Society

Gambler Hits Jackpot, Given Steak Dinner Instead

| by John Freund

A Queens woman is distraught after being told the $43 million jackpot she won at a local casino is invalid, and all she will be getting instead is a steak dinner and a little over two bucks.  

KTLA reports that Katrina Bookman was playing the slot machines at Resorts World Casino in Jamaica, Queens.  She hit the jackpot -- or so she thought -- when the machine alerted her that she had just won $42,949,672, which would have been the single largest slot machine jackpot in U.S. history. 

Unfortunately for Bookman, the jackpot was deemed invalid due to machine error.  

“I can’t even describe the feeling.  It’s like my whole body just got numb,” Bookman said.  

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According to CNN, when Bookman returned the following day to claim her prize, a casino employee delivered the bad news.  “I said, ‘So what did I win?’  He said, ‘You didn’t win nothing,’” she said.  

The machine has a disclaimer stating, "Malfunctions void all pays and plays."  According to the New York State Gaming Commission, the machine did, in fact, malfunction. 

According to KABC, the casino offered Bookman a complimentary steak dinner to make up for the incident, but Bookman was less than satisfied.  

"All I could think about was my family," Bookman told WABC, according to KTLA.  Bookman is a single mother of four who grew up in foster care.  

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The New York State Gaming Commission claims that, by law, they can only award Bookman her actual winnings of $2.25, which was printed by the machine.

"They win, and now the house doesn't want to pay out. To me that's unfair," says Bookman's attorney, Alan Ripka. He's fighting for the casino to pay Bookman the maximum amount allowed by the Sphinx slot machine -- $6,500.

"The machine takes the money when you lose. It ought to pay it when you win," Ripka said.

A Resorts World spokesman told CNN: 

Upon being notified of the situation, casino personnel were able to determine that the figure displayed on the penny slot was the result of an obvious malfunction -- a fact later confirmed by the New York State Gaming Commission.

After explaining the circumstances to Ms. Bookman, we offered to pay her the correct amount that was shown on the printed ticket. Machine malfunctions are rare, and we would like to extend our apologies to Ms. Bookman for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Yet Bookman remains extremely frustrated.  "I should win the max,” she said.  “And I feel like I should treat him (the casino employee) to a steak dinner.”

Sources: KTLA, KABC / Photo credit: KABC

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