Florida’s Gulfstream Park Casino says winner cheated in SUV contest

Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida is one of the state’s most prominent casinos and racing tracks. Over the years, the 75 year old gambling establishment has become famous for its extravagant promotions, not to mention being the location of some of the country’s most prestigious horse races, including the Florida Derby. Needless to say, the establishment lights up the local headlines on a regular basis, but it’s most recent appearance under the limelight was not a positive one.

A Florida woman by the name of Vicki Wersching received one of 150,000 flyers that were mailed out in a promotional contest designed to bring customers into the casino and raceway. Attached to each flyer was a key. Recipients were invited to come to Gulfstream Park and try their key in a lock. If that key opened the lock, they would win a brand new Range Rover SUV. Not only did Wersching respond to the flyer by showing up at the Florida casino during the promotional period, her key actually opened the lock.

The story should have been cut and dry at that point, right? Wersching wins the car, everyone celebrates and life moves on. But that’s not what happened. Instead, as the bells were ringing and lights were flashing, denoting that she had opened the lock and the SUV would be hers, a manager of the casino came out and said that she had not followed the rules, therefore would not be receiving the car.

Vicki Wersching was incredulous, as she told Willard Shepard of WTVJ, South Florida NBC 6 News. She said she had followed the rules to a ‘T’. According to the fine print on the flyer, she must have a valid Florida driver’s license, be 21 years of age or more and sign up for a Good Luck Player’s Club Card. She was entirely eligible by those standards, but the casino still denied her the win.

Shepard asked Wersching what happened when she attempted to use the key in the lock. “I pushed it in a, you know, a little further, little further ‘till I felt it go all the way in,” the would-be winner said. “I turned it. The door opened and then the siren went off so I assumed I won. I was pleasantly surprised.” Her account of the events took a discouraging turn at that point when she said the manager of the casino told her she had not actually won the car.

The manager asked her to wait and then went back into the casino. “He came back after 15 or 20 minutes and said because I didn’t open it smoothly, that I wasn’t entitled to the car,” Wersching told Shepard. “I said the key did fit and I was able to open [the lock].”

Michael Nyman of Gulfstream told NBC 6 a slightly different version of the tale. He claimed that the surveillance video clearly showed that she did not simply turn the lock, but rather manipulated the mechanism. “She had to turn the lock and she knew clearly she didn’t turn the lock,” he said. According to the video and the casino’s player representative who stood by watching, “She shook it open and was never able to turn the key,” said Nyman.

Shepard asked why the player representative did nothing to stop her or inform her that she had broken the rules. “That’s correct,” responded Nyman, “but that’s not the point. She did violate the rules. And it was very clear on the mailer that we sent; you had to unlock the lock.”

As of right now, the Florida casino has no intention of giving Wersching the car, but did say the promotion will continue until a true winner opens the lock. Gulfstream offered to compensate Wersching with $500 in casino credits to play with, but she declined and instead hired Attorney David Kubiliun. “I think given the fact that this key did open that box that may have been defective by no fault of my clients,” Kubiliun said, “they should honor what the flyer says and give her the Range Rover.”