I can’t be the only person who’s fantasised about winning big bucks in a casino. Whether it’s card games or slot machines, it’s a tantalising thought that riches beyond our wildest dreams could be the reward for a simple game of chance amongst strangers. Every time I’ve visited a casino I’ve noticed the same frenzied, anticipatory atmosphere hanging in the air – the prospect of money on everyone’s mind.
The flashing lights blinking from the machines, the green tables upon which cards are shuffled and dealt. The ice-cold cocktails, the fine tuxedos, and of course, the pure oxygen that’s pumped into the room to keep the customers playing, they all conspire to create an unforgettable experience.
But sadly, the reality for the great, great, great majority of is is that we’ll walk away empty-handed and win absolutely nothing. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. The dream of easy money, in almost all cases, exactly that: a dream. In the real world the house always wins, and casino owners will do everything in their power to keep their guests cranking those levers and shuffling decks, without having to go through the rigmarole of even paying them a single cent.
It seems like even a machine telling a customer that they’ve won the jackpot is not enough to make these guys fork over the dough. A woman from New York supposedly managed to bag $34 Million on a slot machine; but when she came to collect her winnings, she was offered a measly steak dinner instead!
Katrina Bookman was at the Resorts World Casino in New York, and had been playing for some time, never expecting to win big. But when the screen of her slot machine flashed that she’d one a $42 million jackpot, she couldn’t help but be elated at the prospect of joining the ranks of the super-wealthy and living a life of carefree luxury. Bookman even snapped a selfie next to the machine in celebration, and you can see it displayed the fact that she’d managed to win a total of $42,949,672.76 (£34m).
But when bookman came back to the casino the following day to collect her winnings, she was informed that the jackpot screen wasn’t a legitimate win at all, but the result of a catastrophic system error. In actual fact Bookman was really only entitled to $2.25. The casino offered to give Bookman a free steak dinner as a consolation prize, but predictably she wasn’t happy about being fobbed off.
Bookman has now hired an attorney, and has stated that she intends to sue the casino. Lawyer Alan Ripka has stated that the casino should at least pay out the maximum amount of money the machine contained: $6,500, saying: “They win and the house doesn’t want to pay out. To me that’s unfair. The machine takes your money when you lose. It ought to pay it when you win.”
Dan Bank, a spokesman representing the casino, told CNN: “”asino 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.”
Banks is a mother of four who was raised in foster care, and yet managed to put all of her children through school single-handedly. If anyone deserved that payout, it’s her. Me? I think I’ll settle for free steak. It’s the only thing I see myself winning in the future.