A 90-year-old grandmother will not receive the $41 million jackpot she thought she won at an Iowa slot machine after the state supreme court ruled her wining pull was caused by a software error.
Pauline McKee thought she hit it big in 2011 when, after putting a penny in the ‘Miss Kitty’ game at the Isle Hotel Casino in Waterloo, the screen announced she had won a bonus award of $41,797,550.16.
But on Friday the Iowa Supreme Court determined McKee, who has thirteen grandchildren, had actually only won $1.85 because of how the symbols had aligned in the game.
The unanimous court ruled that the casino did not have to pay McKee because the game’s rules stated that the maximum award was $10,000 and that bonus awards were not allowed.
Stacey Cormican, one of the casino’s attorneys, said the court’s decision will ensure fairness in Iowa’s large gambling industry.
‘Casinos are required to post rules and follow those rules. If either the patrons or casinos could change the rules in the middle of the game, it would be absolutely chaos,’ she said.
Cormican said the casino could have been forced into bankruptcy if the court had ruled in McKee’s favor. A $41 million payout would amount to about half of the gross revenue the casino generated last year.
McKee, a widow, was playing the penny slots with her daughter during a family reunion when she thought she won the life-changing bonus.
Casino officials investigated the machine after she informed an attendant that she had won the jackpot.