Katrina Bookman hit a slots jackpot last fall at Resorts World in Queens, New York, with her screen displaying that she had won $42.9 million. Or at least she thought.
When the New York resident went to cash out her lucky ticket, casino personnel informed her the win was erroneous, and that the slot machine had malfunctioned. They offered her a free steak dinner, and $2.25, the prize she should have one on her one cent wager.
She declined both the meat and the $2.25, and quickly hired a lawyer. This week, her attorney, Alan Ripka, filed a lawsuit on her behalf against Genting New York LLC, the parent company to the Resorts World property.
She’s seeking $43 million in damages, as well as an explanation from the casino as to how the machine errored.
“You can’t claim a machine is broken because you want it to be broken,” Ripka told CNNMoney. “Does that mean it wasn’t inspected? Does it mean it wasn’t maintained? Does that mean that people that played there before had zero chance of winning?”
Odds Against Bookman
Who wouldn’t be upset to think they just became a multimillionaire, only to be told you didn’t even win a gallon of gasoline? Bookman thought she had just snagged the largest slots jackpot ever won in US history, and instead received a free dinner.
It would have been a good story, but alas, no dice. And the chances of the legal system siding with her are slim.
Each slot machine in New York is mandated to have a disclaimer that states, “Malfunctions void all pays and plays.”
Resorts World said it’s clear the electronic equipment failed. The company said at the time, “The figure displayed on the penny slot was the result of an obvious malfunction.”
The Sphinx Slot Machine Bookman was playing came with an advertised jackpot of just $6,500, or 0.015 percent of the $42,949,672.76 ticket that printed.
The largest valid single slots jackpot in US history dates back to 2003. It was at the Excalibur where a man who wished to remain anonymous hit a $39.7 million win on a $100 Megabucks wager.
Slot Machine Errors
Slot machines, like any technological device, aren’t immune to malfunctioning. And on casino floors, while still relatively rare, breakdowns do occur.
In 2015, a 90-year-old woman thought she had won a $41.7 million jackpot on a penny machine inside the Isle Casino Hotel in Waterloo, Iowa. She was only given the $1.85 prize she was supposed to hit, but later sued.
In that case, a judge sided with the casino, explaining, “The rules of the game formed a contract between the patron and the casino, and the patron was not entitled to the bonus under those rules.”
Regardless, Bookman’s attorney is pressing on. “The machine takes your money when you lose. It ought to pay when you win,” Ripka said last fall.
Should he find a way to convince a court his client is due $43 million, Brookman would have enough money for about 860,000 filet mignon dinners at the Resorts World Prime steakhouse.