Posted on: December 6, 2022, 11:51h.
Last updated on: December 6, 2022, 12:26h.
A Florida man has filed a lawsuit against the Magic City Casino, accusing the Miami venue of breaking the state’s deceptive practices law by “manipulating the cash-out system” on its slot machines and kiosks.
Nicolas Manzini filed the lawsuit in the 11th Circuit Court against West Flagler Associates, which owns the casino. In the 17-page filing, Manzini noted the coin shortage that many businesses have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. While he said other casinos “adopted reasonable practices” to inform patrons that they could not pay out exactly, Magic City failed to do so.
Like most casinos, Magic City’s electronic slot machines issue a voucher to players once they’ve finished playing at a gaming terminal. Those players can then take the voucher to a kiosk, which then pays out the bills but produces another voucher for the remaining change. The new voucher, which becomes void in 30 days, can only be processed at the casino’s cage, although Manzini claims it doesn’t state that. Nor are there any “conspicuous signs” indicating that policy.
Instead, Manzini said the only indication of the policy is a small sign on boxes near some kiosks alerting patrons to the policy. He also said it was written only in English, even though most patrons do not speak the language.
For the last few years, the casino has been keeping the change off of hundreds of thousands of gaming vouchers, essentially robbing its customers a few cents at a time, on millions of transactions,” Manzini said in his filing.
He alleges Magic City’s actions violate the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and may decide to pursue class-action status for his lawsuit.
Manzini is requesting a trial by jury in the case. He wants the court to order Magic City to stop its current voucher process, refund players the money they’re owed, and pay compensatory damages. He also reserved the right to amend the complaint and seek triple damages under the state’s “civil theft” statute.
In the complaint, the 71-year-old described himself as a “chronic diabetic suffering from kidney disease, partial blindness, and acute osteomyelitis and lymphangitis in both legs” who has difficulty walking. Manzini also disclosed that he had at least six surgeries and eight “lengthy” hospital stays over the past five years. He also mentioned that he’s a recovering alcoholic and has been diagnosed as bipolar.
Manzini said he’s played slots at Magic City a couple of times a week, on average, over the last couple of years. After discovering the sign on the boxes, he visited the casino three times between October 20-23 and documented his play using his loyalty rewards card. Twice, he took vouchers to the cage to get his exact change, 62 cents on October 20 and 83 cents on October 23. His filing didn’t indicate how long he stayed in line.
According to court records, Manzini filed his case on October 27. Magic City’s response is due later this week.
Josh Spoont, a lawyer representing Magic City, declined to comment to Casino.org on the case.
Not the First Lawsuit Over Payouts
Magic City isn’t the first casino to face a lawsuit for allegedly keeping the change.
In September, a woman filed a lawsuit against MGM Resorts International in a Mississippi federal court, claiming MGM withheld 19 cents from a voucher she received at the Beau Rivage Casino. That same month, a Shreveport, La., man filed a suit in a Louisiana federal court alleging Caesars Entertainment of a similar practice.
In both of those lawsuits, the plaintiffs are represented by Sternberg, Naccari & White, a Louisiana-based law firm.
Magic City, which is slated to be sold to Wind Creek Hospitality, is one of two plaintiffs in a federal case regarding a gaming compact reached last year between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state. A federal judge invalidated the compact, which allowed the Seminoles to offer online sports betting statewide. That case is currently under appeal.
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