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Snuneymuxw councillor wins $2.1 million playing the slots at Casino Nanaimo

Jackpot one of richest slot machine wins in B.C. history

A boat for her husband, a recreational vehicle and a holiday in the tropics is in the near future for a woman who won $2.1 million playing the slots at Casino Nanaimo.

Erralyn Joseph, a Snuneymuxw First Nation band councillor, was playing the casino’s Wheel of Fortunes Exotic Far East slot machine with her husband Joshua on Feb. 23, and was down to one of her last plays of the night when she hit the jackpot worth $2,129,071.

“It was one of the most significant wins that we’ve had in B.C. history on a slot machine,” said Garth Pieper, B.C. Lottery Corporation director of casino operations.

The jackpot was a progressive jackpot tallied up by slot machines linked across Canada.

Joseph, who said she’s still “up in the clouds,” was presented with the winnings at a ceremony held at Casino Nanaimo on Thursday, March 3, that was attended by Joseph’s husband, their families and Snuneymuxw elders and Chief Michael Wyse.

“It’s been unreal,” Joseph said. “It’s mind-blowing. You never think of this moment in your life and here we are. You go out and buy a lottery ticket and think I’m going to win it and you don’t win it, but here we are. I’m so grateful.”

Joseph said she wants to take all 27 members of her family to the Bahamas or Mexico, buy a boat for her husband and is considering support for local lacrosse.

Joseph said the night of the win, she and her husband were at a restaurant and since her aunt was looking after their children they decided to stop into the casino for about an hour before they went home.

“I was losing all night and my husband was winning, so I just took his ticket,” she said. “I wanted to sit down at Plinko, but it was out of service, so I went to the other side and just sat down. I was playing and all of a sudden, boom.”

Joseph said when the jackpot alarm sounded and lights started flashing she and her husband thought the slot machine was malfunctioning and then it started displaying the win total numbers.

“The numbers just started getting elongated and then longer and longer and we were like, ‘Whoa,’ and we kind of paused for a second,” she said. “I looked at Josh … and he said, ‘That’s $2.1 million.” Then I think I screamed and almost fell, but I stayed vertical, thank the Creator, and here we are.”

Joseph said winning a life-changing amount of money is unimaginable, but she and her husband are going to “take some time to breathe a little bit and then pay it forward with our families … and just, first of all, enjoy it … and buy an RV, finally and a boat. My husband wants a boat.”

Joseph was also given a one-night stay for two and free passes for other amenities and services at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond.

For information about gambling responsibly, visit

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Joshua and Erralyn Joseph sit at the slot machine that paid out a life-changing $2.1 million jackpot when they stopped by Casino Nanaimo Feb. 23. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Joshua and Erralyn Joseph sit at the slot machine that paid out a life-changing $2.1 million jackpot when they stopped by Casino Nanaimo Feb. 23. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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