Two friends have been waging war against one
another in French courts over who is the rightful owner of a €2 million cash jackpot. Back in
March, Marie-Hélène Jarguel put €50
into a slot machine at the Palavas-les-Flots casino near the city of
Montpellier in south-western France. Her friend Francis Sune pushed the button.
The pair watched as the number 7 appeared on all three reels, triggering the
machine’s Megapot prize worth €2,174,000.
When the two gamblers went to cash out, the casino
would only give them one cheque. Sune asked for a slice, but Jarguel declined.
Dissatisfied, Sune decided to sue Jarguel for his share of the money; after
all, he was the one who pushed the button.
The court battle was long. Jarguel’s lawyer argued
that she had been the one taking the risk by placing her money into the
machine. Sune “is not the winning factor,” said the laywer. “He just pushed a
In the end, the court had to do their best to
decide what was fair, because French
gambling laws have no clear precedent for situations like this. According
to the court, French laws offer “no judicial definition of the winner in a
slot machine game.”
A ruling was finally reached on Tuesday, with the
court deciding that the pair must split the prize. Because Jarguel spent her
own money, it was decided that her contribution to the win was greater, and she
was awarded 80% of the jackpot, with Sune taking the other 20%. Sune is
apparently satisfied with the ruling, but his lawyer is considering an appeal.
Gambling is legal throughout the country, and
there are more casinos in France than most other countries in Europe. The
government is currently in the process of legalizing internet gambling as well.
Within a year, players will be able to choose from several online gambling sites in France.