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Jackpot winner arrested at casino lost $50,000 on slots in 2015

NIAGARA FALLS – Pasqua DiGianni planned to plead guilty Monday to trespassing at the Seneca Niagara Casino. But she did not get the chance in Niagara Falls City Court.

On April 15, the 69-year-old Woodbridge, Ont., woman won a $1,400 jackpot. But when she headed for the cashier's window to claim her winnings, casino management refused to pay her and called Niagara Falls police, who charged her with trespassing. It turned out her self-imposed ban on visiting the casino was still in effect.

Judge Danielle M. Restaino on Monday entered a not guilty plea on DiGianni's behalf and directed her to return for a trial on the violation May 22.

DiGianni is not using an attorney, and the judge told her to meet with the city prosecutor before court that day.

"I want to pay the fine and get it over with," DiGianni said after her one-minute court appearance.

DiGianni disclosed Monday that she signed the ban because she won a $50,000 jackpot in 2015 but then lost it.

She said she lost the $50,000 on the slot machines over several more visits to the Niagara Falls casino. Her losing streak was the reason she voluntarily decided to bar herself from the casino, she said.

That ban was still in force April 15, when DiGianni returned to the Niagara Falls casino and won the $1,400 slot machine jackpot. Casino workers found she was still on the banned list when she sought to collect her winnings. The casino's refusal to pay her and call police for the trespassing falls in line with casino policy.

DiGianni was given an appearance ticket.

DiGianni said she was sent a letter in 2016 saying she was free to return, but the casino's website says in cases of voluntary self-banning, the player has to wait a year and request reinstatement in writing. DiGianni said she did not do that.

"There was a misunderstanding, I guess," she said.

Asked if she thinks she has a gambling problem, DiGianni said, "No, I don't."

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