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Rising from Ruin is an on-going MSNBC.com special report chronicling two coastal Mississippi towns, Bay St. Louis and Waveland, as they rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

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This project is evolving. Our daily dispatches coverage has been retired. Click here to see what happened in the area between mid October and January 1, 2006.

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In a thunderous clamor, the Pink Panther slots are eviscerated: slammed, crushed and rendered unrecognizable before our eyes.

The video poker machines also fold violently when the steel claw slams and mashes the metal into digestible pieces, then scoops and deposits the debris into a dumpster.

The Caterpillar 318C backhoe does not discriminate, ripping apart the 25 cent as well as the $1 gaming machines gathered outside the Casino Magic warehouse on Wednesday.

The 250 machines, each worth about $5,000, were damaged in the warehouse by Hurricane Katrina, and the insurance company was making sure the property wouldn’t be recycled elsewhere. Serial numbers were removed and the candy-colored slots were lined up for execution.

Smajo Dujkovic worked as a slot machine mechanic at Casino Magic. He knows the inner secrets, the delicate mechanisms that bring some joy, but mostly frustration, to gamblers at casinos everywhere.

On Wednesday, he was helping the demolition crew, one of the many part-time jobs he’s going to need before the casino get back to business.

And the Bosnian native admits to feeling a little emotional watching the demolition -- even though he knows they are, after all, only machines.

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24 COMMENTS

assume that someone emptied out all the coins first? If so, how much was recovered from the damaged machines? And did the casinos lose cash or chips during the surge? Have not seen any reports about that.

With the money I lost in some of those machines a few years ago I think I'd pay to be able to smash one up like that. I wonder if anyone has thought about auctioning off a chance for revenge? Say $5.00 and you get five minutes with a sledge hammer. Broken machines get destroyed and the company offsets what it has to pay to have them destroyed.

Looks like they also generated several tons of Hazardous waste in the process. The CRTs in these devices contain lots of lead. Unless the CRTs were removed prior to destruction, the whole conglomeration will likely test hazardous for lead and possibly other metals. Reckon anybody from the state's Evt. Agency is aware of this?

Why couldn't they be disassembled and recycled?

Where do I pay to smash those bloodsuckers? Cost is no object! If only it were true.

So at 5 grand each that is $1,250,000. The Casino hit the jackpot from the insurance company getting that kind of payout on a bunch of old, broken machines that are sitting in a warehouse. CHA-CHING!

There are people who collect slot machine panels and other "art" associated with the machines. The Pink Panther sign panels on these machines certainly have some salvage value; why the insurance company that owned the machines didn't try to recoup some of what they paid out on the claim for these machines baffles me.

Just reward, they are just thieves in pink

I believe I personally paid for several of those machines myself....

Why weren't these just recycled? Seems to me that the metal and plasic could have been. Kinda sad to think that in this time of pushing people to recycle everything, something like this is just ignored.

I persoally will be glad to see the casinos up and running again.I have spent many hours in The Magic Casino in Bay St Louis(my sister works there).But I like many others would have love to take a whack at these machines.

Being a hurricane evacuee from Waveland I am glad to see news about Casino Magic. I often wonder about the employees who were a great group and always friendly. I loved the entertainment and golf. Hopefully, I can get back there some day.

Insurance can sit on those machine and the price of memorabilia will go up and up.They will profit and so will the insurance rates go up when they show what they paid out.Viva La Dinero.

I stayed at the magic a number of times and always enjoyed it, They had a great trailer park. Was it destroyed. Hope to return after they rebuild.

I was finally glad to see something about the damage to Casino Magic and the surrounding area. Too much has been reported on New Orleans - the real damage was in MS. My mother lives in Diamondhead and so we have spent many, many hours at Casino Magic over the years.

I also love to play the slots, and by the way nobody hog tied me to any machine so I can't complain about the money I've lost and I definitely won't complain about the money I've won.

Being a resident from Houston and in the process of buying a car, I was told that most items were to be destroyed due to the Center for Disease Control officials. I'm not sure if cars and slot machines are in the same category, but the way I dump money into both of them, I see no difference...

The Thursday after the hurricane I went to Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis. The bill validator would not work on the Wheel of Fortune slot machine. It wouldn't even attempt to take my dollar bill. You know how the machine will sometimes take it but then spit it back out? Notta, nothing, not even a squeak. When I pushed the button to turn the light on so that I could get help from a slot attendant the light didn't work. Now what I wondered. After sitting there over an hour I decided to try the casinos in Biloxi. If memory serves me correctly the only people I saw at Casino Magic that day were smiling National Guardsmen. We're they smiling at me because they knew something I didn't about those slot machines? As far as Biloxi casinos go, forget about it. They up and moved from where I remember them.

I am sorry the folks down south got hit so hard I know they will come back,but I would have loved to take a whack at a slotmachine too. They are a lot of fun but boy they can make you cry sometimes I think they`re human.

There has been several times while playing slots and wishing I had a sludge hammer to use on the machine after losing all my money.. It is amazing how quick those machines eat up all of your change.. They have a huge appetite.. Ha...

I think you are all a bunch of crybabies. Get a real job and get back to work. We've been hit with a boatload more hurricanes than you but you don't see us whining, do ya?

My heart goes out to every hurricane victim. I feel so terrible that these poor people are going through something as traumatic as this. I do have one question. WHY ISN'T BILOXI GETTING ANY PUBLICITY? New Orleans wasn't the only city affected by this horrible devastation.

To John Smith in Jacksonville, FL..... Maybe you have been hit by more hurricanes but you've NEVER been hit by one like Katrina. No one here is whining (as you say). Most of the people here on the Mississippis coast who are alive are greatful to still be here.

I am sad to see them go. I won over $6000. on ther Pink Panther slots and was there when Katrina was coming in. That area will come back and be better then before.

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