Woman Files Suit, Roasts MGM Grand Detroit for Refusing $127k Jackpot

  • Casino refused Denise Ezell her jackpot, citing a 2015 trespassing charge for panhandling
  • Ezell said MGM got the incident wrong, that she didn’t know “what the hell panhandling was”
  • Detroiter hit the progressive blackjack jackpot with a four-card straight flush
Rotisserie chickens on spit
MGM Grand Detroit faces legal questions after a Michigan woman filed suit for denying her $127,000 jackpot. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Woman fights back

MGM Grand Detroit may live to regret denying a fiery Michigan woman her $127,000 jackpot win over a questionable house rule.

classic David vs. Goliath tale”

In what the Detroit Free Press termed Thursday a “classic David vs. Goliath tale” Denise Ezell, 65, has decided to fight back in US District Court by filing a lawsuit against the casino.

It all began when the blue-collar Detroiter hit the motherlode after midnight on October 30, 2023 with a jackpot win at a progressive blackjack table. Despite issuing her a trespassing charge in 2015, MGM Grand Detroit allowed Ezell, a regular patron, to spend her “hard-earned money” for eight years. That is, until she hit it big.

Stinker of a story

When she tried to cash in her jackpot, the casino brought up the trespassing charge and denied Ezell her winnings. After making no headway with either MGM Grand Detroit or the Michigan Gaming Control Board since October, Ezell filed suit, stating the casino’s justification for refusing her win is “bullshit.”

The free-spirited 20-year customer of the casino questioned why the casino waited so long before springing an old, one-off beef over a charge of panhandling, a term Ezell said she didn’t even know the meaning of.   

“Do you think I would have gone down there and spent my money for eight years, knowing I was trespassing?”

Ezell stated the 2015 incident involved an argument between her and a cousin over fronting some cash, an agreement the Detroiter said was a mutual accord that worked both ways when the pair was gambling.  

casino security thought she was begging a stranger for money

According to Ezell’s suit, casino security thought she was begging a stranger for money and ejected her from MGM Grand Detroit under industry legal jargon for begging: “panhandling.”

“I didn’t even know what the hell panhandling was,” Ezell said.

Dreams turn to dust

A working mom with a daughter at medical school, Ezell stated while she was financially stable, she could have used the extra $127,000.  

Instead, she went through an emotional rollercoaster. At around 2:30am on October 30, Ezell was on her last bet and by nature, played the side bet. Her religious progressive blackjack tactic finally paid off. She held the Jack and King of spades. The dealer turned up the ace and queen of spades.

Ezell had a four-card straight flush.

“It was exuberating,” the Detroit Free Press cited Ezell as stating. “We were high fiving … The dealer – he was excited. So were people around me. No one had ever seen anyone win that jackpot.”

Instead of a dream end to the night, the casino leveled the prior panhandling charge at Ezell and ordered her out of the building, the shocked woman asking: “What the f*ck?”

Ezell explained she left the casino that night “without a dime.”

“Good thing I had some damn gas (in the car).”

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