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Gaming regulators award $1M in slot jackpot dispute

The Mississippi Gaming Commission has agreed with a Biloxi woman that she won $1 million on a slot machine at the IP casino.

The three-member commission sided Thursday with Florida Eash.

The IP casino argued Eash was only owed $8,000 — the top winning amount showed on the machine’s sign. The casino said a technician for International Game Technology mistakenly programmed the slot machine to be a stand-alone progressive.

The $5 Double Top Dollar machine notified Eash on Feb. 19, 2006, that she had won $1 million and sent a signal to the casino’s slot accounting system indicating a progressive jackpot was pending.

Gaming Commission agents and agency executive director Larry Gregory agreed with Eash, a real estate agent, but they were overruled by a hearing examiner. Eash appealed to the full Gaming Commission.

The commission reversed the examiner’s decision after reviewing a transcript from the hearing.

“The examiner is somewhat restricted on the latitude she has in regard to exercising judgment and rendering decisions,” said commission chairman Jerry St. Pe said. “She is more restricted in terms of legal elements.

“The commission, on the other hand, by virtue of the gaming statutes and our own regulations has much broader latitude. Included in that responsibility is to ensure that decisions we make are consistent with the law, consistent with our regulations, but as important, exercise the responsibility of the commission to ensure fairness in our decisions and the perception of fairness,” he said.