New Mexico Casino Refuses to Pay $542K Slots Jackpot Due to Alleged Glitch

Posted on: March 7, 2023, 01:54h. 

Last updated on: March 7, 2023, 05:07h.

Management at Algodones, N.M.’s Black Mesa Casino told an unemployed veteran that it won’t pay him the $542K he says he won last month on a slot machine.

Algodones, N.M.’s Black Mesa Casino sign
Algodones, N.M.’s Black Mesa Casino sign, pictured above. A player and the casino got into a dispute over a $542K slot win. (Image: Santa Fe New Mexican)

Tommy Wilson, 74, of Las Cruces, N.M., said he hit the jackpot on February 25, the Albuquerque Journal newspaper reported this week. But the casino claims the win was due to a glitch in the machine.

On the day he won, bells went off, the machine shut itself off, and other players congratulated him on the jackpot, according to reports. Wilson says he was on the buffalo-themed slot for about five or six minutes and spent about $100 before it alerted him he had won.

But a casino manager said there was no win.

They did their diagnostics, whatever that is, and said ‘this is not a legitimate win,’ that there was some kind of digital or electronic glitch, so they didn’t pay anything. Zero,” Wilson told the Journal.

A Black Mesa employee told him he could file a complaint with the casino’s gaming commission, which Wilson later found out is separate from the state regulator, the New Mexico Gaming Control Board.

“I didn’t file anything at that time because I was so perturbed,” Wilson told the Journal.

He didn’t photograph the winning slot screen, nor did he get the names of the witnesses, the newspaper added.

Returning a Winner

Instead of filing an initial report, Wilson drove to Denver for a job interview. He returned to the casino a few days later and filed a complaint.

While there, he decided to play the slots again. He was lucky on a machine again, winning twice within about a half hour. His first payout totaled $1,226—the second, $1,446.

But Wilson is waiting for his entire payout, which he says includes the initial big win. Wilson says he could use the cash. He’s unemployed and recently had triple bypass surgery.

Wilson is also willing to take a lower payout than his original win and would even accept a payment of $50,000.

You know, if they said, ‘Mr. Wilson, we’re sorry that this happened and we would like to offer you $50,000 as an apology,’ that would have been fine. Instead, they offered me nothing, and that’s not fine, that’s not OK,” he said.

Wilson spent much of his career making dental prosthetics. Wilson previously served in the US Air Force. The casino’s promotion gives active-duty service people and veterans $10 in free play on Wednesdays.

The San Felipe Pueblo tribe operates the casino. It’s about 32 miles north of Albuquerque.