It was the kind of moment we all dream of: Katrina Bookman had pulled the arm on her Sphinx Slot Machine and it announced she had hit the jackpot.
Bookman said she "can't even describe the feeling" of her win. "It's like my whole body just got numb." In all her excitement, Bookman still managed to snap a smiling photo with the game's screen, which said she had won $42,949,672.
I had a big win about a week ago, I was playing the slots at SA gaming, which offers some pretty amazing prizes.
But to this day, Bookman is still waiting for her winnings, and the Resorts World Casino in Queens is determined not to give them to her.
The first sign of trouble came the next day, when Bookman returned to the casino to learn the exact value of her prize. A casino employee told a shocked Bookman that she hadn't won anything, before offering her $2.25 and a free steak dinner.
Bookman says she didn't accept either offer.
The single mother-of-four grew up in foster care, and was devastated to hear she wouldn't be winning her jackpot.
According to casino staff, the Sphinx machine malfunctioned, and was supposed to have a maximum prize of just $6,500.
"Casino 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," a spokesman said.
But Bookman has her own side of the story, and she's taking the casino to court to get her jackpot.
Each slot machine does include a disclaimer which reads "malfunctions void all pays and plays."
But Bookman and her lawyer say the casino is just trying to make an excuse to keep her payout.
"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?," asks Bookman's lawyer Alan Ripka.
"And if so, does that mean that people that played there before [Bookman] had zero chance of winning?"
"They win, and now the house doesn't want to pay out. To me that's unfair."
Ripka also claims that the casino has never explained how the machine malfunctioned.
In her lawsuit, Bookman blames Resorts World Casino for failing to maintain their machines, and says she suffered "mental anguish" from being denied her winnings.
The spurned jackpot winner is asking for her $43 million prize, at least.
"I should win the max. And I feel like I should treat him (the casino employee) to a steak dinner," she said.
Bookman isn't the only gambler who feels like they were cheated out of a jackpot. A 90-year-old woman hit a $41 million payout on a slot machine, but a court ruled the casino didn't have to pay because "the game's rules capped jackpots at $10,000 and didn't allow bonuses."
Does this seem fair to you?