Last Friday, a woman in Newcastle Oklahoma claimed she won $8.5 million on a slot machine at the Newcastle Casino. Maribel Sanchez thought she hit the spin of a lifetime, but the only problem was that the casino denied the fact that she hit the jackpot. Newcastle Casino is claiming that Sanchez’s lucky spin is actually a result of a malfunctioning machine, not a true jackpot. Sanchez, of course, is furious and hopes that the casino will make right by paying her the jackpot she feels is rightfully hers.
Sanchez woke up Friday morning hoping to have some fun playing slots at Newcastle Casino, and it certainly seemed like that would be the case. After a few spins on the Liberty 7s slot machine, Sanchez hit the jackpot. According to reports, the machine started to act up before shutting off and going black. When it turned back on, it projected the last amount won: $8,469,498.95. Sanchez, allegedly, was able to snap a picture of the display on the machine showing her winnings.
The big win didn’t fail to catch the attention of casino officials, who have yet to pay out Sanchez’s jackpot. Sanchez has since sought legal counsel in hopes of pursuing her options for claiming her winnings.
Taking a Look at the Fine Print
Newcastle Casino is blaming a “malfunction” for the enormous jackpot, claiming that Sanchez didn’t win the prize. A jackpot of this size is unprecedented for the Lucky 7s machine at Newcastle Casino, and some questions were raised about whether or not a jackpot of this size is even possible, given the machine’s regulated odds and payouts. State laws generally offer specific regulations on what expected odds and payouts should be for each machine in a casino, ensuring that players are guaranteed a substantial chance at winning. These regulations mean that each machine should have set odds and payout rates, making it easy for the casino and state officials to identify any potential issues with the machine. Local media reached out to the casino to find out what the maximum payout for this machine was, but the casino offered no comment.
While the casino did not specify the maximum payout for the machine, they did offer some clarification about whether or not they felt the machine malfunctioned. Newcastle Casino made it clear that the game in question is a Class 2 game under state law. Class 2 games within the state determine a winner through a bingo pattern, unless a malfunction occurs. In this case, they feel that a malfunction did occur, thus voiding the payout. The casino plans to follow the appropriate legal procedures to handle Sanchez’s claim.
Malfunctioning Machines Throughout the US
Sanchez, unfortunately, is not the first person to fall victim to this type of scenario. In fact, Sanchez’s $8.5 million jackpot pales in comparison to the $43 million a woman claimed to have won in Queens, New York back in 2016. The woman took a selfie with the screen showing her total winnings, but the New York State Gaming Commission responded saying her machine malfunctioned. A spokesperson from the casino reported that the slot machine the woman was playing on only had a maximum payout of $6,500, and in the end the woman was only offered a steak dinner.
The slot machine in Newcastle Casino was one of three reported issues related to malfunctioning machines in the past week. In Louisiana, the Jena Choctaw Pines Casino had to shut down 300 of their 710 machines due to communication issues with the servers. Encore Boston Harbor also reported issues with their machines, related to their slot ticket system. Fortunately for the customers at Encore Boston Harbor, their jackpots were hand-paid, and the casino agreed to pay all winners.
Sanchez’s winnings still hang in the balance, but she and her lawyer continue to explore legal options, while Newcastle Casino continues to take a closer look at what caused the machine’s malfunction.