When you buy-in to a contest your coins go into an escrow account until the contest is completed or cancelled.
When a regular contest is created, typically all the competitors that are selected to play are asked if they would like to accept the buy-in or decline.
If you buy into a contest, your coins, the coins of your competition, and resources assigned from the department (the pay-out and bonus) are stored in an escrow account until one of a few scenarios take place. This includes:
- All or some of the players buy-in and the contest concludes with a winner
- All or All but one player decline the contest and it is deemed no contest.
- All or All but one player neither accepts or joins the contest and the process times out.
With that said, if you buy-in and play, your coins and the coins of other competitors will be used as part of the pay-out. If you win you will receive the payout. If you lose, your coins go to the winner(s).
If you are the only person that buys in and there is no contest or the process times out, your coins will be returned to you from escrow.