Man loses $100,000 on slot because ‘he didn’t push the button’

  • Professional gamblerlost a $100k slot jackpot ‘because friend pushed button’
  • Jan Flato claims he wagered the money, but it was his acquaintance who walked away with the cash
  • Friend denies Flato’s version of events, and casino says it played by usual rules

Spare a thought for Jan Flato next time you find yourself at the slots. The Miami Herald this week ran a story on the gambler who thought he had won it big on the Double Top Dollar slots when he saw the payline showing the $100,000 jackpot.

Jan Flato loses slot jackpot
Jan Flato, a professional gambler, claims he has missed out on his $100,000 jackpot thanks to the actions of his friend. She disputes this.

Claim she took the money and left

Flato was going about his business at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when he thought he had scooped the money. The bells rang and the lights flashed, crucially however Flato did not pushed the button which had set the slot reels in motion. Once security had checked their surveillance footage, they determined that Flato’s friend Marina Navarro was the one who pushed the button, meaning she was entitled to the jackpot.

Navarro promptly walked out of the casino with a check for $50,000 and another $50,000 in cash, leaving Flato counting his losses. In fact, she even instructed security to keep an eye on Flato as she was leaving.

‘Still hate me?’

Jan Flato didn’t hear from his ‘friend’ for several weeks after the incident until she allegedly sent him a text that simply read ‘still hate me?’, Flato responded by asking how she could have done that to him, all he got in reply was another three words, this time they read ‘I miss you’, it is claimed.

‘This isn’t right’

Flato wants to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to other slot players, stating that people shouldn’t let anyone else pull the handle or push the button. If you’re putting the money into the slot, make sure you’re the one in full control of the machine, is the advice. He stated that he first met Navarro in 2015 and stated that in all his years playing slots across the country, he has ‘never’ had a similar problem. He also said that even the people who were handing out the money were saying ‘this isn’t right’.

Push for good luck

Flato told the Miami Herald that he had been feeding the machine cash which requires $50 per spin if players want a chance of winning the $100,000 jackpot. He then met up with Navarro, a fellow slots player, before they headed to the high roller room together where he continued to put cash into the machine. He then told Navarro to ‘push the button for good luck’, and that’s when the jackpot was won.

Navarro was also contacted by the Herald and put forward a different version of events, stating that she had put $400 into the machine and that she offered Flato a percentage of the win, only for him to turn her offer down.

No case

Seminole casino spokesman Gary Bitner told the Miami Herald that they would not comment on the case, other than to say that they follow the standard rule that the person making the spin is entitled to the winnings.

Whichever version of events you believe, one thing is for sure: Flato isn’t going to see any of the $100k winnings. He turned to the legal system to try and get some help, but not one single lawyer would take his case. That’s because there is a universal rule in place which states that the action of pressing the button is the wager being placed. So whoever pushes the button is the person who made the bet, meaning that person and that person alone is entitled to the winnings.


We can’t be sure of the exact version of events here, but for the benefit of avoiding confusion, if you wager the money on a slot, it is probably best if you also make the spin.

It is a curious case, and one that may certainly make players think twice before relying on ‘lady luck’ – whatever the true facts of this strange incident.

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