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Morris woman wins record $1.3M at online slots

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Morris woman wins record $1.3M at online slots

Post by jock2007 on Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:01 am

Morris woman wins record $1.3M at online slots



Morris County resident Cathy Ruela holds a ceremonial check at Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City after winning more than $1.3 million playing a Harrah’s online slot game at her home on Nov. 6.

A Morris County woman has claimed New Jersey's largest-ever online gambling payout — more than $1.3 million — since regulated online gaming went live in the Garden State nearly one year ago.

Playing at home in her pajamas, Cathy Ruela was playing the "Millionaire Genie" slot game at Harrahscasino.com late on the night of Nov. 6 when she hit a randomly awarded payout after her 15-line bet unlocked the "Genie's Treasure Chest" and made her a millionaire.

The actual payout figure — which was too large to fit in the online jackpot display — was $1,334,641.

"I'd always play $20 here, $20 there," she told the Associated Press. "I was betting and betting, and all of a sudden I hit the jackpot. It was pretty amazing. It was late at night. I was trying to read the decimal point, but the number was too big to fit. I called my husband and said, 'What does 1, 3, 3, 4, 6, 4, 1 mean?' He said, 'You won more than a million dollars.' "

The jackpot from the virtual one-armed bandit represents the first seven-figure win for an online player in the state of New Jersey, where online gaming went live on Nov. 26, 2013. It also ranks as the third-largest gaming prize awarded to a player in New Jersey this year, including land-based casinos and online.

Online gambling was hoped to help struggling casinos in Atlantic City gain new customers and revenue, but growth has been slow, bringing in only $100 million, or 10 percent, of the $1 billion state officials expected in its first year.

Ruela said she started playing at HarrahsCasino.com in February.

"I was just in a little bit of shock when it hit," Ruela said. "You know when I'm at Harrah's Atlantic City, there's bells ringing and people all come over, and it gets verified by a staffer right there. So when it hit on HarrahsCasino.com, I stared at the computer screen for a moment trying to digest it all. But I'm happy to report it indeed is the same as in the physical casino, and even better I got to celebrate in my pajamas at home."

Her family will use the money to pay off their mortgage, set up a college fund for their son and go on a winter vacation.

"It's going to be a great Christmas for our family," she said.

"It's an awesome feeling to give away life-changing money to our customers," said HarrahsCasino.com Vice President Adrian Bailey. "New Jersey has a great history with gaming and we're thrilled for Cathy to have HarrahsCasino.com be part of this historical first for the regulated online gaming in the United States."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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