People enjoy collecting all sorts of interesting things, from baseball cards to oddities to old gaming systems.
But when they collect something like antique arcade games or slot machines, they have to decide what they will do when and if a visitor wants to try their luck with it, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor IGAZmodel had some experience with friends wanting to try out their antique slot machine, but they’d never run into a situation where one of their friends won anything.
When a visitor recently won big and demanded that they keep the money, the Original Poster (OP) was shocked.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for telling a friend’s friend that he couldn’t keep the ‘jackpot’ (about $700) that he hit on my antique slot machine?”
The OP had a party at their house the night before.
“I had a party at my house last night. I have an antique slot machine from the 1940s that is in absolutely spotless and working condition in my living room. My step-grandma was a showgirl, and she said she got it while dating a count room guy prior to meeting my grandpa.”
“Over the years, people have played it and maybe won a few quarters here and there. Maybe a max of $50 at a time.”
“As far as I know, the jackpot was never hit on it, so however it works, there was probably about $700 in the jackpot reserve that had built up over the years. I’d never bothered to have it cleaned out since it just seemed like a fun novelty.”
That changed during the party.
“Well, a friend’s friend hit the jackpot last night. I was f**king floored when he legit thought he could keep my ~$700.”
“His case was he’d been playing with his own money and I would have kept his quarters.”
“My argument was I’d be happy to give him his quarters back if he’d asked, but I’m not a casino, and while I’m not destitute, I can’t afford to give someone $700.”
The two couldn’t come to an agreement.
“The argument caused the party to wind down and one of my best guy friends basically told the guy he’d be in real s**t if he tried to leave with the money.”
“The guy left threatening to come back with the cops and sue me in small claims court.”
“I have no idea if that was realistic but no cops came back.”
“So was I the a**hole for not letting him keep the money?”
The OP updated the post to clarify that their friends took their side about keeping the money.
“Almost everyone (including the friend that brought the ‘winner’) thought he was being a total a**hole for the way he was down on his hands and knees scooping up quarters off the floor to put in his pockets.”
“And he was lying about much he put into the machine, too (he said $75, but who the f**k walks around, much less even has $75 in quarters, when going to a party at a stranger’s house).”
The OP also updated the post to explain why they couldn’t “afford” to give the money away.
“Say you have a change jar that has $100 in it. If your good friend asks to borrow $25, for parking, you’d say yes, right? Another friend says, ‘Wow, that’s cool, I have $1.25 in my pocket, can I donate to your change jar?’ You’d say yes.”
“Now let’s say a guy you’ve never met says, ‘Hey I just put .80 into your change jar, now I’m taking the whole thing.’ You would say no.”
“That’s how I’ve always seen the slot machine, as a huge change jar for all my close friends to use. I’ve given people quarters to play, and I’ve taken a quarter here and there from people who wanted to see it work. I’ve taken in maybe $100 over five years. Maybe. That’s a nickel a day. That’s not a freaking illegal gambling operation.”
“I would have let him keep $50-100 (he certainly got away with some in his pockets) but he was such an a**hole right away that he didn’t give me the chance to come to any sort of deal. Most everyone at the party just wanted him gone.”
“I do feel bad and maybe my guilt over the apparent double standard is why I’m asking here. But I do feel as though had he been even slightly cool and not threatened cops or lawsuits, I wouldn’t have been backed into a corner.”
The OP also shared their suspicions that the guest had attempted to break the game.
“The plot thickens. I was able to call a local person who works on antique slot machines. My slot machine is highly customized but it’s based around a pretty well-known model from that era (don’t want to say exactly because only a few of them exist anymore), and he said I could tell right away if the machine was broken or had been tampered with.”
“In my very, very, very amateur job of checking it over, it does appear that this little piece is either broken or misplaced. So it looks like this piece of s**t ‘guest’ actually broke my machine to steal my money. There wasn’t a jackpot at all.”
“I don’t have confirmation of this until the repair guy is able to come later this week, but it looks like that’s what happened. The guy said there’s an outside chance that if that piece was broken or tampered with that it was an accident, but he wouldn’t bet on it.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought the guest was terribly entitled.
“No way. The friend was GUEST. A home is not a casino. The friend was stealing money from the homeowner.”
“While it should have been clarified upon entering the home, OP is NOT required to pay out. Whatever folks put into an old machine is their choice.”
“This friend has now ruined it for ALL the others who enjoyed going over there and playing with a vintage machine. The friend is TA.”
“My father has tons of these machines. Jackpots have been hit. NO ONE expected to walk away with the earnings because they aren’t entitled schmucks. They are true FRIENDS.” – Luonnotar1692
“It is hard for me to imagine going to a friend’s house and, seeing that they have an old-timey antique/novelty slot machine in their place, expecting them to let me walk away with hundreds of dollars from it.”
“Maybe OP should install a placard or something or make some kind of announcement any time someone wants to tinker around on it, but I also would not expect them to let me empty it out and walk away with that much money. That just doesn’t strike me as a realistic expectation in this situation.” – SoulSerpent
“Why should OP have any obligation to set up THEIR machine to the likings of other people? Let alone play by anyone’s rules other than their own.”
“Everyone is saying how OP is basically running a casino (insane opinion), and if that’s the case, well house rules are a thing, and in this ‘casino,’ it looks like any winnings over $50 will not be paid out. Oh well, pick another ‘casino.'”
“The only way OP could be an a**hole is if they had an antique slot machine in their house… and didn’t let anyone touch it.” – TrillahKillah
“I had a slightly similar situation years ago, drinking at a friend’s cabin. Her parents had an old machine like this, and I’d put in about 4 bucks. Didn’t win anything, but also didn’t expect to keep any winnings.”
“I spent 10 minutes, then went back to drinking. It was the novelty of playing an old slot machine in someone’s cabin. OP should count their blessings they’ve lost all these s**tty entitled friends. Of course you don’t get to walk out with 700 bucks, here’s your 20 back and enjoy the rest of the party.” – curt10curt10
“At the end of the day nobody being introduced to an antique heirloom at a friend-of-a-friend’s house should have any expectation that they’re in a regulated casino with all the legal trappings involved… it was pure novelty and the owner is entitled to whatever they want to do with their property.”
“I’m sure they would’ve returned the quarters to anyone who’d lost over the years if they asked, and still if not then the worst case is those people are entitled to their quarters back. But a stranger isn’t entitled to the ‘rules’ of the novelty.” – midnighttketoker
But others found the OP’s system with the slot machine to be problematic.
“OP has always let the slot machine operate as usual.”
“OP did not refund money.”
“OP took all his friends’ money.”
“OP always let winners take their winnings.”
“OP set the expectations over years and years… and all of a sudden changes things.”
“It might not be a casino, but if you and your friends gamble, it is what it is.”
“If we’re playing cards and I win… and we’ve always played winner takes the winnings… are you really gonna get salty if I take my winnings?”
“OOPS, ALL GOOD IF I TAKE YOUR MONEY WHEN WE GAMBLE, BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE MINE! HA HA HA…”
“If we’re close and you’ve got s**t going on, and you ask nicely, good chance we figure something out, but otherwise tough cookies.” – x69x69xxx
“It’s an awkward social problem. If I won, I would feel really awkward taking the money. I have a small novelty coin dropper that uses pennies. If one of my friends wanted to take the pennies they ‘won’ it would be a bit weird, I think.”
“The money in it is sort of OP’s, but at the same time, it’s only accumulated because other people have used it.”
“I think I would share it… I wouldn’t play it expecting to make hundreds from it, I would play it for fun, with the money I put in going towards costs of the host hosting such an event.” – mcobsidian101
“She lets people try the novelty slot machine that’s a family heirloom. People don’t sit and use it like an actual slot machine. The max $50 was the top payout she’s let someone take, because it’s a fun thing.”
“But she uses it as a change holder, not as a legit slot machine, I think she should definitely have more defined rules for its use if she’s going to have strangers over to her house.” – Pinky2832
“Now that I think about it, $50 in winnings at a time let’s say over 3-4 times over a few years? That means quite a bit of money has sunk into that machine. Either way, it sounds like this machine might have gotten some heavy use.”
“I could see maybe sort of understand not being stoked on paying out $700 in winnings to say, a total stranger/first-time visitor to the home. But even then… it’s really on OP to better manage that machine if $50 transactions (in or out) had happened honestly ever. That’s a lot of money on the table!”
“It’s maybe comparable to having people over for a betting pool (like fights, Superbowl, etc.), but then the house keeps all the winnings.” – bornwitch
“YTA. You left money in the machine knowing people might win some of it. You were perfectly fine letting people use it as though it were real and keeping their money if they didn’t win and let the jackpot build. But now that someone actually won, you don’t want it to be real anymore.” – Dystmyn
While it may be fun to collect antique games and machines like this one, a fair amount of thought would need to be put into what to do if a visitor to the household were to “win” the game.
Perhaps a better method in the future would be to only keep an amount of money in the machine that the OP was comfortable with giving away, just for fun, or if they really didn’t want to give money away, it might be better to not allow people to play it and avoid the potential trouble altogether.