An error on a Las Vegas slot machine led officials to go on a lengthy search for a big jackpot winner.
Casino patron Robert Taylor, from Arizona, won a $229,368.52 jackpot at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Jan. 8, according to a press release from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
However, because of a malfunction with the slot machine, Taylor didn’t realize he had won, so he left the casino without the prize.
By the time the casino was aware that Taylor had won the jackpot, Taylor had already left Nevada for his home in Arizona, the press release said.
When the casino was unable to identify Taylor, Treasure Island asked officials with the Nevada Gaming Control Board to help track the patron down so he could receive his winnings.
An "extensive investigation" ensued with officials looking through hours of security footage, interviewing witnesses and looking at rideshare data to try and find the jackpot winner.
Finally, on Jan. 28, officials called Taylor to inform him that he won the jackpot, the press release said.
James Taylor, the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s chief of the enforcement division, told FOX Business that officials asked the patron, Taylor, for photos of his Las Vegas visit and asked him to confirm the details of the malfunctioning slot machine.
"It was quite shocking to him to get a call a few weeks later and say, ‘By the way, you actually did win that money,’" James told FOX Business.
Taylor was awarded his money on Saturday,according to a statement provided to FOX Business from the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino.
Representatives with the Nevada Gaming Control Board told FOX Business that Taylor declined to be interviewed.
James explained that officials went to such great lengths to track Taylor down because it was a progressive slot machine that is connected to other machines in the casino, as well as other machines at other casinos.
"So there’s a lot of people paying into that meter," James said. "And so, when the jackpot hits, it belongs to the person that hit that particular meter. And so, that’s why it’s important to pay that person. That money doesn’t belong to the state, it doesn’t belong to the casino. That money has to be awarded."
He did add that if they hadn’t been able to find Taylor, they probably would have returned the money to the meter for the next winner.
"That money is pooled money," James said. "Kind of like the lottery, if you don’t hit the lottery, it rolls to the next day and that’s what would have happened here."
James said that in his 28 years at the Nevada Gaming Control Board, he’s never heard of a story like this one.
"I can’t remember a time when we’ve done this before and I just can’t imagine somebody walking away from a machine," James said. "And it wasn’t his fault. The machine truly did have a communication error."