Woman Won $43 Million On Slot Machine - Casino Offered Her Steak Dinner Instead

Ashley Hunte
A casino slot machine.
Unsplash | DEAR

Winning big at the casino might be a dream come true for most of us, but for one woman, it turned out to be a real nightmare.

A woman in New York thought she'd been awarded with the biggest slot machine payout in US history. Instead, she got a lot less than she'd been expecting.

Katrina Bookman Won Big At A Casino In Jamaica, Queens.

Katrina Bookman smiled with proof of her winnings.
Unilad | AMC7 via Unilad

Posing in a picture alongside the slot machine with the winning message, Bookman believed she'd won big -- to the tune of nearly $43 million. That would've been the biggest payout of that casino, as well as any in the United States.

The Joy She'd Felt In That Moment, Sadly, Was Short-lived.

Various games in a casino.
Unsplash | Kvnga

Having been raised in foster care and experiencing homelessness as a teen, Bookman states that she's used to disappointment, ABC7 reports.

She Had Already Planned On What To Do With Her Winnings.

Bookman planned to spend money on a barbershop to run with her family. She'd also planned on giving back to her community.

Bookman Was Told By Casino Staff To Come Back The Next Day.

Neon lights surrounding a slot machine.
Unsplash | Krzysztof Hepner

After the amazing moment in which Bookman won the jackpot, which was captured on video by her partner, she was informed by staff to come back the next day to claim her prize.

But When She Returned, There Was No Prize.

Brightly lit slot machines.
Unsplash | Carl Raw

"I said what did I win?" Bookman told the news outlet. She recalled the staff at the casino saying to her, "You didn't win nothing."

Instead, They Offered Her A Steak Dinner.

Rather than pay Bookman the winnings, the casino offered her a steak dinner.
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The casino informed Bookman that her actual winnings only totaled around $2.25. They also offered her a steak dinner.

The Casino Alleged That The Slot Machine Malfunctioned.

Bookman in tears recalling the ordeal with the casino.

Bookman's attorney, Alan Ripka, Told ABC7, "They win and the house doesn't want to pay out. To me that's unfair." He went on to say, "The machine takes your money when you lose. It ought to pay it when you win."

Ripka Believed That Bookman Was At Least Entitled To The Machine's Maximum.

Lines of slot machines.
Unsplash | Carl Raw

According to the casino, the machine's winnings max out at $6500. Ripka believed that Bookman is entitled to that amount.

The Casino, On The Other Hand, Doesn't Believe So.

The machine on which Bookman was playing.

Since the machine malfunctioned, and the casino has indicated that "malfunctions void all pays and plays," they believe they do not have to pay Bookman anything beyond her $2.25.

The Machine In Question Was Apparently Taken For Repairs.

A sign advertising for a casino.
Unsplash | Adrian Trinkaus

The New York State Gaming Commission reported that the machine was pulled from use for repairs, and was later returned to the casino.

Bookman Did Plan On Suing The Casino.

A sign pointing to a casino.
Unsplash | Jan Antonin Kolar

At the time of ABC7's report, Bookman had been planning to sue the casino.

She Officially Filed A Lawsuit A Year Later.

More slot machines in a casino.
Unsplash | Francesco Ungaro

Both Bookman and Ripka maintained that the casino has more of a responsibility to pay patrons their winnings.

Ripka Later Fired Back At The Casino's Claims That The Machine Had Malfunctioned.

A casino card table.
Unsplash | Dusan Kipic

"You can't claim a machine is broken because you want it to be broken. Does that mean it wasn't inspected? Does it mean it wasn't maintained?" he said to CNN. "And if so, does that mean that people that played there before [Bookman] had zero chance of winning?"

Ultimately, The Case Was Settled Out Of Court.

A line of slot machines.
Unsplash | Lee Thomas

Though, the exact nature of the settlement is unclear.

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