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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Winner refuses $20,000 slots jackpot, files suit


Winner refuses $20,000 slots jackpot, files suit

When is a $20,000 casino jackpot not enough?
When the winner is expecting a $86,000 prize.

A 77-year-old South Jersey woman, who refused to accept a $20,000 jackpot, instead claims she was rooked out of an $86,000 prize that she believed that she had won last year playing a nickel slot machine at an Atlantic City casino.

Angela Domino filed suit last week against Harrah's Atlantic City and the slot machine manufacturer, International Gaming Technology of Reno, in Atlantic County Superior Court.

Domino, of Smithville, said she was playing a Spin Poker machine on May 3 at Harrah's. Spin Poker machines are electronically networked with other "one-armed bandits" at various Atlantic City casinos.

The jackpot meter read just over $86,000 at 8:26 p.m. when she dropped a nickel into the machine.

Domino, who has played the slots for 11 years, said wasn't prepared for what happened next.

The reels stopped spinning, landing on the winning combination. The bells began to ring. According to the jackpot meter, the $86,000 prize was hers. Or so she thought.

The machine had reset itself to $20,000 -- but not until about 90 seconds after the win, according to Domino's atorney, Scott Mitnick.

According to the suit, a Harrah's representative met Domino at the machine and congratulated her for winning $20,000, verifying that she had won the top prize.

"She (Domino) was crushed," Mitnick said in an interview today.

He added that his client "is not an inexperienced player. She loves and knows her slots."

Mitnick said when Domino played her nickel, the machine still read an $86,000 payout.

A representative from the slot machine maker confirmed she had won the jackpot and asserted there had been no malfunction, the suit states.

Then a supervisor broke the bad news.

A player at Trump Marina had won the pot at 8:23 p.m. three minutes before, the slot supervisor said. Because of that win, the machine had been reset. Her winnings were only $20,035.31.

Domino protested. She demanded to see tapes made by the casino's video surveillance cameras. She said the casino denied her request.

She refused the $20,000.

On Jan. 23 she filed suit seeking the $86,000 jackpot she believes belongs to her. Domino is also asking for attorney's fees and unspecified punitive damages.

A spokesman for Harrah's said the casino had no comment citing the pending litigation.

A spokesman for the maker of the machine, IGT, Ed Rogich, said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

He did say that Domino won a jackpot, it just wasn't the one she expected. "We're in the business of paying out jackpots," he said. "and in this instance there were two that paid out in three minutes."

"We are aware of the suit filed by the patron and have reviewed the matter with the casino commission," Rogich said.

Source: Philly

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