Most of us have made peace with the fact that we're not going to win millions of dollars, so it's not too much of an emotional burden when that does not indeed happen. Katrina Bookman of Jamaica, Queens, New York, encountered a different kind of emotional dynamic, though, when a malfunctioning video slot machine told her she'd won a $43 million jackpot.
According to WABC in New York, Bookman isn't really in a laugh-it-off kind of mood about the mistake, especially since Resorts World Casino, where the malfunction happened, ended up deciding to offer her nothing more than a free steak dinner. In video taken by Bookman's partner, viewers can see the chaos that erupted around her after the machine made its faulty display. She was whisked off the floor by casino security and told to come back the next day for a ruling on the incident, which ended up being not in her favor. Her attorney, Alan Ripka, puts it simply:
"They win and the house doesn't want to pay out. To me that's unfair. The machine takes your money when you lose. It ought to pay it when you win."
Ripka is not saying the casino should pay the full $43 million jackpot, which far exceeds the maximum payout of the machine in question, but is saying that they should at least pay out that maximum payout, which comes to $6,500. The New York State Gaming Commission told ABC that not only does the machine's "malfunctions void all pays and plays" disclaimer absolves the casino of any responsibility to pay, but that the casino is actually legally prohibited from paying out on the basis of a technical malfunction. For Bookman's part, she told reporters she plans to sue the casino to get a small piece of that imaginary $43 million prize, even if it probably won't end up being enough to fulfill her original hopes and dreams for her winnings, "to buy a barber shop for her son and a big chunk she would give back to her community."