QUEENS, N.Y. (ABC NEWS) – Call it the $42.9 million dollar selfie. Katrina Bookman flashed her multi-million dollar smile. Behind her, on her slot machine screen, evidence of her mega win.
“I kept thinking about my family,” Bookman said.
Bookman’s voice cracks when she remembers her short-lived joy. She’s used to disappointment. Raised in foster care, homeless as a teen, Katrina raised four kids, who graduated high school, all by herself.
“The struggle I’ve been through, it’s hard to cope,” said Bookman.
She already earmarked the millions, to buy a barber shop for her son and a big chunk she would give back to her community. The apparent jackpot hit was in late August at Resorts World Casino.
It was casino chaos in a video shot by Katrina’s partner after she reported her huge winnings. She was surrounded by customers and casino personnel and security. Escorted off the casino floor, she was told to come back the next day for the decision.
Katrina remembers her next day visit to the casino, “I said what did I win? The casino rep said ‘you didn’t win nothing.’” Katrina says the only winning the casino offered was a steak dinner.
“They win and the house doesn’t want to pay out. To me that’s unfair,” says her attorney, Alan Ripka.
Ripka says, at the very least Katrina should win the maximum allowed on the sphinx machine the casino says is $6,500.
“The machine takes your money when you lose. It ought to pay it when you win,” said Ripka
The New York Gaming Commission says Katrina’s machine malfunctioned. Stated on all machines, “malfunctions void all pays and plays.”
As for Katrina, she still thinks about the minimum she should’ve been awarded the max payout on that machine.
“I feel I should win the max and I will treat him to a steak dinner,” said Bookman.
The State Gaming Commission said it pulled the slot machine immediately after the incident – fixed it – and put it back out on the casino floor where it is today.
ABC NEWS asked whether the casino can award the max payout. The Gaming Commission says by law it can’t do that. She’s only entitled to her winning, just $2.25.
Katrina plans to sue the casino. They can keep that steak dinner on ice for now.