When Jan Flato let his friend, Marina Medvedeva Navarro, push the spin button for him, he never thought that the they’d win a $100,000 jackpot together. But they did, and Navarro is the only one reaping the benefits.
The pair visited Florida’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino together, when Flato asked Navarro to make the honorary first spin for him on Double Tap Dollar slot. Immediately afterward, the lights flashed and the payout box showed $100,000.
Seminole Hard Rock managers checked video surveillance and found that Navarro had pushed the button. Based on casino policy, she was declared the winner of the prize.
Flato watched his 35-year-old friend walk out with a $50,000 check and another $50,000 in cash. To add insult to injury, she asked security to watch Flato as she left.
According to the Miami Herald, she sent Flato a text message saying, “Still hate me?”
He responded, “How could you do that to me?”
Her response: “I miss you.”
Flato is an experienced gambler who lived in Las Vegas, prior to moving to Aventura, FL to take care of his 88-year-old mother. And he’s understandably angry that his friend wasn’t willing to share the winnings with him.
“I want everybody to know what happened so it won’t happen to them,” said Flato. “I’ve played slots all over the country and never had a problem like that. Even the people handing out the money said, ‘This isn’t right.’”
Flato and Navarro were sitting at the Double Top Dollar machine, which requires bettors to spend $50 to qualify for the $100,000 jackpot. The pair frequently played slots together, as they were doing on this occasion in Hard Rock’s high-roller room.
“Push the button for good luck” Flato says after feeding the machine money.
Navarro has a different version of the evening, saying that she put $400 into the machine, then offered to give Flato part of the money after winning.
Seminole spokesman Gary Bitner wouldn’t comment on the gamblers because this information is kept private. However, he did say that traditional Florida gambling rules state that the button-pusher is the winner.
Frank Legato, editor of Global Gaming Business magazine, agreed with this assertion. “Pressing the spin button is really the act of making the wager,” said Legato.
Lawyers must agree too because Flato is unable to find anybody to represent him in court.
“No one would take the case. That jackpot money is long gone,” he explained.