Ameristar Casino Banned Gambler Cannot Collect Jackpot in Iowa

Posted on: September 1, 2019, 04:21h. 

Last updated on: September 1, 2019, 11:09h.

Ameristar Casino Hotel in Council Bluffs, Iowa has refused to pay a gambler after she won $1,733 from a penny slot machine because she was on a list of banned patrons.

Ameristar Casino in Iowa will not pay a jackpot to a banned gambler. (Image:

Tamara Bean of Omaha Nebraska appealed the non-payment decision to state officials, according to WOWT TV News. But they will not challenge the conclusion by the Penn National Gaming-operated casino.

Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission officials said they cannot require the casino to pay the money. Ameristar’s decision was not arbitrary in nature, the TV station reported last week based on the commission’s review.

The casino is not required to ensure a person on the banned list does not enter the 38,500 square-foot venue, commission officials further explained in the WOWT report.

The casino banned the woman in 2002 after authorities discovered what was believed to be a controlled substance in her purse, WOWT News said. Bean later said it was marijuana, the report adds.

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,” Bean told WOWT. “They haven’t shown me anything to state I wasn’t allowed in there.”

The woman, who in 2002 was known as Tamara Sheffield — her maiden name — signed the ban notice. She told the station since that time she entered Ameristar on multiple occasions and got in after showing her driver’s license for Tamara Bean, which is her married name.

To collect an amount as high as $1,733 a patron needs to provide a Social Security number. When she provided that number to casino staff, the ban was found by employees — even though it was put into effect when she used her maiden name.

Bean is particularly concerned about the casino’s actions because Ameristar provided her a rewards card several months before hitting the jackpot. But Social Security numbers are not required to get a rewards card, the casino claims.

“They took my money for all these years, so why wouldn’t you give me the money that I legally own?” she asked WOWT.

Ameristar features more than 1,400 slot machines. That includes reels, video reels, video poker and video keno.

The casino also has more than 20 table games. It additionally has a high limit room with 51 slot machines and five table games.

Earlier Incident at Prairie Meadows

WOWT further reported how this situation is like an earlier instance when a patron won $9,000 at Iowa’s Prairie Meadows Casino & Hotel. That gambler was on a banned list, too, the report said.

Later, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Prairie Meadows was allowed to not pay the jackpot. A key part of the high court’s ruling was that there was a contract between the player and casino — that meant each party had to fulfill their responsibilities under the contract.

Self-Exclusion Ban in Iowa

In 2017, approximately 550 ex-gamblers in Iowa took advantage of a new law that allows people who put themselves on a list to be banned from casinos for life — due to problem gambling — to reduce their self-imposed timeout to five years.

Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Administrator Brian Ohorilko said gamblers have an option of a five-year self-exclusion and a lifetime ban. Those who previously agreed to the lifetime ban can now ask to be taken off the list. As of two years ago, approximately 4,000 people were eligible to be removed from the self-exclusion list.