On January 31st, gambler Jan Flato gave money to his friend Marina Medvedeva Navarro at Florida’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Technically, it was Flato who loaded the money into a Double Tap Dollar jackpot casino slots machine that requires $50 for a chance to win the $100,000 jackpot, but it was 35-year-old Navarro who pressed the button, which means – you guessed it – she gets to take the winnings.
Navarro walked out of the casino alone with $50,000 in cash and a check for another $50,000. She even asked the security guards to keep an eye on Flato as she left.
Flato is still angry at her and has sent out a warning to all other slots players, advising them to never let someone else push the button or pull the handle. According to Flato, he wants everyone to know what happened so that they won't repeat his mistake. He added that up to this point, he's never had a problem like that. He added that the two met at the high-roller room at Gulfstream Park in 2015, and since then, they have frequently played slots together.
Navarro, however, has a different version of the story to tell. According to her, she was the one who placed $400 in the machine. After hitting the jackpot, she offered Flato a portion of the win, which he refused to take. She refrained from making any other comments.
Seminole spokesman Gary Bitner said that the rules were created before gambling came to Florida. These are rather simple: whoever pushes the button is the winner of the loot.
Frank Legato, a legal expert on slots cases, emphasized that the rule is universal, elaborating that it's really the act of pressing the spin button that counts as making the wager. According to him, no lawyer would take the case.