Maribel was at a loss for words. She had never seen this much money in all of her life. She turned to her mother and whispered, “I’ve won.” She was about to become a millionaire!
Sadly, her dream was crushed by one of the casino’s employees. Maribel was told she couldn’t keep the money. But why?
Maribel Sanchez wasn’t a gambler, she couldn’t afford to spend her hard-earned cash on silly things like that. She never considered herself a lucky person, either.
Then, one day her mother suggested they check out the Newcastle Casino.
When the mother and daughter went to the casino, they didn’t expect to win anything. They just wanted to have some fun. The pair decided to try the slot machines first and then go from there.
Suddenly, they heard someone scream. “They’re all liars!” a middle-aged woman shouted. “Don’t trust them!” What had happened?
The woman continued to shout as security escorted her. “They’re all hiding something!” she yelled. She threatened the staff that she’d tell everyone about what they were actually doing behind closed doors.
She cried out, “Everybody listen up, they’re lying to all of you, and they’re hiding something!”
Maribel and her mother thought it was strange but didn’t think much of it at first. Maybe the woman was just upset that she’d lost her money? Or maybe had mental health issues?
But little did they know, things were going to take a turn for the worse.
After the woman was escorted, Maribel and her mother sat down at a slot machine and began to play. “You go first,” Maribel’s mother said to her.
The young woman put a coin into the slot machine and pressed the button. She didn’t care if she walked away with nothing that night. After all, she came here to spend time with her mother, not to win money. But Maribel could never have expected what was about to happen.
Maribel and her mother didn’t pay much attention to the pictures spinning. They were too busy catching up.
As you can probably imagine, the two were in complete shock when they saw that Maribel had won $8.5 million!
Maribel and her mother looked at eachother and screamed, “Omg!” Was this a joke? Maybe their minds were playing tricks on them?
They couldn’t believe what had just happened. Maribel had just become a millionaire! But what would she do with all this money?
Maribel knew right away what she would like to do with the winnings. Firstly, she would book herself a nice, expensive vacation somewhere like the Bahamas or Bora Bora.
She also wanted to buy a big house and a new car. Maribel couldn’t wait to claim her fortune. But, sadly, her happiness would be short-lived.
Maribel took a photo of the slot machine’s screen to share the news with her closest friends and family. But as soon as she took the picture, the machine’s screen turned black.
Maribel thought nothing of it – she had already won the $8,5 million. And she had the proof on her cellphone. Now, it was time to go and get her money. Little did she know, someone would soon take all of her money away.
Maribel couldn’t believe she was now a millionaire! She felt like the luckiest person in the world.
She approached the casino worker with a big smile and showed her the photo of the machine’s screen. “I’m here to claim my money,” she said. The worker informed Maribel that she needed to speak with an attendant first.
After speaking with an attendant, the worker informed Maribel that she couldn’t claim the money and unplugged the slot machine.
She insisted that Maribel couldn’t claim such a huge amount at their casino. The staff shut off the machine and handed her a $100 bill. So, why couldn’t she claim the money?
Maribel was devastated. She couldn’t believe how rude the casino staff was. This was unacceptable!
Who did these people think they were? How could they treat a customer this way?
Maribel complained to the manager, but he said he couldn’t help her. He offered the mother and daughter a guest suite for the weekend and free dining as an apology.
But the pair wasn’t happy. “To me, it’s cheating, maybe even fraudulent,” Maribel said.
“My first thought was, ‘how many people has this happened to?’ They think they’ve won, then go away empty-handed.”
Maribel and her mother didn’t want the suite and complimentary dining. They wanted their money. How could the casino management get away with this?
Maribel wasn’t going to let them get away with this, so she escalated the situation all the way to the top-level management. John Setterstrom, the CEO of the casino, said this was the first time a guest had won a jackpot at his casino.
He explained to Maribel why she couldn’t claim her money. And the reason would break her heart.
The casino worker claimed that the slot machine was simply malfunctioning, and that’s why they had to turn it off.
At the time, Maribel and her mother were directed to the paper on the machine that stated all payouts are voided if the machine breaks down.
Maribel and her mother were in disbelief. How could they do this to them? Maribel knew she had to do something about it.
So, she posted the photo of her prize money on the screen online, explaining that the casino staff refused to give her the money. Her post had instantly gone viral.
Not only did Maribel shame the casino online, but she also created awareness of how the casinos really work when guests get the big winnings.
It didn’t take long for the casino to see her post and share an official statement about the incident.
“Rocket Gaming Systems, the machine manufacturer, is in the process of conducting a forensic investigation to determine the cause of the display malfunction that occurred on the machine Ms. Castillo was playing,” it began.
“This machine offers a maximum jackpot of $20,000 if a maximum bet is placed on all lines,” the statement continued. “The maximum jackpot that could have been won based on the number of lines and credits she was betting is $6,000.”
“We deeply regret that she temporarily experienced an incorrect credit display while the machine began its process of metering down after the display malfunction,” a representative explained.
The agency spokeswoman also added that one of the agents assigned to the occasion had previously mentioned that the game had acted “odd” before “spinning backward.” But how often does this happen?
Washington State Gambling Commission employee Heather Songer told Inside Edition, “Nationwide, it’s extremely rare to see a major machine malfunction, so consumers should feel confident that when they are sitting down at a gaming machine, it’s going to function properly.”
Still, Maribel was really upset over the whole matter. She is determined to make them pay for this.
“I’m going to fight,” she said. “This is not over. If it needs to go to trial, then we’ll go to trial.”
She hired a lawyer Bill Zudhi. “Together, we are going to look at her legal options and aggressively pursue her rights,” Zudhi said. “She should be paid for what she won.”