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$43 Million Tease

A 60-year-old woman from Waikouaiti, New Zealand, was given the surprise of her life just before Christmas when she was more than $42 million on a poker machine.

Verna Brown, a mental health worker, sat for the first time at the Sport of Emperors poker machine in the Law Courts Hotel and put $14 into the machine. In less than 10 minutes, she was given a check for $42,959,187.29 and was offered a proposal of marriage from a fellow poker player.

Brown said, “I couldn't believe it. I was just sitting there and watching it go up and up until it stopped at $42 million. I went up to the bar and said `I just won $42 million' - I think the bar lady thought that I had had a few."

When hearing the news Eric Olsen, co-owner of the Law Courts Hotel and Casino, said, “When I saw it I thought I would have to sell the hotel and mortgage myself for 200 years.” However the machine was displaying a malfunction light and a technician was called in to look at the machine. "The technician has serviced machines for 15 years and he has never seen anything like this happen before," he added.

Eventually, after two and a half weeks and a trip to Japan for some of the machine’s parts, it was eventually established that Vera Brown had won $500 from a jackpot. However she was still presented with a mock $42 million check despite missing out on the earth-shattering amount, Brown still says she is happy with her $500.

She said, "It has been a bit of a rough year . . . but now I think my luck has changed."
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