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America's Newest Millionaire Cashes in at World's Largest Slot Tournament

31 October 2000

RENO, Nevada – (Press Release) -- Oct. 31, 2000 -- More than 220 slot players from across the country gathered Monday at Harrah's Reno in hopes of taking home a $1 million Halloween treat. In the end, that prize -- and the title of National Champion of Slots -- went to Geri Batchelor of Rutherford, CA.

Rutherford, a 36-year-old office manager, captured the $1 million grand prize at the Harrah's Millionaire Maker National Championship of Slots. She beat out 222 other finalists from 30 states and one Canadian province, who advanced to the Reno finals from 33 qualifying property tournaments.

The rules of the tournament were simple. Each player started with zero points. After three 15-minute rounds of play, Batchelor emerged with 22,198 points, the highest of any competitor, to capture the ``winner-take-all'' $1 million grand prize.

The tournament came down to the wire, with several participants scoring more than 20,000 points. In the end, Batchelor edged the second-place competitor by just 668 points, making this among the most competitive tournaments to date.

``I'm going to take my parents someplace really nice,'' Batchelor said when asked what she would do with her winnings. ``They've done a lot for me -- they've always supported me -- and it will be nice to pay them back a little. I'm also going to take care of my friends.''

The Millionaire Maker began earlier this year with more than 6,000 of the nation's most enthusiastic slot players participating in 33 qualifying tournaments at Harrah's casinos nationwide as well as at the Rio in Las Vegas and the Showboat in Atlantic City. The top players at each qualifying tournament advanced to the finals in Reno. Batchelor, who said she plans to invest a large portion of her prize, was one of the top winners at the qualifying tournament held at Harrah's Lake Tahoe.

Founded more than 60 years ago, Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. is the most recognized and respected name in the casino entertainment industry, operating 21 casinos in 17 markets in the United States under the Harrah's, Showboat, Rio and Players brand names. With a combined database of more than 19 million players, Harrah's is focused on building loyalty and value with its targeted customers through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership.

The $1 million grand prize is paid over 20 years in annual installments of $50,000.

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