Ways in which casinos tip the odds in their favor have been a theme explored in numerous popular films, but a possible machine malfunction at a New York casino has led to the gambling joint locking horns in a lawsuit with a customer.
In August 2016, Katrina Bookman took a selfie with a machine showing “printing cash ticket $42,949,672.76” on its display at the Resorts World Casino, in New York, only to be escorted from the premises and offered a free meal the following day instead. Now, Bookman is suing the venue for the full amount displayed.
Credit: ABC7/Katrina Bookman
At the time, the casino security allegedly asked Bookman to come back the following day for a decision on her earnings. When she arrived the day after, she was told that all she was going to be taking home was $2.25 which was her winnings before the jackpot malfunction, as well as steak dinner, courtesy of the management.
Katrina told ABC7: “I kept thinking about my family. The struggle I’ve been through, it’s hard to cope.” The mum-of-four was raised in foster care before putting all her kids through school as a single mother.
Resorts World spokesman, Dan Bank, told CNN: “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.”
Bookman, however, remains displeased with such an explanation and has hired lawyer Alan Ripka to defend her interests.
“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,” the solicitor told ABC7.
The mother-of-four is now suing the casino for the full amount, but her lawyer says she is at least entitled to the maximum allowed on the machine, which is $6,500.
According to the New York State Gaming Commission, the machine had been displaying a disclaimer that said “malfunctions void all pays and plays”, but Mr. Ripka claims the casino had not responded to requests for an explanation about how the slot machine malfunctioned.
In a similar case in 2011, the Iowa Supreme Court denied an 87-year old grandmother a payout of $42m after a Miss Kitty slot machine showed a message saying she had won a bonus of that amount. The casino said it had been a malfunction and offered $1.85 based on the symbols the machine was displaying at the time.