She’s mad as hell and is telling the world’s largest casino company that it had better fork over her money.
It has been 17 months since 78-year-old Angela Domino hit what she thought was an $86,000 jackpot while playing a 5-cent progressive slot machine at Harrah’s Resort.
However, Harrah’s paid her only $20,000 Wednesday in a long-running dispute over how much the jackpot actually was when Domino’s machine dealt her a winning combination on a bet of $2.25.
“I’m very angry,” said Domino, a widow who lives in Galloway Township. “I was angry when it happened. I didn’t understand why they didn’t pay me my $86,000 jackpot. Promises are not being kept.”
On May 3, 2007, Domino’s bet landed on a winning combination of four aces and a joker. The reels stopped spinning, the bells began to ring and the jackpot meter indicated that Domino had won $86,000.
I said, “Oh my God, I won $86,000”, she recalled.
Then her elation disintegrated into disappointment when she was told that she had actually won $20,000 because another gambler at Trump Marina Hotel Casino had scored the $86,000 prize three minutes earlier while playing the same system of Spin Poker progressive slot machines.
Progressive slot machines are linked electronically in casinos throughout Atlantic City to create megajackpots that grow each time a bet is made. When a jackpot is won, the machines then reset to the minimum jackpot. On the Spin Poker machines, the minimum jackpot was $20,000.
In Domino’s case, the slot machine manufacturer claimed that if her machine showed an $86,000 jackpot when she won, it was simply a mistake, according to her attorney, John M. Donnelly.
“She had the right amount of coins, she had the right combination and she won that jackpot,” Donnelly said.
Believing she was cheated, Domino filed a state Superior Court lawsuit last January against Harrah’s and the slot machine manufacturer, International Gaming Technology. Harrah’s Resort is one of four Atlantic City gaming halls owned by Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., the world’s biggest casino operator.
Harrah’s spokeswoman Alyce Parker said it is company policy not to comment on pending litigation. International Gaming Technology did not respond to a request for comment.
Domino initially refused to accept the $20,000 offered by Harrah’s, believing it could jeopardize her claim to the $86,000 jackpot. Donnelly said Harrah’s delivered a $20,000 check to his office Wednesday after he and Domino appeared before the New Jersey Casino Control Commission earlier in the day to complain about the jackpot dispute.
Domino said she considers the $20,000 merely a down payment on the $86,000. She vowed to keep fighting for the full amount she believes she won.
“Me getting the money, that’s what I’d like to see,” she said. “I think if Harrah’s is fair, they will give me the money.”
Domino attended the Casino Control Commission’s board meeting accompanied by two friends, Marilyn Steitz, 72, and Mary Ann Guerra, 69, both of Galloway Township. Donnelly joked that Steitz and Guerra represented Domino’s “posse.”
The commission members listened to Donnelly’s arguments on behalf of Domino, but did not intervene in her complaint against Harrah’s.
“We did look into that complaint, but determined that there was no apparent regulatory violation and closed the matter,” commission spokesman Daniel Heneghan said.
Domino, though, said she was encouraged by comments made by the audience at the commission meeting.
“I’m determined,” she said. “As I walked out of the Casino Control Commission board room, some people told me, ‘Go get ‘em.’”