A man has lost a poker machine jackpot in the US after letting his friend touch the button
A man has lost a poker machine jackpot in the US after letting his friend touch the button Bev Lacey

'Don't let anyone touch the button': Man loses pokie jackpot

DON'T let anyone push your buttons.

That's the new mantra of gambler Jan Flato, who lost out on a $A133,000 gaming machine jackpot because he let a friend do the honours, 7 News Boston reported.

Flato, 66, was feeding cash into the $50-a-spin Double Top Dollar machine at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Fort Lauderdale on January 31.

At one point, he let his friend Marina Navarro push the button "for good luck".

And she was the charm.

The machine's bells and whistles went off, and Flato assumed he was the one in the money.

Wrong, said casino officials who reviewed surveillance footage to confirm which one had the Midas touch - it was Navarro, 35.

"The person who pushes a slot machine button or pulls the arm is the person who wins the jackpot," said Seminole spokesman Gary Bitner, the site reported.

And Flato lost not only the jackpot, but his friend too, he said.

Navarro reportedly asked armed security to keep an eye on him as she walked away with her big payout.

"I said, 'Marina, what are you doing?' and she gets up and walks out," Flato said.

The experienced gambler said he met Navarro at a high-roller room at Gulfstream Park in 2015.

"I want everybody to know what happened so it won't happen to them," he said.

"I've played slots all over the country and never had a problem like that. Even the people handing out the money said, 'This isn't right'."

Flato claims, Navarro texted him: "Still hate me?" a few weeks later.

He responded, "How could you do that to me?"

The furious Flato offered up this tip to fellow gaming machine players: "Don't ever let them touch the button, don't even tell them to touch anything for luck, because they can do what Marina did to me."

Global Gaming Business magazine editor Frank Legato, who has testified as a legal expert in slots cases, said the rule was universal.

"Pressing the spin button is really the act of making the wager," he said.

Lawyers appear to agree, Flato said.

"No one would take the case," Flato said. "That jackpot money is long gone."

Navarro told the Miami Herald a different version of the events. She said she had placed $400 in the machine, and offered to give Flato a portion of the win, but claims that after receiving allegedly threatening texts, all bets were off.

News Corp Australia


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