Lawsuit: Woman wins $127K at MGM Grand Detroit, casino refuses to pay her

A woman hit the jackpot of a lifetime at MGM Grand Detroit last year – however, instead of getting her money, she was forced to sue the casino. 

Denise Ezell of Detroit is a seasoned gambler, but when she won $127,000 while playing progressive blackjack on Oct. 30, 2023 at MGM Grand, she could not believe it.

"I was like, ‘oh my god, I won! Oh sh--!’ Excuse my French," 65-year-old Ezell said. "It was exhilarating. I was down to my last bet, actually."

It all started as an impromptu trip to the casino with one of her friends. When she hit the jackpot at MGM Grand after a long night, cheers erupted.

Shortly after, security came up and asked for Ezell's license. She had already begun planning what she would do with the win, as she had worked full-time since the age of 14.

$127,000 "would get me out of debt, I could help my daughter, and look out for my family," she said.

All that excitement dissipated when the casino refused to pay her.

Another casino employee came back "and said 'well Ms. Ezell, we unfortunately won't be paying you.' I'm like ‘What the f-,'" Ezell told FOX 2. "I don't want to say that on TV, but I was like ‘What?’"

MGM Grand security told Ezell she was trespassing – based on an alleged panhandling incident back in 2015. Her attorney, Ivan Land, said Ezell and her cousin got into a disagreement at the casino, back then, about some cash, and she was asked to leave for 24 hours.

However, she says she had no idea that she was banned. She had been back to MGM Grand dozens of times since 2015.

"She didn't receive an email, mail, telephone call," Land said. "She had no knowledge that she was banned from this casino, and I don't believe she was banned from the casino."

Ezell has not been back to the Detroit casino since Oct. 30, which she now calls "devil's night."

After several dead ends with MGM, Ezell filed a civil suit this week.

FOX 2 Detroit reached out to MGM Grand Detroit's media line but did not get a response before the story aired.

"When I go and lose, nobody asks for my license, what my name is – none of that," Ezell said. "But I win and all this?"