Last updated: February 20. 2013 2:36AM - 458 Views

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WILKES-BARRE – A Schuylkill County couple believe they were awarded $4.4 million in comp money while playing the slots at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs casino.

Their enjoyment and expectations of purchasing big-screen televisions quickly came to an end when the casino reduced the award to $1,000.

Wayne Martz and his wife, Debra, of Pottsville, filed an amended lawsuit Thursday in Luzerne County Court, alleging the casino falsely reduced the award and fraudulently promised prizes when they signed up for casino player cards. Wayne Martz claimed he won the comp dollars while playing a slot machine in August 2007.

Attorney James Tierney IV, of Scranton, who is defending the casino against the lawsuit, said a computer error was blamed for the Martz award. Tierney said the casino reserves the right to change, reduce or void awards due to operational errors, malfunctions or manipulation.

Tierney said the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, in response to a complaint Wayne Martz filed, determined the $4.4 million award was awarded in error.

Attorney Nicholas Panko, of St. Clair, representing the Martzes, said his clients were enticed to apply for players cards with promises of winning big.

He had the card for about a month or so when he was awarded this substantial award, Panko said, noting the Martzes planned to use the comp dollars to buy big-screen televisions for themselves and their family. They called the award excessive as the reason it was reduced.

According to the lawsuit, Wayne Martz was playing a slot machine on Aug. 11, 2007, when he was awarded $4,430,889 in comp dollars. Martz said casino employees celebrated with him by giving him high-fives, including one casino employee who solicited a big tip.

The substantial award remained in Martz's player's card account for several days until he learned his account was frozen and the award was reduced.

Panko said he has been unable to find any disclaimer in the player's club card application that describes how comp dollars are earned.

Comp dollars are earned by the amount gambled and time spent gambling, and can be used toward purchases of foods and goods within the casino.

Edward Lewis, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 829-7196.

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