California man hits Aquarius jackpot, plans to donate to charity
LAUGHLIN — A guest at the Aquarius Casino Resort hit the jackpot of a lifetime on Aug. 30.
Gebre Solomon of Cerritos, California, won $781,006.33 on a penny Buffalo Grand machine and he credits Laughlin for the big payout.
“I go to Vegas, too. The thing that fascinates me is those machines in Vegas don’t have this kind of jackpot. They are usually about $17,000 or something like that,” Solomon said. “But this one, every time I come (to Laughlin), I see it has over $700,000. Every time I come, I spend about 45 minutes to an hour playing those machines.”
Solomon, a doctor, said he plans to donate the majority of the funds to organizations who help people at risk.
“I’m going to try to spend it mostly to assist individuals and those companies that are assisting people who need help,” Solomon said. “Churches and things like that. Most of it is going to go there.”
Solomon has been a regular visitor to Laughlin for nearly 40 years, he said.
“About 1979, a couple of friends came in and asked me to buy land in Laughlin,” Solomon said. “The amount was very, very low. About $30,000 for 10 or 15 acres on the river. They didn’t have the casinos yet, just a little beach. I told them, ‘let’s buy this. It will be a good income in the long run.’ ”
His friends laughed at the idea of purchasing land along the little known stretch of the Colorado River but it is one of Solomon’s few regrets.
“I could easily have been a millionaire,” he said with a laugh. “In 2000 all the casinos were built and I easily could have been in there. I came back in 2000 to look to buy land and everything was gone.”
While he didn’t luck into a land deal, Solomon has lucked into more than one jackpot at the Aquarius, his preferred hotel along Casino Drive.
“Every time I come over there I win a little something, $5,000, $8,000,” he said. “I’m very lucky because one night, four or five years ago, I came for one night and I ended up getting almost $20,000. I’m a very lucky guy, which is really good.”
While he doesn’t come to win, simply to enjoy the river views and the service, Solomon enjoys the paydays.
“I know the chances of winning are very, very limited, but you never know when that can happen,” he said.
Solomon said he isn’t concerned about friends and family coming out of the woodwork because of the jackpot.
“They usually don’t care about (the money),” he said. “Even without having this, I give whatever I can to everybody, I share everything that I have, I really don’t care about the money. It’s intended to be spent and to contribute to others, especially those people in need.”