PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Jan Flato put $50 into a video poker machine at Florida’s Seminole Hard Rock Casino, and had his lady friend push the button for good luck.
That turned out to be a most unlucky mistake.
“Upstairs, the eye in the sky says she touched the button, so technically we have to pay her,” said Flato.
Flato’s money and Marina Navarro’s hand won $100,000, but Flato didn’t get a dime.
“I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’” he told casino officials.
His now former friend got all the money.
“The person who pushes the slot machine button or pulls the arm is the person who wins the jackpot,” said the officials at the Florida casino.
But that didn’t sit too well with customers at the Rivers Casino.
“I don’t think that is right. I think you should share. We’re all in this together,” said Starlett Bailey, of Beaver Falls.
“The person who puts the money out, the person who pays to play, he or she should get the winnings,” said Orest Fedorovich, of Monongahela.
But not everyone agrees.
“The person who is sitting and pressing the buttons is the person who should be getting the money,” said Helen Kosarko, of Youngstown.
KDKA’s Jon Delano: “Even if somebody else is paying?”
Kosarko: “Well, that’s the way it goes.”
So what’s the rule here in Pennsylvania?
It turns out that rules in Florida are exactly the same in Pennsylvania.
In fact, in every state.
It’s not the person who puts in the money that counts. It’s the person that presses the button.
“Whoever presses the button wins the wager,” says Bud Green, the assistant general manager of the Rivers Casino.
Green says, legally, there really is no bet until the button is pressed.
“You put your money into a machine and nothing happens, there is no wager. But whoever comes and hits that button, the wager actually happens,” Green said.
Maybe the lesson here is – when you’re paying; know who you’re letting push the button.