- Thanks to reader Case for sending this one along. If you missed it, PhiladelphiaPark Casino has agreed to pay customer Stephen Wilkinson the $102,000 jackpot that he won at the slots. Or, at least the one he'd thought he won.
Last Monday, Wilkinson was wagering two quarters at a time on a Wheel of Fortune machine when the video monitor flashed a message that he had won the $102,000.But in the end, the bad publicity garnered when the story was picked up nationally by the AP outweighed the payoff, and the casino relented.
But employees at the Bensalem racetrack casino told him it was a mistake - a malfunction, they said, of the in-house computer system the casino uses for cash prizes and promotions. The slot machine itself was not faulty.
After apologizing, the casino offered Wilkinson two complimentary tickets for the buffet, which he dismissed as a not-funny joke.
Wilkinson filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Casino Control Board and said he would hold out for the $102,000. Gaming-industry experts nationally said it would have been hard under casino regulations in most states for Wilkinson to force PhiladelphiaPark to pay for a mistake. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Now, $102,000 may seem like a small fortune for the retired carpenter, but to a jockey recovering from a crippling spill, it doesn't go very far. As you may know, Philly Park has, at $100,000, what is believed to be by far the lowest on-track insurance limit of any major track. So I was heartened to read on Bloodhorse.com last week that former jockey Robert Colton has stepped in, and reported to have made progress with track management. Colton is now the head of the Delaware Jockey Association, and he was instrumental in getting Delaware Park riders $1 million in coverage, plus much more.
“The jockeys at Delaware Park have a full-blown benefits package,” Colton said. “As far as I know, they are the only jockeys in America to have that. They have a personal health plan that offers short- and long-term disability, non-occupational coverage, as well as a safety committee that meets every month. We currently have about $425,000 to $450,000 in health benefits that I manage.With the slots money flowing, there's no excuse for Philly Park to resist a trend that most other major tracks have followed. Especially when they can give away $102,000 just to avoid some bad press.
“What we are trying to negotiate at Philadelphia Park goes well beyond on-track insurance as well. I can’t comment on the specifics at this point, however.”
- And the Philly area's latest Derby hopeful, the unbeaten Hard Spun, will remain at Oaklawn to complete his preparation for a hoped-for trip to the Derby.
- Feel free to email me with any links, comments, or suggestions.