Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)


Lucky Mesa Resident Hits Jackpot for more than $5 Million


SALT RIVER PIMA-MARICOPA INDIAN COMMUNITY, Ariz. (April 19, 2012) — A Mesa resident, Gerald Allen Phillips Jr., 51, won $5,707,069 after hitting the top Wheel of Fortune™ at Casino Arizona located on Loop 101 and McKellips Road on April 13. The lucrative jackpot is among the biggest given over the course of Casino Arizona’s more than 10-year history.

“All of our players come to Casino Arizona with the hopes of winning the big jackpot. It is so rewarding to see that dream come true for a really deserving player,” said David Chavez, director of slot operations at Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort.

Phillips, who was playing for the first time at Casino Arizona in more than a year, had put $60 in the lucky 25-cent machine at the time of the win. According to Phillips, “I had been playing the machine next to it and kept hitting, but my wife wanted me home. As I got up and was ready to leave, I put in my last $60. Then the bells and light went off and I was freaked out.”

Thinking, he had first won $100,000, Phillips found out his true win when he saw all of managers and pit bosses rush to his side. “I was so nervous, I almost passed out when I saw all the people,” said Philips. In fact, he wasn’t the only person ‘freaked out’ by the jackpot. After learning of the amount he had won, Phillips immediately called his wife who hung up on him in disbelief. It wasn’t until he had one of the casino’s managers call her back that she actually believed the news about the win.

When asked about his plans for money, Phillips said, “I’m going to buy a nice new truck, which has always been a dream of mine, but we are still going to be the same penny-pinchers we’ve always been. We want to buy a little house and then invest so the money can work for us.”

Casino Arizona is part of a Native American progressive gaming network, which includes 20 casinos statewide. Each time a coin is played in a linked machine, anywhere in the network, the jackpot accumulates until a winner hits the top jackpot award. The Wheel of Fortune™ progressive machines are among the most popular among guests, featuring an exciting bonus spin.


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