A friendship goes sour after this highly unusual incident at a casino in Florida.
Jan Flato, age 66, and his friend Marina Navarro, age 35, went to Florida’s Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Fort Lauderdale. Jan was playing slots but wasn’t getting any wins with his $50 bets, so he asked his friend Marina to push the button for him to see if she could help change his luck.
And it sure did! The slot machine lit up with a whopping $100,000 pay line jackpot!
So what went wrong for Jan? Strange enough, it was Marina who got the money.
The casino managers, upon viewing the surveillance footage of the incident, claimed that since it was Marina who pushed the button, then the jackpot is actually hers.
Of course, this revelation didn’t go too well for the two friends – Marina was gone with the money and Jan was left wondering what the heck just happened.
Jan stated during an interview, “I said, 'Marina, what are you doing?' and she gets up and walks out.
If you are in Marina’s shoes, when fate puts $100,000 cash in your lap, you don’t stick around very long.
After the incident, Jan says Marina ignored his texts and calls; thus really proving that friendship is free until there’s hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake.
On her side, Marina told the media that she was prepared to share with him some of the winnings until he sent her threatening text messages saying “having [him] as an enemy” was “not good.”
Also, Marina has a different version of the story. She claims she put $400 in the machine and offered Jan a portion of the jackpot, but he didn’t take it. She left the casino that night with a $50,000 check and the other $50,000 in cash.
After that decision, she said, “Jan all of a sudden went ballistic. He started screaming in front of everybody.”
On the other hand, Jan is telling everyone his experience as a cautionary tale for other slot gamblers, “I want everybody to know what happened so it won’t happen to them. Don’t ever let them touch the button, don’t even tell them to touch anything for luck, because they can do what Marina did to me. 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.’”
Global Gaming Business magazine editor Frank Legato said the policy that cost Jan his money is “universal”. Even if he wanted to contest the ruling, it looks like Jan doesn’t have any legal options.
Jan said, “No one would take the case. That jackpot money is long gone.”
Bud Green, assistant general manager of Rivers Casino says, “When you put your money in the machine there is no wager, but whoever hits the button the wager actually happens.”
The tacit rule extends to casinos across the nation — that whoever pulls it, wins it.
As for Jan and Marina, they are now described as “former friends.”