Illinois Grandma Doesn't Take Home $42 Million

Apr 24, 2015

An Illinois grandmother will not be taking home almost $42 million from a Waterloo casino. Isle of Capri Casinos says Pauline McKee’s big win was due to an equipment malfunction.

The Iowa Supreme Court sided with the company.

On July 2, 2011 Pauline McKee of Antioch, Illinois was visiting northeast Iowa for a family reunion. Some of the family was staying at the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo and at about 9:00 pm the  87-year-old woman and her daughters went to the gaming floor.

McKee played the Miss Kitty penny slot machine, which had an advertised maximum prize of $10,000. But on a lucky turn McKee won a "bonus award" of $41,797,500.16.

Isle of Capri Casinos said a software malfunction caused the award. The gaming company said since the rules of the game did not include a "bonus" it would not pay McKee $42 million. 

The slot machine’s manufacturer had notified the casino of the possibility of a multi-million-dollar error. McKee argued since the casino didn’t fix the game, she should get the money.

The state's high court ruled there was no breach of contract or consumer fraud, and that the maximum amount McKee had won was $1.85, not $42 million.