When the Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati held a $1 million drawing for customers on a Saturday night, the house was packed. The drawing was televised and plenty of local media were on hand to catch a glimpse of the winner. The announcer drew the winning name and said:
“Our next millionaire from Cincinnati is: Kevin Lewis!”
You Win! No, Wait, YOU Win!
It was the moment of a lifetime for Kevin Lewis, who was in attendance that night. He was there with his fiancée, and the two began to celebrate, collecting the giant check and accepting the adulations of the adoring crowd.
And that’s about when the casino realized they had a major problem on their hands.
Kevin Lewis, as it turns out, isn’t exactly a rare name. And while one Kevin Lewis was in the crowd at the casino, another one was watching on television, waiting to see if he’d win the drawing. And as it turned out, it was the Kevin Lewis at home who was the real winner – not the one at the casino.
Once the presenters realized that they were awarding the prize to the wrong man, they conferred with casino officials in order to make a decision on what to do. There were certainly plenty of options available to them: only the rightful winner “deserved” the money, and many such mistakes are resolved by giving the unfortunate and incorrect “winner” a token prize or nothing at all.
But the Horseshoe decided to take another approach. Rather than make the men worry about which one would ultimately receive the prize, they simply awarded two million dollar prizes instead: one to each Kevin Lewis who had taken part in the contest.
“This was our blunder,” said casino general manager Kevin Kline in a statement. “So consistent with our commitment to do the right thing for our guests, Horseshoe awarded a $1 million prize to each of the men.”
The “correct” Kevin Lewis hasn’t had much comment on the situation, and his prize money was never really in doubt. But the Lewis who showed up at the casino that night is grateful that luck was on his side.
“When I heard my name I said, ‘God finally gave me a big win,’” Lewis told local television station WCPO. He later attributed his win to simply “being in the right place at the right time.”
Six Degrees of Separation
Incredibly, the two winners have a lot in common. Not only do they share a name and play at the same casino, but they both live in the city of Cincinnati, are both in their 50s, and are both engaged to be married – making the mix-up even more bizarre.
One of the chief reasons for a casino being so generous in a situation such as this one is certainly to generate some good PR, and the Horseshoe is the big winner on that account. On social media sites like Facebook, the Horseshoe’s page has been flooded with messages praising their decision, with most customers seeing it as a classy move by a business that was under no obligation to give out the additional money.