In a striking twist of fate, a casual house party becomes the battleground for an escalating dispute when a friend’s friend hits the jackpot on an antique slot machine, once owned by the Original Poster’s (OP) showgirl step-grandmother. The conflict intensifies as the winner claims his right to the winnings, while OP argues that they’re not a casino owner and cannot afford to hand over the $700 jackpot. When the jackpot winner threatens legal action, the boundaries of friendship are tested, pushing everyone toward an unpredictable climax.
The Grand Affair
OP kicks off a party at his house, introducing the attendees to a treasured antique slot machine from the 1940s. A family heirloom that once belonged to OP’s Vegas showgirl step-grandmother, the device is a time capsule filled with winnings from years gone by.
The belly of the machine has a small window where gamblers can view the accumulated sum of quarters. The device can hold a total of $800’s worth, but currently, it is up to approximately $700.
A Stroke of Luck
OP has no problem when his friends hit small payouts, which usually run around $50 in quarters, but in all the years that OP has owned the machine, it has never hit the jackpot. At the party, a friend’s friend suddenly hits the jackpot after spending some time putting his own quarters into it.
The Dispute Begins
The partygoers are stunned, and the lucky guest is overjoyed by his unexpected fortune, getting down on his hands and knees to pick up every quarter. The party guest believes that he has the right to claim the $700 jackpot.
The jackpot winner argues that since he used his own money to play, he should be entitled to the winnings. OP, unaware that this person was even playing the device in the first place, insists that the machine is not intended for professional gambling.
Tension at the Party
The argument escalates, and the once jovial party atmosphere begins to wind down. OP refuses to relent, insisting that he is not running a casino and can’t afford to give away $700. He offers to give the man back the quarter that he put into it, but all the rest belongs to OP alone.
A Friend’s Intervention
The jackpot winner threatens legal action. Seeing the escalating tension, one of OP’s closest friends steps in. He warns the jackpot winner of the consequences should he attempt to leave the property with the money.
Threats of Law
The jackpot winner decides to up the ante, threatening to return with the police and sue OP in small claims court. This shocking threat leaves the partygoers stunned, and the air thickens with tension. However, the cops never come.
The party eventually ends, leaving OP bewildered and questioning his actions. While the grand prize winner has left the scene, his threats of litigation still hang in the air. The once cheerful party has turned into a scene of dispute, and OP is left to ponder over the night’s events.
The Legality Question
In the days that follow, OP grapples with the legality of the situation. Could he indeed be sued for refusing to hand over the winnings? As he thinks about the potential fallout, the threat of a legal battle casts a long shadow.
Unexpectedly, the jackpot winner returns, claiming he consulted with a lawyer and plans to press charges. He feels entitled to the $700, stating that his lawyer believes he has a case. This twist pushes OP into an unwanted legal corner.
The Antique Dealer
OP calls a local person who works on antique slot machines. OP’s slot machine is highly customized, but it’s based on a well-known model from that era. The antique expert said he could tell right away if the machine was broken or had been tampered with.
The Broken Piece
OP admits he did a poor job of checking it over. Now, with the antique dealer’s guidance, he can see that a little piece is either broken or misplaced. It appears the troublesome party guest broke the machine to steal the money, and there wasn’t a jackpot at all. With this evidence, OP feels confident he will not be sued anytime soon.
Was The Party Host’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts his story online for feedback. The readers in the community forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter. Here are some of their responses:
One reader said, “You were perfectly fine letting people use it as though it were real and keeping their money if they didn’t win and let the jackpot build, and now that someone won, you don’t want it to be real anymore.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “In the future– don’t let people play with their own money. Clean the machine out, and let people play using your quarters. There will never be hard feelings that way.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “This reads like you normally let people take their winnings, and people play with their own money expecting to be able to take the winnings. You randomly decided not to let your friend take the winnings this time because you decided it was too much money.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “You had a slot machine at a party, and people put their own money into it – you should have made it clear that it wasn’t technically playable.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.