$3.2 Million Progressive Jackpot Won - Casino Woodbine
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Jackpot Winner at Casino Woodbine

$3.2 Million Progressive Jackpot won at Casino Woodbine

Great Canadian Rewards member wins big after personal tragedy

TORONTO (April 21, 2023) – Great Canadian Entertainment is thrilled to announce that Casino Woodbine guest and Great Canadian Rewards member Marcelo Loyola, a Toronto-based solutions contractor, has won a massive $3.2 million progressive jackpot – a win which he credits entirely to his late girlfriend.

After celebrating his 50th birthday on April 2, tragedy struck on April 5, 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 favourite entertainment spot for both of them.

“She always went upstairs to play the slots, and I would go downstairs to play the tables,” he said. “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, he decided to play her favourite slot machine. He says they would see the jackpot building, 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.” 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! But I felt her with me that night, so I played it like she did,” Loyola said. “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. They were giving  me their condolences, and at the same time they were also congratulating me,“ he said. “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. She loved the casino and she loved to win,” he said.

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. My girlfriend and I took care of each other. I loved her so much. She would be so happy.”


Founded in 1982 Great Canadian Entertainment is Canada’s premier gaming and hospitality company with 25 gaming, entertainment and hospitality facilities in Ontario, British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto project, which is scheduled to open this summer, will include a 400-room hotel, 5,000-seat entertainment venue, new parkade, and on-site dining options.

Committed to investing in and offering opportunity to those in the communities in which it operates, Great Canadian supports over 1,400 charitable and non-profit organizations across Canada under its PROUD program; “PROUD of our people, our business, our community”. A significant portion of gross gaming revenue from Great Canadian’s gaming facilities is retained by Crown partners on behalf of their provincial governments for the purpose of supporting programs that benefit healthcare, education, and social services in Canada. To learn more, please visit www.greatcanadian.com or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Contact Information
Media Contact:

Naomi Strasser or Mindy Cummings
Aerial Communications Group
naomi@aerialpr.com / mindy@aerialpr.com