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Md. man hits slot machine for $239,893

June 07, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Sandy Spring, Md., man landed a record jackpot at the Charles Town Races Monday night when he won $239,893 on a video lottery machine at the thoroughbred track.

Al Napolitano won the jackpot on a progressive video lottery machine, where a percentage of each credit played on the machine goes into a shared jackpot.

About 2 percent of every 75 cent credit played on the machines goes into the jackpot, and there are 16 progressive video lottery games, said Ted Schieffer, director of gaming operations at the track.

Napolitano, an insurance agent, was playing keno in the downstairs level of the track when he decided to go upstairs and try his luck on the progressive machines.

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He put $40 into one of the progressive machines and began playing. Then he put $20 into the machine next to him and started playing both machines.

Napolitano said he had played about 30 credits on the first machine when three treasure chests lined up on the machine - the jackpot combination.

Bells on the machine rang, and an electronic sign hanging above the 16 linked machines flashed the news of the $239,893 jackpot.

Another message popped up on the winning machine that read "game suspended."

"I was pretty sure I hit it then," said Napolitano.

Napolitano requested that a cocktail waitress find his wife. Annie Napolitano said she was worried her husband had become ill. When she made it back to her husband, she realized something big had happened.

"I tell you, last Monday was the best Monday I ever had," Napolitano said.

Track management installed the progressive video lottery machines a little more than a year ago. Since then there has been a $38,000 jackpot, a $78,000 jackpot and several smaller ones, Schieffer said.

Napolitano and his wife have been regular patrons at the track for about three years, coming to the oval sometimes two or three times a week. He said a gambler has to spend a lot of money for a chance at winning a jackpot like his, adding that he once walked from the track after spending $3,000 in an attempt to win big.

Napolitano said he never worried about spending that much money, figuring he would "get it back next time."

Napolitano said he plans to use the money to finish work on a swimming pool he is building at his house. His house is also about 13 years old and in need of some repairs, he said.

Federal and state taxes will take close to half the winnings, Napolitano said.

"It's basically going to make my life more comfortable," he said.

Monday's jackpot had been building for about six months, said Schieffer.

The track has 935 video lottery machines and 565 slot machines.

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