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December 22, 2014

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Gaming Board sides with California woman in jackpot dispute

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The state Gaming Control Board has sided with a California woman who claimed she was cheated out of a $112,600 slot jackpot at a Reno casino last year.

The board ruled Thursday that Sylvia Gutierrez, 74, of San Ramon, should be paid, even though the winning symbols didn't line up the way the slot maker said they should.

The decision reverses a field agent's denial of the payment.

Gutierrez hit the disputed jackpot on a Betty Boop-Thrillions nickel slot Sept. 30 at The Sands Regency Hotel Casino.

Hearing examiner Todd Westergard acknowledged the three winning jackpot symbols didn't bisect the payline on the machine. The bottom of the symbols stopped along the payline.

But he cited the need to maintain public trust in gambling in his recommendation to pay Gutierrez.

"Based upon the alignment of (the) symbols Mrs. Gutierrez did achieve, denying her payment of the progressive award for that game would be contrary to promoting the public's trust and confidence that Nevada gaming is conducted fairly," he wrote in a report.

"Absent a malfunction or game tilt event, a patron must be able to rely upon the visual display at the conclusion of the reel-spin to discern the outcome of the game."

Bally Gaming Inc., not the Sands, would be responsible for paying the jackpot because the slot was part of a progressive system that links Thrillions machines statewide to create the big awards.

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