In all her 87 years of living, Illinois grandmother Pauline McKee never dreamed of winning a jackpot at a slot machine. But that’s exactly what happened at the Isle Hotel Casino in Waterloo.
McKee and her daughter were in Iowa for a family reunion in 2011 when they visited a casino, and Grandma McKee decided to play the “Miss Kitty” penny slot machine. Suddenly, there were sounds of bells, whistles, flashing lights and, according to Ars Technica, the slot machine announced, “The reels have rolled your way! Bonus Award — $41797550.16.” Yes! Grandma McKee had just won $41.8 million smackaroos — or so it seemed.
The Isle Hotel Casino refused to pay Grandma McKee the winnings, claiming it was a computer glitch in the machine. According to Chicago Tribune, this didn’t sit too well with Granny, and she sued the casino, taking her case as high up as the Iowa Supreme Court.
On Friday, the seven-member supreme court, however, unanimously sided with the Isle Hotel Casino, stating that it did not have to pay McKee the winnings that were displayed on the slot machine. In fact, Grandma McKee was told her payout was worth a mere $1.85.
How does something like this happen?
Daily Mail reports that there was a user-agreement available on the touch screen of the slot machine for its patrons to read. That agreement stated that the maximum payout was $10,000, and the “bonus” awards were not allowed. Like the saying goes, “It’s all in the fine print,” as well as, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”
The court verified that McKee did not look at the screen or read the notice before she began playing the penny slots. The casino is not held accountable for McKee not reading the information. Grandma McKee, who is now 90-years-old, took the court’s decision in stride, according to Chicago Tribune.
“I had my doubts from the start, because that’s a lot of money for a penny machine… I was hoping to help my children out financially, but it wasn’t meant to be. They didn’t give me anything except what I had on the machine. If they’re not going to give me any money at all, that’s terrible.”
Justice Edward Mansfield admitted that “Any message appearing on the screen indicating the patron would receive a $41 million bonus was a gratuitous promise and the casino’s failure to pay it could not be challenged as a breach of contract.”
This hasn’t stopped Grandma McKee from gambling — its only stopped her from gambling at the Isle Hotel Casino in Waterloo.
[Photo Credit: TheStir.CafeMom.com]