|Posted: April 20, 2006, 8:09 am - IP Logged|
I hope she chooses cash !! Congrats !!!!!
Widow, 84, Wins Record $10M Slot Jackpot Associated Press Writer
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — For 84-year-old Josephine Crawford, the golden years just got a lot more golden. About to call it quits after a night playing slot machines, the Galloway Township widow hit a $10 million jackpot late Tuesday, the biggest in the history of casino gambling here.
The retired waitress knew when the nickel slot machine's bells went off that she'd won something but didn't know what. When a slot attendant at Harrah's Atlantic City casino told her it was $10,010,113.48, she didn't believe him.
Josephine Crawford, 84, of Galloway Township, N.J., talks to reporters Wednesday, April 19, 2006, at Harrah's Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. Crawford made Atlantic City casino history Tuesday when she won more than $10 million on Megabucks, a progressive slot machine linked to hundreds of others in Atlantic City's 12 casinos. She is standing in front of the winning machine. (AP Photo/Jose F. Moreno)
"I said, 'Oh, come on.' But he just stood there and I figured, why is he staying there?" she said Wednesday.
Crawford, who has been gambling in Atlantic City casinos since the first one opened in 1978, had never won more than $1,000 at a time before. She still hadn't decided Wednesday whether to take the money in a 25-year annuity or in a lump-sum payment of more than $5.5 million, but she has 21 days to make that call.
Either way, she's not planning a spending spree.
Crawford, a petite, gray-haired great-grandmother, lives with her daughter, drives a 2006 Honda Civic and has no plans to buy a new car or a new house. But she's always wanted to see Italy, where her parents grew up, and she wants to share the wealth with her two daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
"Somehow, I'll spend it. I'll spend it at the casino, and I might go to Vegas," said Crawford, who spent 27 years waiting on tables before retiring in 1992.
The jackpot was won on Megabucks, a progressive slot machine linked to hundreds of others in Atlantic City's 12 casinos. With progressive slot machines, a portion of each bet goes toward the citywide jackpots, which start at $1 million.
The previous biggest Atlantic City jackpot was $8.5 million in 1994.
Crawford, who gambles in Atlantic City casinos twice a week, had never won more than $1,000 before.
She was playing alongside granddaughter Alicia Weeks, 27, when they tried to find an open Wheel of Fortune machine. They couldn't, and were headed to their hotel room when Weeks saw the red numbers on a Megabucks machine's jackpot marquee blinking $10 million. She suggested they try it.
"She said, `Oh, that's a nickel machine. I don't want to play,'" the granddaughter recalled.
But they did. After spending about $20 with no luck, Weeks suggested they move on. Crawford said no, she wanted to play $20 more. She was down to her last $5 in credits when she hit.
"I'm just happy I won it, for my family — although they don't need any help," said Crawford, who celebrated with family members in a dinner at the casino. She had one glass of wine.
It didn't take long for word of her luck to spread. Three men proposed to her after she won.
"Their wives were there, too!" said Crawford. "One of them told me, 'You can have him.'"