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Rony Beal’s visit to Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino seemed like a dream come true when she hit a $2.5 million jackpot on a Wheel of Fortune slot machine. The 72-year-old had prayed for a win, albeit a much smaller one. “I was hoping for $1,000, saying, ‘Please God, let me win,’” Beal told 6abc Action News. Little did she know, her elation would soon turn into a nightmare.

After the slot machine declared a “jackpot,” signaling a life-changing win of $2,555,910, the celebration was cut short by casino security. They informed her that the machine had experienced a “reel tilt” malfunction, invalidating her win and turning her millionaire dreams to dust. Instead of the multimillion-dollar prize, Bally’s offered Beal a paltry $350, which she promptly refused.

Feeling wronged, Beal is now gearing up for a legal battle against the casino. According to nj.com, this wasn’t just a simple game of luck that went sour. Beal had spent hundreds before the machine finally tilted in her favor, awarding her twice the base jackpot of $1,277,955 due to a multiplier effect.

The incident took a darker turn when casino staff allegedly tried to coerce Beal into re-spinning the slot after the win was displayed, a move her attorney, Mike Di Croce, claims was an attempt to tamper with evidence. “They fooled with the machine before anyone else had an opportunity to take a look at this,” Di Croce explained to 6abc. His client’s trust in the fairness of the game was shattered. “You invite somebody to your business, they pay the money [and]they win — you’re supposed to pay. That didn’t happen.”

The day after her disputed win, Beal attempted to resolve the issue directly with Bally’s management but was met with dismissal and was even asked to leave the premises. “She wanted to try to get an explanation and essentially they escorted her out,” Di Croce said, describing the casino’s treatment as particularly harsh for a long-time patron.

Bally’s has since distanced itself from the controversy, pointing to IGT, the machine’s manufacturer and manager, as responsible for the payouts. IGT, however, has remained tight-lipped, only stating that it is “cooperating with the investigation of this matter.”

As the case heads to court, Beal remains devastated by the ordeal, compounded by her fragile health. “She’s a 72-year-old lady who has a heart condition and had a heart attack last year,” her attorney revealed, emphasizing the emotional and physical toll on his client.

This upcoming lawsuit is not unprecedented. In 2000, a similar case against IGT involving a Wheel of Fortune machine at Harrah’s in New Orleans saw the gaming company being forced to pay a $1.3 million jackpot following a jury verdict. As Beal prepares for her legal challenge, she holds onto hope for a resolution that restores her faith in the fairness of both the game and the system.

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