Baccarat players ordered to return £1 million

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A group of gamblers have been told by a judge that they must hand back their $1.5 million (£990,000) to the casino.

The 14 punters had started betting big in April 2012 when they realised that the Golden Nugget casino was using unshuffled packs of cards.

While the packs were supposed to have been pre-shuffled by the manufacturer, the gamblers detected a pattern. They upped their bets from $10 a hand to $5,000 and were able to win 41 hands of mini-baccarat in a row.

However, a judge has now ruled that the punters must hand their winnings back on the basis that, because the cards hadn't been shuffled, the games didn't conform to state law over how they should be played.

"The dealer did not pre-shuffle the cards immediately prior to the commencement of play, and the cards were not pre-shuffled in accordance with any regulation," wrote the judge, according to the New York Times.

"Thus, a literal reading of the regulations ... entails that the game violated the [Casino Control] Act, and consequently was not authorized."

The players actually had the chance to keep the cash. Owner Tillman Fertitta had told them he'd honour their win if they dropped other claims against the casino - but they refused. They now have to hand back their £1.5 million winnings in cash and chips.

Once you've got the idea that you've had a big win, it's not easy to accept that you haven't.

Canadian man Joel Ifergan has recently lost a four-year court battle over a ticket that would have won him C$27 million - if it had only printed out a little more quickly. He's spent an estimated C$100,000 on the case.

Soon after, Oshane Grant of Bristol was told by a bookies that it was only paying out £1,217 on a win he'd been told would net him £9,250. The problem was that the clerk had made a mistake writing the odds on the betting slip; and the rules meant it only had to pay out at the odds displayed on the shop.

And there's a case currently making its way through the Italian courts that hinges on a software glitch that affected online casino Eurobet. Bruni Venturi raked in £650,000 over the course of three hours after betting just £17, but was told he couldn't have the money.

Sometimes, though, the mistake goes the other way: two years ago, Canadian grandmother Maria Carreiro was delighted when she thought she'd won C$40,000 - only to discover that the true figure was actually C$40 million.

Biggest UK lottery winners
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Baccarat players ordered to return £1 million

Colin and Chris Weir, from Largs in Ayrshire scooped 161 million in the EuroMillions draw after several rollovers in 2011. They are the biggest British lottery winners in history.

Adrian Bayford, who won an astonishing £148m on the Euromillions with his wife Gillian, had to shut up the music shop he owns, because people targeted it with requests for money.
One British ticket won  £113,019,926 in October 2010 but decided not to go public.
Car mechanic and racing driver Neil Trotter scooped a staggering £107.9 million jackpot on the Euromillions lottery in March 2014.
Dave and Angela Dawes won £101 million on the EuroMillions in 2011. It was only the third time the couple, from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, had played the lottery. The couple are said to have since split up.
The sum was won in May 2010 but the winner kept their identity a secret.
One lucky British ticket-holder picked up a £81million EuroMillions rollover but remained anonymous.

Nigel Page and Justine Laycock from Cirencester bagged a £56 million jackpot back in February 2011. On winning the jackpot, Page said: 'I'd already checked my National Lottery account and had seen I'd won £55 on Lotto when I decided to buy two Lucky Dips for the big EuroMillions jackpot on Friday.'

One lucky winner won shy of 50 million but chose to remain anonymous.

Les and Sam Scadding from Newport, South Wales, and a syndicate of seven Liverpudlian call-centre workers shared a staggering £91 million in November 2009. Les, an unemployed mechanic, was £68 overdrawn on the day he bought his ticket, while the Liverpool syndicate only started playing EuroMillions together four months before their win.

Carrington, 22, from Stapleford in Nottingham, banked £45 million after matching all five numbers and two Lucky Stars in a EuroMillions draw in February 2012. The Iceland supervisor said she planned to marry painter fiancee Matt Topham, 22, following the Lucky Dip win.

Husband and wife Gareth and Catherine Bull have fairly modest spending plans despite their £40.6 million jackpot win in January. Speaking about what she planned to do now that she was rich, Catherine explained that she intended to use part of their winnings to replace the carpet on her upstairs landing...

Angela Kelly became one of the biggest lottery winners in UK history back in 2007, after scooping a £35 million EuroMillions jackpot. This is estimated to earn £5,000 a day in interest alone, meaning she's unlikely to ever be short of cash.

In June 2009, 74-year-old Brian Caswell got the surprise of his life when he took his lottery ticket to his local newsagent and discovered he'd won almost £25 million.

Belfast housewife Iris Jeffrey, 58, was the lucky holder of the record 20.1 million rollover lottery winning ticket back in 2004.

Jeffrey, 58, a cancer sufferer, only realised three weeks after the draw took place that she had won the  jackpot after organisers Camelot pleaded for the person holding the prize ticket to come forward and claim the prize.

Stephen Smith and his wife Ida from Hemel Hempstead, Herts, won nearly 19 million in the National Lottery. Mr Smith said he would give up his winnings if he could have his health and the chance to live a longer life with his wife.

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