Woman Wins $8 Million Jackpot, Casino Refuses To Pay

A Dream Come True 

Maribel is motionless as she stands. She never in a million years thought she'd be rich. People like her simply don't experience events like this. Tears were running down her face as she glanced at her daughter. She murmured, her voice breaking, "I've won."

She collected herself gradually before going straight to get her prize. However, the casino employee abruptly and without warning stole her aspirations away. In the blink of an eye, her entire world had been turned upside down. What was going on?

An Ordinary Woman 

Maribel Sanchez wasn’t a big gambler. She never had that kind of money to lose, and she never considered herself lucky. But when her daughter suggested a trip to Newcastle, Oklahoma, the Newcastle Casino eventually found its way onto their itinerary. 

But when the Portland, Oregon, mother-daughter team arrived at the gaming venue, they never dreamed they’d get so lucky so fast.

Stepping Out

As soon as Maribel set foot in the casino, she didn’t know why, but something was telling her to leave. She looked over at her smiling daughter, who was completely engulfed by the bright lights of the casino. 

As the mother and daughter duo walked along the red velvet carpet, suddenly, Maribel heard a noise that stopped her cold. 

A Woman Was Screaming 

Across the room, amid the hustle and bustle of the casino, Maribel heard a piercing scream that echoed throughout the casino. “They’re all liars!” the voice boomed. 

Maribel turned around, and to her surprise, she saw that a middle-aged woman was being dragged out by a group of stocky security guards. “They’re hiding something,” she shouted. 

They’re Hiding Something 

“Everybody listen up,” the woman shouted. “They’re all liars. They’re hiding something!” Many confused visitors were all watching the woman get dragged out by security. 

“That’s pretty strange,” Maribel said to her daughter. But she had no idea things were about to get even stranger.

Getting Ready To Play 

After the angry woman was kicked out of the casino, Maribel and her daughter continued with their day. Maribel didn’t feel comfortable at the tables, she preferred to keep it simple and play the slots. Plus, she could sit with her daughter and have fun, just the two of them.

She picked a machine with a free one next to it and sat down while her daughter pulled up alongside her. If only she’d known the drama this little game would cause.

Would She Win? 

Maribel - who worked long hours as a loan officer - put $1.25 into a Liberty 7’s slot machine. Even if she didn’t win anything, Maribel knew that this trip wasn’t about that - it was about spending time together as a family and making memories. 

She pulled the lever, then started straight at what appeared on the screen, her mouth wide open.


The screen showed that Maribel had won nearly $8.5 million! Was she seeing things? Without taking her eyes off the screen, she reached out to her daughter, who was busy playing the other game, and shook her shoulder.

Her daughter spat out her drink. Maribel was a millionaire! And she knew exactly what she would do with the money.

A Brand New Life

It wasn’t hard for Maribel to come up with things to spend the money on. She would obviously go on vacation - somewhere hot like the Bahamas, she would probably get a new car and definitely a new house...

But that was enough fantasizing for now, it was time to go and make her dreams a reality! Little did she know what was coming.

It Was Going To Change Her Life

Maribel couldn’t believe she had won so much money! She honestly felt like the luckiest woman alive. This was definitely going to change her life.

Bursting with excitement and with dollar signs in her eyes, Maribel approached a casino worker. But they were very quick to bring her down to Earth. 


After seeing the huge jackpot number, an employee of the machine promptly came and unplugged it, insisting she couldn’t claim such a huge figure.

They shut off the machine, took it away, and handed Maribel $100. But luckily, Maribel had taken a photo of the prize money on the screen before it went black. This wasn’t over.

Have This Instead

Maribel straight away complained to the manager. As well as the mere $100 they claimed Maribel had actually won, as a way of an apology, they offered Maribel and her daughter, a guest suite for the rest of the weekend, as well as free dining. But Maribel still wasn’t happy.

“To me, it’s cheating, maybe even fraudulent,” she stated. “My first thought was, 'how many people has this happened to?' They think they’ve won, then go away empty-handed.” Maribel didn’t want complimentary hospitality, she wanted an explanation.

Taking It Further

Maribel escalated the situation all the way to the top. The CEO of the casino John Setterstrom said this was the first time he’d experienced a guest winning a jackpot and being denied it like that. 

Something had gone seriously wrong. And the reason she wouldn’t be given her prize money was very difficult for Maribel to swallow.

A Faulty Machine 

The casino worker claimed that the machine was simply malfunctioning. At the time, Maribel was directed to a sticker on the machine that stated all payouts are voided if the machine breaks down. 

She couldn’t believe it. How could they do this to her? Maribel was hardly a confrontational and vengeful person, but she knew she had to make them pay for this. 

Posting It Online

Maribel had luckily taken a photo of her prize money on the screen before it went black. She then posted this picture online to her hundreds of followers, explaining that the casino was refusing to pay her. Within a matter of hours, Maribel had gone viral.

But Maribel knew that merely online naming and shaming the casino wasn’t going to be enough to satisfy her. She had to go bigger.

She Had To Take It Further 

At this point, Maribel knew that it was more important to create awareness of how casinos work when the players get the big winnings rather than simply reclaiming the money that’s rightfully hers. 

So to do this, she’s taking things further to make sure it never happens to another person again. 

Hiring A Lawyer 

Since that fateful day at the casino, Maribel has hired lawyer Bill Zuhdi. "Together, we are going to look at her legal options and aggressively pursue her rights," Bill stated. "She should be paid for what she won."   

Although those idyllic thoughts of sunbathing in the Bahamas and driving around in a Mercedes slowly fade away in Maribel's mind, the investigation is still ongoing. But as she awaited the final verdict, a different incident occurred in Vegas.

Sin City

Kimmy, her husband Jeff, and her husband's brother Royce were visiting Sin City for a chance to blow off some steam.  

Like Maribel and her daughter, the trio was by no means experienced gamblers. Well, that's what Kimmy and Jeff thought. They didn't know what kind of secrets Royce held and how it would lead to them having to sprint out of the casino literally.

Running A Bookstore

Kimmy and Jeff had been working hard all year long. As summer drew close, they made a promise to set aside everything and fly to Las Vegas for a week-long vacation. 

Given that they ran a family business that centered around a bookstore and Kimmy's career as a celebrated novelist, the two could make the trip work without stepping on any toes. 

Getting Everything In Order

Kimmy and Jeff arranged for the Vegas trip in time. They ensured the store was in safe hands before leaving and even set up emergency safety nets in case something went wrong while they were away. 

But as they were about to leave, Jeff got a call from Royce, his twin brother who had eloped three years prior without a word. Jeff had to hear him out. 

Talking To Him

Royce explained that although he was doing good in life, he missed his family and wanted to see them. He had gone to their parents, spending time with them before calling. 

"I wanted to see you, share a beer or read one of those books you have lying around," he said with a nervous chuckle. He didn't know he was too late. 

The Plans Are Set

Jeff told his brother he wanted to see and spend time with him. But the only problem was that he and Kimmy had booked a flight to Vegas. They'd made reservations at a fancy hotel, looking for some time to wind down. 

Jeff hated having to turn down his brother, especially since Royce was the one who reached out. Jeff remembered that Royce wasn't even there for his wedding. Could he reschedule?

Kimmy To The Rescue

Jeff talked to Kimmy about his problem, and that's when Kimmy gave a solution that would leave him stumped.

How about they invite Royce to their little trip? She projected that she'd spend most of her vacation time alongside their hotel's pool with a novel glued to her face. Having Royce over ensured that Jeff wouldn't lose himself to boredom.  

New Plan

Jeff called Royce and relayed the message, and to his surprise, his twin agreed. He even booked a room in the same hotel as them to be closer to his family.

Since he was in a different state, they agreed to meet at the hotel instead of having him fly to San Francisco, where Jeff and Kimmy lived. The couple didn't know what they were signing up for. 

He's Different 

As planned, Kimmy and Jeff landed in Las Vegas and checked into their hotel. But they weren't even in for ten minutes when Royce came knocking. 

He was changed, taller than Jeff remembered him. He was also covered in tattoos on his neck, arms, and legs. Regardless, he still radiated the warmth Jeff had always associated with him. But instead of coming into the house, he insisted Jeff and Kimmy join him for some fun in the city.

Out On The Strip

Jeff and Kimmy hadn't been in Las Vegas in a while. Although it was already night, they locked their doors and left with Royce. 

He took them to the first casino that came in sight, stating that since he hadn't gotten them a wedding present, he would fund their gambling through the night. But they wouldn't be in the casino for more than an hour.

Playing Roulette

Royce took Jeff and Kimmy to play roulette, insisting he felt really lucky. He handed them a hundred dollars each in twenty dollar bills and asked that they follow his instructions.  

They began playing the game, losing each twenty-dollar bill per spin. But although Jeff and Kimmy were slowly getting dejected, Royce insisted they continue playing. 

Black 22

He handed them more money amounting to two hundred dollars and repeated what he kept saying before they played. "Follow my rules." 

On the next spin, the ball landed on Black 22, but the electronic board displayed Red 32. Jeff and Kimmy cursed. They had lost again. But Royce was still in it to win it. "Put everything on Red 32," he told Jeff and Kimmy as he placed all his cash. But they wouldn't listen. 

Red 32!

The next spin came, and the ball landed on Red 32. Jeff and Kimmy almost fell back. They watched as Royce received more than a hundred thousand dollars in chips. 

But someone saw him as he took the money and came running. "We need to go now," is the only thing he said as he turned the corner with his money. It was time to make a break for it. 


Royce, Kimmy, and Jeff ran out of the casino and into the first taxi that came in sight, barely holding onto their chips. A woman rushed out of the establishment after them. 

It turns out it was Royce's boss enjoying her vacation. Seeing that he wanted to spend time with family, he didn't want anything to ruin the moment. "Happy marriage," he said as he handed over all his winnings to Jeff and Kimmy. Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.