Imagine seeing $42.9 million on the display of the slot machine game you just played.
This is just what Katrina Bookman viewed after she played the Sphinx slot machine game at Resorts World Casino in August 2016.
She thought it was the dollar amount she won. That sum would have been U.S. history’s biggest slot machine game jackpot win.
Sadly for Bookman, she didn’t make history. She didn’t even make more than a few dollars.
Before the news was broken to her that the machine was malfunctioning, Bookman took a selfie with the screen in view.
She smiled near the screen that said it was printing the cash ticket for $42,949,672.76.
As the jackpot number flashed on the screen, so did memories of her past struggles. Her childhood was spent in foster care.
Her teen years involved homelessness. Those days of struggle, including raising four children on her own, seemed like they were over.
Casino security escorted her off the floor. Once she was pulled aside, Bookman was told she had to come back the next day.
When she did, she learned she was entitled to only $2.25 because she didn’t actually win. The casino also offered her a complimentary steak dinner.
According to CNNMoney, Resorts World spokesman Dan Bank said, “[C]asino 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.” Alan Ripka, Bookman’s attorney, ended up filing a lawsuit.
Ripka stated, “You can’t claim a machine is broken because you want it to be broken. Does that mean it wasn’t inspected?”
The New York State Gaming Commission is able to refer back to the disclaimer on the machine. It states, “Malfunctions void all pays and plays.”
The Sphinx slot machine’s maximum winning is $6,500. Ripka might seek at least $43 million in damages but believes Bookman should receive at least the actual maximum amount.
Bookman’s jackpot win wasn’t real, but her disappointment and even “mental anguish” were real.
Major machine malfunctions are rare so, according to Inside Edition’s communication with Heather Songer of the Washington State Gambling Commission, the slot machines you might play can be played with confidence and without much worry of facing the same disappointment as Bookman.