NEW YORK - An unemployed mother of four thought she had hit a nearly $43 million jackpot on a slot machine, changing her life forever. Then she learned the crushing news: There would be no millions because the machine was malfunctioning. The casino offered her a steak dinner instead.
Katrina Bookman of Queens, N.Y., was playing the slots at the Resorts World Casino near La Guardia Airport in late August when the machine she was using told her, "Printing cash ticket. $42,949,672.76."
Customers and casino personnel surrounded her as she celebrated her massive win. She was escorted from the casino floor and told to come back the next day. Bookman, who grew up in foster care, was already making plans for the money, including a barber shop for her son.
"What did I win?" Bookman asked when she returned to the casino, WABC-TV reported. "'You didn't win nothing,'" she says she was told.
The New York State Gaming Commission told Bookman she was not entitled to any winnings because the machine, which is only supposed to pay out a maximum win of $6,500, was malfunctioning. All the machines are labeled with a disclaimer reading, "Malfunctions void all pays and plays." According to the gaming commission, her actual winnings were just $2.25.
The state commission said the machine was removed for repairs after the incident and then returned to the casino floor.
Bookman said the casino offered her a steak dinner, which she refused.
“You offer me a steak dinner? I feel like they did me real dirty," Bookman said, according to the New York Daily News.
"Upon being notified of the situation, 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," a statement from the Resorts casino said, according to a report from the Huffington Post. "Machine malfunctions are rare, and we would like to extend our apologies to Ms. Bookman for any inconvenience this may have caused."
Bookman contacted an attorney, Alan Ripka, who says she should at least be entitled to the machine's maximum pay out of $6,500.
"The machine takes your money when you lose. It ought to pay it when you win," Ripka told WABC.