Gamblers Who Thought They'd Won Huge Jackpots Are Told Their Machines Malfunctioned
They won hefty sums of money, only to be told later that they wouldn't be paid.
While some people are lucky enough to win big at casinos, the hardest part can sometimes be collecting the winnings.
Inside Edition’s investigative team found people who thought they'd be taking home huge jackpots, only to discover that wasn't the case.
Katrina Bookman, 44, thought she hit a $42.9 million jackpot at Resorts World Casino in Queens, N.Y., in 2016. She even posed next to the winning machine as it displayed her earnings.
“I thought it was my lucky day,” she told Inside Edition.
Crowds started to surround Katrina to congratulate her, but soon security took her aside and she was eventually told that the machine had malfunctioned and there would be no payday.
“Anytime a machine hits a lot of money, you are going to claim it’s broke,” Katrina said.
She hired a lawyer, Alan Ripka, to take the casino to court. The case is pending.
“When you walk through the door, you expect if you are risking your money, that if you win, you will be paid,” Ripka said.
Construction worker Jerry Rape, 55, and his wife, Kim, couldn't believe it when a slot machine said he'd won $1.3 million at the Wind Creek Casino in Montgomery, Ala., in 2011.
“I thought I was a millionaire,” he told Inside Edition. “I thought it was my lucky day.”
But 24 hours after he thought he had “won," he was also told the "machine malfunctioned."
“Very devastating,” he said
He also hired an attorney, Matt Abbott.
“In this circumstance, the Creek Indian tribe was the judge, the jury and ultimate say so on whether they were going to pay a jackpot that [they] should have paid,” said Abbott.
Veronica Castilla was stunned when the machine showed she had won $8.5 million at the Lucky Eagle casino outside Seattle.
“I was excited; I couldn't believe it,” she said. “I was in shock.”
She even took out her camera to snap pictures.
“I started to ask, 'Where's my prize?'” she recalled.
But just like the others, she was told the machine had malfunctioned.
“They took my money but didn’t want to pay my winnings,” she claimed.
Washington is among a handful of states with its own casino lab, where gaming machines are regularly inspected.
“Nationwide, it's extremely rare to see a major machine malfunction, so consumers should feel confident that when they are sitting down at a gaming machine, it's going to function properly,” Heather Songer of the Washington State Gambling Commission told Inside Edition.
That's little solace for Katrina Bookman, Jerry Rape, and Veronica Castillo, who felt like they were millionaires — for at least a few minutes.
“I'm going to fight," Castillo said. "This is not over."
The casinos say malfunctions are extremely rare and when errors occur, any payouts are void. In the cases of Bookman, Rape and Castillo, the jackpots actually exceeded what the machines could pay out.
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