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$3.2 million Progressive Jackpot won at Casino Woodbine

21 April 2023

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Great Canadian Entertainment announced that a Casino Woodbine and Woodbine Racetrack guest and Great Canadian Rewards member Marcelo Loyola, a Toronto-based solutions contractor, won a massive $3.2 million progressive jackpot - a win which he credits entirely to his late girlfriend.

After celebrating his 50th birthday on 2 April, tragedy struck on 5 April, when his long-time girlfriend passed away suddenly. Just two weeks later, and reeling from the unexpected and devastating loss, he went to Casino Woodbine, a favorite entertainment spot for both of them.

"She always went upstairs to play the slots, and I would go downstairs to play the tables," said Loyola. "We were always there together, and the past couple of weeks have been really hard. That day I just felt her spirit in me, so I went upstairs to play the slots, even though as a table games player I never do that."

After playing a few different slot games, Loyola decided to play her favorite slot machine. He said they would see the jackpot increasing, but never thought she would win it. Loyola said she liked to play the game; however, she had her own way of playing the machine.

"Rather than waiting for the wheels to stop naturally, she would press the button to stop the machine mid-spin in an attempt for the three 'Jackpot' icons to line up," said Loyola.

So that's how he played it. And that's how he won.

"I would always say to her, don't play it like that, just let it spin,” said Loyola. “But I felt her with me that night, so I played it like she did. I stopped it and it hit! I saw 'Jackpot, Jackpot, Jackpot' and I started screaming that I won the jackpot and running around and going crazy."

The machine immediately flashed and signaled the big win, drawing a crowd of onlookers and casino staff who were just as excited as the $3.2 million winner.

"A lot of people at Casino Woodbine know us, and they knew she had just passed away,” said Loyola. “They were giving me their condolences, and at the same time they were also congratulating me. It's just an incredibly emotional story and it's hard for me to tell it. But I know for a fact she was there with me. It can't be a coincidence."

For the past two decades, Casino Woodbine, which will be completely transformed into a modern Vegas-style gaming resort experience when the brand new $1 billion Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto opens this summer, has created unique memories for many of its players, and this jackpot is a testament to that.

"We're thrilled for Marcelo and excited to see him take home such a huge payout, especially after such an emotional time," said Robert Katsavelos, General Manager, Casino Woodbine. "This is an amazing story in so many ways, and we're glad Marcelo has chosen to share it with us."

While Loyola admits that he's "super happy about winning," he wishes his girlfriend was beside him to share it.

"She would have been overjoyed,” said Loyola. “She loved the casino and she loved to win.”

Loyola plans on buying a new home for his parents, visit his brother and his family in British Columbia and invest some of the winnings.

"I want to take care of the people I love,” said Loyola. “My girlfriend and I took care of each other. I loved her so much. She would be so happy."

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