When I was in middle school, my family went on a road trip from Wisconsin to South Dakota. Now, that sort of road trip is not all that exciting on first blush to a kid, but as it turned out, it was a lot of fun. Saw Mount Rushmore, hiked in the Badlands, visited Wall Drug, crossed the border to Wyoming to see Devil’s Tower, and spent time in the revived wild west town of Deadwood. Deadwood used to be a ghost town, but was revived because of legalized gambling. We went to one of those casinos and while my brother and I were in the arcade, my dad came running upstairs to celebrate his big slot machine win with us. It was a bucket full of nickels. Yes, my dad got excited over a nickel slot win. If, for some reason, the casino rescinded his win, he would have been upset, but not as upset as Tamara Bean was recently when Ameristar Council Bluffs told her she would not receive her penny slot jackpot.
Bean had been banned
Nobody really expects to hit it big when playing the slots, though we are always hopeful. Playing penny slots comes with much more modest dreams, so when Bean won a $1,733 jackpot, it likely came as quite the shock. But when she went to cash out, the casino told her that because she had been banned from the property in 2002 – some pot was found in her purse – she was ineligible to claim any winnings.
“It’s the first time I’ve won in 15 years and now magically they’re going to say you don’t get your money,” a disappointed Bean told Omaha’s NBC 6 News.
Feels she deserves money because she was allowed to play
She also said that the casino never showed her anything that said she was banned, but Ameristar Council Bluffs says it has a ban notice that she signed in 2002. She wasn’t married at the time, so the name she signed was her maiden name, Tamara Sheffield.
Bean believes that because she has returned to Ameristar many times since then with her “Tamara Bean” driver’s license, it means that the casino has permitted her to play and owes her the money.
“I’m not lying. That’s my married legal name,” said Bean, presumably assuming people thing she is trying to pull a fast one.
Jackpot win required social security number look-up
The reason she was able to play at Ameristar Council Bluffs without hassle was two-fold. First, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission said that casinos are not required to spot every banned player and stop them at the door. Second, even though she cites her rewards card as another way the casino accepted her patronage, she was not required to show her driver’s license until she tried to cash out her slots jackpot. It was when the social security number was run that the casino’s system revealed her ban.
Any other time she may have had to show identification, she would have used her driver’s license with her married name, not the name she used when she was banned.
Bean also had the same reaction to her predicament that some poker players have if they are denied cash outs by an online poker room:
“They took my money for all these years, so why wouldn’t you give me the money that I legally own?”