On the evening of January 31, 2017, Jan Flato and his girlfriend Marina Medvedeva Navarro met at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino near Fort Lauderdale. They headed to the high betting room to play the Double Top Dollar slot. What followed provoked controversy and divided opinions.
According to Flato, he inserted his player card into the machine and spent $ 50 on a spin for a jackpot hit. While Flato paid for the spin, Navarro pressed the spin button for luck. When the reels hit the $ 100,000 jackpot, Flato naturally felt he was a winner.
They checked the video of the jackpot winning spin and identified that Navarro started the spin, making it the winner. He was given $ 50,000 in cash and the other half of the money as a check. He then left the casino, asking security personnel to follow Flato as he walked. She did not share any jackpot winnings with her boyfriend, who had actually paid for the spin.
Flato’s warning to players
Jan Flato shared his story with the Miami Herald, to warn other players. In his opinion, as he had paid the spin, he should have been awarded the jackpot. However, a casino spokesman explained that the person who presses the button or pulls the lever is technically the person who made the bet and won the jackpot.
According to Flato, players are unlikely to be aware. However, industry experts have confirmed that the rule is universal when it comes to slots. Frank Legato, who appeared as an expert on slot cases, confirmed that “Pressing the rotary knob is really the act of betting”. Flato also explained that he was not able to fight against the decision, as he could not find a lawyer who would agree to take the case.
The other side of the story
The version of events Marina Medvedeva Navarro sheds a different light on the story. Following Flato’s interview, Navarro also spoke to the same newspaper to give an account of what had happened. She confirmed that they became friends in 2015 while playing high-stakes casino games in Gulfstream Park and headed to the high-roll room at Hard Rock Casino on January 31st. The rest of her account that evening varies significantly, compared to Flato’s.
She claims that it was, in fact, her money that was wagered, after they brought their winnings from a smaller jackpot into the slot machine. However, he introduced Flato’s club card so that he could get the completion points and additional benefits he would entail. She went on to say that Flato was usually aware that the one who pressed the button was the winner. In fact, she explained that when they played Video Poker at Gulfstream, he would ask her to put her fingers on him for luck, because that would mean that any jackpot would remain his legal.
Navarro explained that he intended to give some of Flato’s earnings, but his behavior changed the decision. She described how she went “ballistic” when she was awarded the prize and therefore asked the security guards to escort her. Navarro said Flato sent him threatening and insulting messages, which he did not deny.
She also received an avalanche of hateful comments on her Facebook page, as well as phone calls from angry players who somehow got their hands on her number. She was also contacted by several television stations about the story . Despite being described as a professional, married mother, Navarro was portrayed as a gold digger and a thief of free morals.
The universal and moral rule of the story
Regardless of the version of events, the fact remains the same. It doesn’t matter who pays for the spin, it is ultimately the person who presses the winning button. In this case, Marina Medvedeva Navarro was the winner, and Jan Flato learned an expensive lesson when he asked his friend to hit the thorn for luck. Although it is not one of the biggest gambling losses of all time, it is still more than enough to really sting.
Navarro caused outrage among the players because he did not share the jackpot. However, you have to wonder how much her decision and Flato’sbehavior reacted.
Jackpotgate highlights the casino’s lesser-known winnings rules and acts as a cautionary tale for players. Next time you play a slot machine, either make sure you really trust the person you are with, or just press the button!