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Tommy Wilson is the name of the 74-year-old player from Las Cruces who claims he won a jackpot of $542,000 on a slot machine at the casino owned by Pueblo of San Felipe on February 25. 

However, what should have been one of the happiest days of his life for the unemployed veteran turned into a stressful event, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The newspaper revealed that the Black Mesa Casino invoked a system glitch in the slot machine that apparently rendered the player’s win illegitimate.  

The Player Spent $100 on the Buffalo-Themed Slot

On the controversial day, the player placed bets that totaled around $100 on the buffalo-themed slot game that brought him the big win in five or six minutes’ time. Or so he thought. Shortly after the slot machine announced the big jackpot, it shut down out of the blue. 

The players who witnessed what had happened started congratulating the player on his win, but this did not convince casino management that there was an actual win to begin with. After they completed the necessary diagnostics on the slot machine, they explained to Wilson that his win was not a legitimate one. The casino argued they came across a “digital or electronic glitch” and, accordingly, decided not to pay him. 

Wilson was informed by a casino employee of the possibility of filing a complaint with the Black Mesa Casino gaming commission. The latter is an independent body that is not related to the state regulator, which is the Gaming Control Board. The board is responsible for monitoring compliance of the gaming tribes in the state under the approval of tribal or state gaming compacts.

Too “Perturbed” to File the Complaint

Wilson claimed he was too perturbed to file a complaint on the spot. He also failed to take any photos of the winning slot screen or write down the names of the other players who had witnessed what had happened. 

Instead of following the complaint filing procedure, he went to Denver where he was scheduled for a job interview. Later that week, he returned to the Black Mesa Casino, determined this time to file the complaint and ask for his jackpot.

After the casino asked for his phone number and email address, he decided to try his luck on the slots once more. He won twice within 30 minutes on the same machine that had originally brought him the huge jackpot the previous week.

Wilson recalled the game had a lion/African theme in place and that it was most likely called Kings of Africa. He scored a win of $1,226 and another one of $1,446. In spite of his good fortune, the player who is still jobless and who recently underwent a triple bypass surgery is still looking for justice, stating “justice will come in the form of karma.” 

Wilson added he would be even willing to accept a $50,000 payment as an apology from the casino. However, the player who actively served in the US Air Force was offered “nothing” by the casino that runs a promotion that gives away a $10 free play bonus on Wednesdays to army veterans and active-duty service people. 

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