The New York State Gaming Commission said that Bookman's machine had malfunctioned. The machine, like all the ones in the casino, has a disclaimer stating, "Malfunctions void all pays and plays."
Instead, the casino offered Bookman a complimentary steak dinner.
"All I could think about was my family," Bookman told WABC, her voice breaking. She grew up in foster care and raised 4 children as a single mother.
Katrina Bookman and a slot machine screen displaying what she thought were her winnings.
"They win, and now the house doesn't want to pay out. To me that's unfair," says Bookman's attorney, Alan Ripka. He's fighting for the casino to pay Bookman the maximum amount allowed by the Sphinx slot machine -- $6,500.
"The machine takes the money when you lose. It ought to pay it when you win," Ripka said.
Resorts World spokesman Dan Bank told CNN: "Upon being notified of the situation, casino personnel were able to determine that the figure displayed on the penny slot was the result of an obvious malfunction -- a fact later confirmed by the New York State Gaming Commission.
"After explaining the circumstances to Ms. Bookman, we offered to pay her the correct amount that was shown on the printed ticket. Machine malfunctions are rare, and we would like to extend our apologies to Ms. Bookman for any inconvenience this may have caused."
The casino couldn't send a portion of its revenue to a New York state education fund, as mandated by law, if had to pay out massive jackpots like the one displayed on Bookman's machine, Bank said. In five years, the casino has generated more than $1.6 billion for the fund, he said.
But Bookman remains frustrated.
"I should win the max. And I feel like I should treat him (the casino employee) to a steak dinner," she said.