Senior says he'll 'go after' $10K in denied Milton casino winnings

THE CANADIAN PRESS

An 82-year-old man who says he was denied $10,000 he won at an Ontario casino plans to “go after them” to claim his winnings.

John Marando said in an interview that he started going to the OLG Slots at Mohawk Racetrack near Milton, Ont., earlier this year. He said he won $1,000 “a couple of times” from the same machine and on Feb. 17 won about $400.

Marando said he cashed in his winnings and decided to put another $20 in the machine on the way out. On the ninth two-dollar play, he said things started happening.

“All of a sudden ding, ding, ding, and I see this thing going round and round, one thousand, two thousand ... $10,000, and $10,002, by the way” he said Wednesday from his Milton home.

The former Brinks driver said when he went to collect his winnings he was ushered into the casino office, where he said he was told “we can't pay you, you signed yourself out 17 years ago.”

Marando - who said he suffered a brain injury that he was told could affect his memory - said he doesn't remember signing a self-exclusion agreement in Niagara Falls, Ont.

“I can't remember 17 years ago, I'm 17 years older and I've had a brain operation about eight years ago,” he said.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming allows gamblers who feel they have a problem to voluntarily exclude themselves from casinos. Those individuals will be escorted from the premises when they are recognized.

OLG spokesman Rui Brum said he could not comment on specific cases due to privacy laws.

“If they are self-excluded then AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) regulation ... prohibits us from paying out the prize,” Brum said.

But Marando noted that the casino had paid him his earlier winnings.

“I won $400 that morning,” he said. “They paid me the $400 and five minutes later I hit the jackpot for $10,000.”

Marando said the casino gave him the two dollars change from the $20 he'd put in the machine.

“I should have said 'shove it,' but I didn't,” he said, adding that he has contacted a lawyer about the incident. “I'm not going to let them get away with it.”