Florida man denied $100,000 jackpot because friend hit button instead

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Imagine winning $100,000 on a slot machine, only to find you are not the actual winner because you let someone else press the button.  It happened to one Florida man.

Maria Navarro took home the $100,000 jackpot – minus taxes – in January during a lucky night of playing video poker at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Fort Lauderdale.

“I never hit such a big jackpot in my life,” she exclaimed.

But she had company that night.  Jan Flato says he actually was the big winner.  The then-friends gambled on Flato’s player’s card, but he was in for a surprise when it was time to collect the winnings.

“Upstairs, the eye in the sky says, ‘She touched the button, so technically, we have to pay her,’” he recalled. “I said, are you kidding me?”

“Jan all of the sudden, went ballistic,” Navarro recounted.  “He started screaming in front of everybody.”

Flato admits he had Navarro hit the button for luck on his $50 bet.  That turned out to be an unlucky move, at least for him.

A statement from Seminole Hard Rock said, in part, “the person who pushes a slot machine button or pulls the arm is the person who wins the jackpot.”

Flato says Navarro took the $100,000.  “I said,” Marina, what are you doing?’ And she gets up and walks out.”

“That same night, he started sending me nasty text messages, threatening me,” Navarro said.

Navarro  showed WSVN-TV the texts, which said, “having me as an enemy…not good” and “well se [sic] who made the big mistake. It won’t be me.”

The rest of the text messages were too vulgar for the station to air.

Navarro said she initially offered some of the winnings, but after the texts, she decided to pull her offer. 

Flato says Navarro texted him, too, asking, “Still hate me?”

It’s a sure bet, based on what he told WSVN, that he is, indeed, still pretty upset.