Baytown Man Celebrates New Year an Instant Millionaire

Baytown Man Celebrates New Year an Instant Millionaire at
L'Auberge du Lac Casino Resort; Hits Wheel of Fortune Jackpot for $1.2 Million  

Second progressive jackpot win at L'Auberge du Lac in less than four months

LAKE CHARLES, La. - L'Auberge du Lac Casino Resort, a luxury Texas Hill Country-themed resort in Lake Charles, La., created yet another instant millionaire this week. A Baytown, Tx. man won $1.2 million playing a Wheel of Fortune® $1 slot machine.

Tommy Lee Kovalcik played just $36, or twelve spins, into the machine on Tuesday, December 30 to claim the $1,245,689 statewide progressive jackpot on the $1 Wheel of Fortune® Triple Diamond machine.

Asked why he played that particular machine, Kovalcik said, "This one felt good, good, good!" The Kovalcik's were headed home to Baytown after a weekend vacation in New Orleans to watch a Saints football game; they stopped in at L'Auberge on a whim. The petrochemical operations supervisor says he has no plans to quit his job and will invest his winnings. His wife Candace is a high school teacher.

Kovalcik is the second instant millionaire created by a $1 Wheel of Fortune® machine at L'Auberge in just four months. In August, a Lake Charles woman won $1.9 million after just four spins on the progressive machine. She chose to remain anonymous.

"We are delighted to once again acknowledge a big winner and share in their tremendous excitement," said Larry Lepinski, vice president and general manager of L'Auberge.  "We have created a truly unique and total gaming experience at L'Auberge with unmatched guest service yet conveniently located so that players can win at home instead of travelling to Las Vegas."

"The entire staff is excited to celebrate yet another instant millionaire at L'Auberge. L'Auberge is the place to play; our slot payouts average over seven-million dollars every day," said Senior Director of Slots Dennis Gentry. He adds, "L'Auberge offers its guests a winning hospitality and gaming escape unlike any other in the region."

The Kovalcik's are celebrating the big win in high style in a private luxury Versailles Suite. The expansive suites with sweeping views feature separate luxurious living, bar, bathroom and bedroom areas. The over-the-top luxury extends to the bathroom with an oversized designer infinity tub that fills from a ceiling mounted faucet, large separate marble shower, flat panel TV's and upgraded amenities. A mini-fridge, sound system and luxury linens round out the experience.

The Wheel of Fortune® jackpot is paid when a player plays the maximum bet ($3) and lines up all three winning symbols on the appropriate pay line. After the jackpot is verified, the Wheel of Fortune® meter is reset at $800,000. Wheel of Fortune® is one of 16 Louisiana MegaJackpots® systems operated by IGT.

All IGT MegaJackpots® awards are paid in annual installments upon verification, except MegaJackpots® Instant WinnersTM jackpots and Rapid Riches MegaJackpots® awards, which are paid in their entirety upon verification. Wheel of Fortune® is a registered trademark of Califon Production Inc.

L'Auberge offers 30,000 square feet of endless Vegas-style gaming play. The Texas-Hill Country-themed casino resort features 62 table games and more than 1,600 of the newest slot machines, equipped with the latest ticket-in, ticket-out technology. In addition to the main casino floor, L'Auberge invites guests to play a few hands in the elegantly appointed High Limit Casino, featuring a variety of table games, slot machines and a plush VIP lounge area.

Guests must be 21 years or older to enter the casino and agree to accept all rules, terms and conditions set forth by the Louisiana Gaming Commission.  For more information regarding rules and regulations or casino promotions, visit the mychoice club located in the southeast corner of the casino floor or call (337) 395-7777 and ask for the mychoice center.

About L'Auberge du Lac

L'Auberge is located on 242 acres of land in Lake Charles, La., two hours from the Houston metropolitan area.  This premier facility is ideal for the business traveler or guest looking for the ultimate in hospitality and dining experiences, plus non-stop gaming action.  The property includes a 26-story hotel complex with approximately 1,000 spacious rooms and suites; an 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Fazio; 26,000 gross square feet of meeting space, including a business center and conference registration area; two resort swimming pools, lazy river and private cabana courtyard; full-service salon and spa and cardio fitness center; retail stores; ten innovative dining outlets; and top-name entertainment.  The casino features 30,000 square feet of Vegas-like gaming action with 62 table games and more than 1,600 ticket-in ticket-out slot machines.

To learn more about L'Auberge, call reservations at (866) 580-7444 or visit

About Pinnacle Entertainment

Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. owns and operates casinos in Nevada, Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri and Argentina, and has significant insurance claims related to a hurricane-damaged hotel and casino complex previously operated in Biloxi, Mississippi. The Company opened Lumière Place, a $507 million casino hotels complex in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, in December 2007. Pinnacle also has a second casino development project under construction in the St. Louis area, which opening is dependent upon final approval by the Missouri Gaming Commission. Pinnacle is currently developing a second casino resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to be called Sugarcane Bay, and is developing a casino resort in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Additionally, Pinnacle owns a casino site at the heart of the famed Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PNK.  To learn more about Pinnacle Entertainment, please visit

Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PNK.  To learn more about Pinnacle Entertainment, please visit