When Panikos Constantinou decided to have a night out at a casino in Birmingham, UK during his June 2018 vacation I’m sure he expected it to go like any other. Perhaps a small win, maybe a small loss? He was known to bet around £20 – £30 a night when at the casino. Unfortunately though, his worst impulses ended up ensuring that a night at the casino almost turned into nights in a prison cell.
Another patron there was also enjoying a night out at the Genting Casino at Resorts World. This man however was more of a high roller, moving from table to table, splashing the cash. He’d experienced something of a winning streak in the nights previous, and was carrying with him a bag containing £15,000. So engrossed was he in the anticipation of the next big win that when he moved between tables he accidentally left the bag containing his money under the table.
Upon realising his mistake he quickly returned to the table, only to discover that the bag was missing. As you would expect though, the whole venue is covered with CCTV, and it was this CCTV footage which revealed that 63 year old Panikos, of Solihull, had gone up to the table and stuffed the small bag up his jumper.
It’s of course unlikely that he knew how much money was inside, and entirely possible, in fact likely that he didn’t actually go to the casino that night with the intention of stealing money. That is though precisely what he ended up doing, and he and his wife vacated the premises shortly after, with what he appeared to view as his ‘free money’.
When later quizzed by police he denied the theft, saying that he’d left due to his wife being unwell, but the camera doesn’t lie and it was clear what had transpired. To make matters worse he had in fact spent the money by the time the police had tracked him down.
In passing sentence the judge stated:
“I am absolutely sure you had a fairly good idea that it contained money. You took a chance. I accept you did not go into the Genting Casino to steal other people’s money.
“What an amazing day you had when you realised you had £15,000. You certainly enjoyed it.
“You really should be ashamed of yourself having committed such an offence at your age.
“You thought ‘free money, it is mine and I am going to spend it’ which is absolutely what you did.”
Previously of good character and with health issues in the family, the judge effectively gave him a slap on the wrist, a two year suspended sentence. Sentences in the UK are typically quite low compared to the US for instance. He should think himself lucky that he didn’t face more serious consequences. As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as free money!
On June 9th one lucky individual pocketed a staggering $3.2 million playing on Wheel of Fortune at the Silverton hotel-casino. The jackpot dwarfs previous records at the casino and came about courtesy of a tiny $5 bet. The money was won on the Wheel of Fortune Winning Wedges Video Slots.
This marks the biggest Wheel of Fortune win this year, though it’s worth pointing out that there have been several other million dollar plus winners this year alone on the Wheel of Fortune game. You can almost set your watch by it! In January one lucky person won $1.5 million at Palace Station, the following month saw a $1.2 million win at the Fremont, in March a $1.6 million win was bagged at the Exacibur. After a gap of no million + wins in April, May saw a Canadian tourist at the Cospolititan walk away with an impressive $1.6 million, and in June at the Venetian there was another $1 million plus win.
The Silverton winner, and several of the others elected to stay anonymous. I can’t say that I blame them either. If I suddenly had an extra $3.2 million in my bank account I’d probably not be ringing the neighbours doorbells to inform them of it either!
Think about a game show where no skill is needed and contestants have the chance to win big prizes; well that is exactly what wheel of fortune is all about. The show was designed to be a gripping one, full of exciting moments throughout, and those watching had the vicarious thrill of watching contestants make choices that define their future fortune (solving puzzles and spinning the prize wheel)!
The game is simple enough. Contestants unravel a mystery phrase or name of a place, thing or person by picking consonants and buying vowels. Each vowel goes for 250$. Contestants get to spin the ‘wheel of fortune’ with a range of dollar values ($250-$10,000). If the consonant you picked is in the mystery name or phrase then you get your dollar amount multiplied by the number of times your consonant appears in the phrase. If for instance you spun the wheel and landed on $250 then picked the letter G and it appears three times in the phrase, your money is multiplied by a magnitude of three .
So the premise of the game is to outsmart the other contestants then hope that your luck is in when you spin the prize wheel. It’s not always a formality though as a little bad luck on the wheel can cost you all the money you’ve won or a sizeable chunk of it.
The wheel of fortune game was been exported to various countries, and beyond that has appeared as a casino game both online and off. It’s appeared in various formats, sometimes as a slot machine, and others as a stand alone Wheel of Fortune game in its own right.