$5 Million slot machine jackpot goes to Mesa man

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

SALT RIVER PIMA-MARICOPA INDIAN COMMUNITY, Ariz. -- A Mesa resident won $5,707,069 after hitting the top prize on a Wheel of Fortune slot machine at Casino Arizona on April 13.

That is one of the largest jackpots every paid out in the 10-year history of Casino Arizona, located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community at the Loop 101 and McKellips Road.

Gerald 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.

Phillips, who said he was laid off from his job six months ago, already used part of his winnings to buy a new truck.

"We don't have to wake up and say hey where are we gonna get this next dollar where are we going to buy this next food were going to eat. But now we can relax. We can relax and have a good time," said Phillips.