 17 years ago, Marando signed a self-exclusion form, banning himself from gaming facilities. He decided to do this because he felt that he was spending too much. According to Marando, as the years went by, he simply forgot about the form.
Ironically, when he won $2,000 at the same machine, he claimed his prize normally. However, he was denied the $10,000 jackpot.
Last September, Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) introduced a new rule designed to help problem gamblers. A part of the new rule states that they are not permitted to win prizes. Any jackpot over $10,000 is reviewed, and because Marando is still considered to be self-excluded, this would explain why he wasn't allowed to collect the money.
People who are self-excluded are not allowed to take part in physical casino games, online casino games, and even charitable bingo. However, they are still allowed to play the lottery.
If a self-excluded gambler is spotted in a casino, the staff will escort them out, and they may even be charged with trespassing. Certain casinos have even taken additional measures by implementing facial recognition technology that compares their facial images from site security cameras.
According to OLG, the rule is there for the benefit of self-excluded gamblers. However, Marando was not aware of the rule and even called it unfair.
Since the new rule came into effect, 29 jackpot-winning players have been denied their winnings