He’d been playing the slots at Scioto Downs Casino & Racetrack for a couple of hours one day this spring and was up $50.
“That was plenty for me,” the 71-year-old Circleville resident said. “Anytime you can go home even, you’re a winner.”
Then his daughter, Corinna Swoyer, noticed that the progressive jackpot on the Double Diamond slot machines was at $99,999.99.
That’s a lot of nines — and money.
“She said, ‘That’s as high as they go. Maybe we should play it’,” Binkley said.
What the heck, he said, and sat down in front of one of the Double Diamond slot machines with the lucky penny he had found earlier in the day ensconced in his pocket.
“On my second spin, three diamonds came up,” Binkley said. “Corinna started hollering. I thought I only won $4,000, but she said I hit the whole jackpot, and then my knees started getting weak … and I could feel my blood pressure going up.”
Bells and whistles on the slot machine went off. Casino officials rushed over. Other gamblers wandered over to see what the heck was going on and how much the guy in the hunting cap had won. Someone handed Binkley a giant check. Another casino employee took his picture.
It all went by in a blur.
Binkley was playing a $2 Double Diamond slot connected to seven others.
“One percent of all the play from all eight keeps getting added to the progressive pot, and it tops out at $99,999.99,” said Troy Buswell, vice president and general manager of gambling operations at Scioto Downs.
Anyone playing any of the eight machines has a chance to win this progressive jackpot.
“After someone wins — and he’s the only one so far — it goes back to $20,000,” Buswell said.
It’s currently a little over $35,000.
Binkley has always been a conservative gambler and a bit superstitious. He can’t win unless he’s wearing his lucky hunting cap.
And a found penny can only help.
“I take a set amount with me,” he said of his regular trips to Scioto Downs, noting he was at least even overall before his big win on April 11. “That way, even if you lose a hundred or two hundred, you won’t feel so bad, like the people who lose two or three thousand.”
As for the $99,999.99, almost all of it is safe and secure — and in the bank.
“I did give a little bit of it to Corinna, for being my lucky charm,” he said.
A story like this does a great job of proving that a gut feeling and a little luck can go a long way. Each day many play the progressive jackpots on a serious level, they spend endless amounts of money trying to win. But, that big win all comes down to the right place and the right time.
The fact that Brinkley played with a lucky penny and tends to be a bit on the superstitious side adds even more to this fantastic story. It goes to show that you can never tell if and when you are going to become that lucky winner.