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[Resolved] Sky Casino / Unethical behavior at jackpot aka super keno game

5 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
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This week, my family of 5 adults had to forfeit over $12, 000 usd in a progressive "jackpot" aka "super keno" game before we had won or lost, because after 2+ hours of play we suspected dishonesty by the dealer. The casino had the surveillance tape, but would not let us review it with them or would not turn over a copy to our lawyer despite a formal request letter.

10 minutes into play, we asked the direct question of the dealer ray, if barcelo owned the casino (Which is inside the barcelo occidental caribe resort). His reply turned out to be a lie when he said, "oh yes, mr. Barcelo owns this and 781 other casinos". His reply made us trust the establishment, as we did not feel the resort chain would allow dishonest game play. Otherwise, we would not have played as long as we did before getting suspicious and having a lot of money already spent. The sky casino manager orlando t. Told us in a meeting the next morning that barcelo owns 0% of the casino, and he denied both our request to review the surveillance tape and to refund the monies invested thus far. The grounds to request refund (We were either to forfeit what had been invested in the game thus far or continue the next night) were because we were lied to about casino ownership, the rules of play were revealed piecemeal/all were not revealed up front, the number of balls per square were not disclosed (The natural assumption for americans and europeans familiar with air-popper lotteries and keno is 1:1 balls to possible numbers) , and there was possible slight of hand in the first 15 minutes of play.

The numbers on the balls are unnaturally widely-spaced, which allows the dealer to represent a 112 ball as 11, 12, or 112 by covering up a digit if the ball is shown at all. Fodors has a post warning for antigua and dominican travelers of this tactic, which we wish we had seen! Because early play is "free" money, guests are not asking all the questions they otherwise would if they started out with their own money, and can easily get sucked into thinking they are close to a jackpot if they believe there are equal odds of picking each ball.

It was after we had invested over $12, 000 that we noticed that there seemed to be more balls in the air popper than squares, and it is only then that the dealer reached behind him and pulled out a placard that only told part of the odds - not even disclosing directly how many balls of each there were (Just that there were 340 in total, and odds of winning the 4 color jackpots, which was only part of the odds). This is when we stopped and started asking more questions, and to review the tape. With dishonesty suspected already and their refusal to show us surveillance, we did not want to give them any more money, so we did not continue with the game.

The fact that even with a lawyer's written request for a copy of the surveillance tape they would not provide it, should speak volumes. I believe that possible fraud was committed in the first 15 minutes of play (When the jackpot and per bet amount rapidly escalates) , and this is what visitors should look out for on this game:
1. Be especially alert in the first 15 minutes of play!
2. Make sure that every ball is shown to you, and that the dealer is not covering up any digits of the ball while doing so. We miraculously won 85 points of 100 needed in the first 3 draws. The high point balls are two-digit numbers...
3. Ask to have all the rules explained to you in advance of you putting up your own money, especially that a "house" ball means you forfeit your bet and that if you pull a ball you already drew, you also forfeit your bet! This was only disclosed as it happened...
4. Ask to know specifically how many of each ball are in the air popper for each square - it is not 1:1! The dealer just said "all the good ones and bad ones are in there" over and over, but should have been saying all the good ones and many more bad ones are in there...
5. If you are in for big money, ask for a ball count.In retrospect, we do not even know if all balls were present in the air popper that first night; the dealer said they were, but we already have confirmation that he lied at least once to us. We were at 99 points and any ball draw could cause us to win $200k usd, but no casino management even looked our way. However, they were swarming over some russians who were winning $5k at blackjack, and changed the dealers several times.

Because this bad experience happened on our 3rd night of 7, it ruined our vacation. However, we were at least able to warn hundreds of other guests about our experience, and told many workers also what happened to us, so that they would know why we would never return to barcelo resorts despite their excellent efforts. They were understandably angry that all they they work for is being undone by a guests being taken advantage of by one game in the casino, and we asked them to urge resort management to close the game, because resort management refused to meet with us!

When you enter the casino, they ask if you speak english, put a chip in your hand, take your arm, lead you to the table, and put the scooper in your hand. Do not play the jackpot aka super keno game once you have exhausted the "free" play money, or better yet, refuse to play at all. We are hoping that with this post, other visitors are warned not to get sucked into forfeiting big money like our family did.

  • Resolution statement

    I was contacted by management, who provided further details regarding my complaint, and I was satisfied with the outcome.

  • Updated by kldomino, Jan 06, 2017

    Sky Casino in Occidental Caribe Punta Cana refuses to release the surveillance video from our 3-hours of playing Jackpot aka Super Keno on 1/2/17 in what we thought was a game of chance with equal odds of choosing any ball in the chart, and that we were one point away from winning $200, 000 USD, when play was suspended until the next night with us contributing over $12, 000 USD at that time when we reached our Visa cash advance limit and the game was also closing.

    While searching to see if there were any complaints about this casino paying up if we were to win, I found wide-spread reports of common tactics (in the first 15 minutes of play when bets/jackpots escalate) where it is possible the dealer Ray was covering one digit to misrepresent what ball was actually drawn (meaning we got winning points we didn't really get).

    We did not learn that the odds were not equal for all balls/were skewed heavily for the house, and that there were not an equal amount of each number in the air popper until we were at the $15, 000 USD spending point! The rules and odds are not disclosed up front, and they prey on Americans and Europeans who have lottery draws and keno games, as WE MAKE THE ASSUMPTION that there is a 1:1 representation of balls to squares, and that gaming is well regulated to be fair like in our countries. We thought it was odd that the digits on each ball are spaced very far apart, and now we know it is so that the first or last digit can be covered by the dealer.

    Today I will make formal complaints with the Dominican Gaming Commission and the Dominican Consumer Protection Agency, and yesterday I filed with Visa to have them black-listed to not be able to accept Visa. I intend to blog on 10 sites a day until this "game" is shut down, to spare others from losing large sums of money. If you have a similar issue, PLEASE call Visa at 800-847-2911 to report the casino; only then might these games be shut down.

    We have previously enjoyed playing slots here, but do not know how dealer Ray and General Manager Orlando Torres sleep at night, allowing this "game" to continue. Also of note, the Client services manager refused to set up a meeting with General Manager Castillo of Occidental Caribe resort (where Sky Casino is located).

    Since we had neither won nor lost, but were in process when we discovered unethical behavior, we asked for our money to be returned OR to have the surveilance video. We were denied both. You be the judge of what the resort not meeting with us, and the casino not releasing the video surveillance means.

    BEWARE! Fodor's warns of many others falling prey here: http://www.fodors.com/community/caribbean-islands/antigua-dominican-republic-casino-scam-alert.cfm or Google search super keno scam dominican.

Kl
Jan 8, 2017

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