Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati blunder nets two Kevin Lewises $1 million each
10:54 AM, Aug 12, 2013
CINCINNATI (WCPO) - Frank Sinatra once crooned, "luck be a lady tonight." At the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Saturday evening though, luck could be found in a name.
Before cameras and a crowd of expectant guests, an announcer boomed: "Our next millionaire, our next millionaire is Kevin Lewis!"
Cheers went up as Kevin L. Lewis, a 52-year-old Cincinnati native, was named as the second of three winners of a $1 million promotional give-away by Horseshoe this summer. He hugged his fiancée to celebrate his instant wealth.
The winner told the casino his fiancée kept saying he was going to win because they wanted to go on a vacation.
"When I heard my name I said God finally gave me a big win . . . a lot of screaming and happiness, being at the right place, at the right time," he said.
The thing was Lewis, the man captured exclusively on camera by 9 On Your Side, wasn't the same Kevin Lewis the casino was looking for.
As Jennifer Kulczycki, Communication Director for Horseshoe parent company, Rock Game LLC, explained Sunday morning: There were two men, with the same name, from Cincinnati who had entered the giveaway.
The second man, also named Kevin Lewis, 50, and also a Cincinnati native, was at home when the winner was announced.
"I didn't believe it at first," Kevin Lewis told Horseshoe. "(My fiancée) called me and said they called your name. I was calm. I calmed (my fiancée) down."
It was only after Kevin L. Lewis stood before cameras to accept his prize that casino leadership realized that the second Kevin Lewis was the rightful winner of the $1 million prize.
"This was our blunder," said Horseshoe Cincinnati Senior Vice President and General Manager Kevin Kline.
Kulczycki explained the error in names was only discovered after a final verification of the winner's identity. By that point, it was too late.
The casino practices two levels of verification in its $3 Million Summer Giveaway contest, but Kulcyzcki declined to go into detail about that process, or to outline how the failure occurred.
"So, consistent with our commitment to do the right thing for our guests, Horseshoe awarded a $1 million prize to each of the men," Kline said.
Both men told the casino that the $1 million winnings, before taxes, was the largest jackpot either have ever received. Both said they are Horseshoe regulars.
The third, and final, $1 million summer drawing will go on as planned, Horseshoe officials said. That next drawing is slated for Sunday, Sept. 1.
That winner will join Reatha Jenkis, who won the first $1 million on July 20, along with Kevin L. Lewis and Kevin Lewis.
Customers at Horseshoe are entered into the drawing when they use their Total Rewards cards at kiosks in the casino.