Officials at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino near Hollywood paraded Howard around after telling him he had won nearly $260,000, even presenting him a giant cardboard check, but told him nearly 15 hours later he had won nothing.
Howard said he was showered with attention Aug. 29 after he swiped his Players Club card and was told he had won the free promotional game. But he spent hours waiting anxiously for the $259,945.75 before managers called him into an empty room.
"They just said, 'You know the jackpot that you won? We're not going to pay it,"' said Howard, 53, of Sunny Isles Beach. "It was like I was in a movie. I couldn't believe it."
The casino acknowledges the mistake but says a verification process showed that Howard did not actually win.
As part of the Seminole reservation, the casino is not governed by state or local laws. The Seminole Tribal Gaming Commission is investigating Howard's complaint, and he has hired attorney Keith Herbert.
"Nobody appears to be accountable for what goes on over there," Herbert said. "If it is a mistake, well, then, bite the bullet and pay up."