When Robert Taylor decided to walk away from the slot machine he had been playing at the Treasure Island casino on Las Vegas’ strip, he had no idea what he was leaving behind.
A glitch in the game’s software meant that he was not told he had scooped the $229,000 (£160,000) jackpot, and for the same reason the casino’s staff also weren’t alerted of the big win.
The drama unfolded on January 8, and after realising the error the casino’s staff had been working overtime to identify the unknown winner – to no avail.
“By the time an extensive review of the slot machine and the communications technology was completed, confirming the jackpot had been won, Mr Taylor had returned home to Arizona,” a spokesperson revealed.
So stuck were they that they called in the assistance of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), and they launched an operation akin to something out of a TV drama about the FBI.
The NGCB spent two solid weeks trying to piece together the puzzle, combing CCTV footage, accessing electronic records, utilising data supplied by a local lift-share company and even interviewing witnesses that were present at the Treasure Island on that fateful day.
After three weeks of detective work, the regulatory body was finally able to track Taylor to his home in Arizona – he remained completely oblivious to the fact he had landed the jackpot.
A statement from the NGCB’s head of enforcement, James Taylor, read:
“I commend the agents of the Enforcement Division, particularly Agent Dan Nuqui, for ensuring that the public trust in the gaming industry remains strong, by spending countless hours over two weeks to ensure that a patron is awarded winnings owed to him.
“I’d also like to thank the Nevada Transportation Authority for their assistance in confirming the identity of the patron.”
The same statement concluded that Taylor was heading to Las Vegas this weekend to pick up his winnings in person.
Golden Year for Las Vegas Strip
While Taylor’s win will have dented the balance sheet of the Treasure Island casino, the prognosis for the Las Vegas strip is improving with every passing week.
Nevada’s state gaming board has revealed that Las Vegas’ casinos amassed a combined revenue of $13.4 billion (£9.8 billion) in 2021, and that compares favourably to the $12 billion mark recorded in the last pre-pandemic year of 2019.
What’s more, it actually represents a record year for the Strip, with the previous best year of 2007 seeing the firms in Sin City taking $12.8 billion in revenue.
It has been reported that trips to Vegas are now very much back on the menu for many punters, and that the inter-USA tourism had been boosted by stimulus check payments and a wider rebound for the travel sector.
Boyd Gaming, which operates ten different Las Vegas casino properties including the Aliante, Sam’s Town and the Fremont Hotel, has confirmed that they surpassed expectations for the fourth quarter of 2021 by more than 50%.