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NEW YORK (CBSMiami/CNN) — Imagine winning a nearly $43 million dollar slot machine jackpot but then learning the house says you didn’t really win.
That’s what happened to a New York woman who is now taking the casino to court. In August, Katrina Bookman took a selfie in front of the slot machine at Resorts World Casino in New York, and flashed her multi-million dollar smile. Behind her, on the slot machine, evidence of her mega win.
“I kept thinking about my family,” said Bookman.
But after the jackpot flashed on the screen, she was told the game had malfunctioned and she wouldn’t receive the prize. Bookman is used to disappointment. She was raised in foster care, was homeless as a teenager, and raised four kids
“The struggle I’ve been through, it’s hard to cope,” she said.
Bookman had already earmarked some of the cash prize to buy a barbershop for her son and planned to give a big chunk back to her community. In video shot by Katrina’s partner after the apparent jackpot hit, it was casino chaos. She was surrounded by customers and casino personnel and security escorted her off the casino floor. She was told to come back the next day for the decision.
“I said what did I win? You didn’t win nothing.”
Katrina says the only winnings the casino offered was a steak dinner. She declined the offer.
“They win and the house doesn’t want to pay out,” said Bookman’s attorney Alan Ripka. “To me that’s unfair.” Ripka says at the very least, Katrina should win the maximum allowed on the Sphinx Machine. The casino says its $6,500. “The machine takes your money when you lose. It ought to pay it when you win,” said Ripka.
The New York State Gaming Commission said the slot machine was pulled from the casino floor and fixed after the incident.
The commission says any malfunction makes the game null and void.
Katrina still thinks, at the minimum, she should be awarded the max payout on that slot machine. “I feel I should win the max and I will treat him to a steak dinner.”
The Gaming Commission says the casino can’t give her the max pay out by law. They claim the only win she is entitled to is $2.25.