One of the reasons, if not the main reason casinos are in business, and a very profitable one at that is the allure of beating the odds. Even if the fact that the house will always win in the end is by this point in time known to everyone, casinos continue to thrive; the opportunity to potentially win big beats the actual fact that most people will probably end up leaving the casino floor with less money than they came in with. There are exceptions of course; some people enjoy the atmosphere, the free food or drinks, or just a night out on the town. No matter the reason, one thing people will always be aware of, and something that perpetuates the myth that “anyone can win big” are the sights and sounds of a jackpot win. These wins will always be very loud and quite bright, and for good reason. Someone’s life has just been transformed in literally a matter of seconds, with just the pull of a lever or the press of a button.
The following wins are some of the biggest ever won in the gambling capital of the world, Las Vegas.
The fourth largest: Sometimes, breakfast is definitely the most important (or best) meal of the day for some people. A 74 year old woman named Johanna Huendl stopped at a “Megabucks” machine on her way to breakfast at Bally’s. After playing a little more than $150, the machine rewarded Johanna with a $22.6 million jackpot win. Funny thing is, Johanna thought she had only won $2 million, misreading the display at first.
The third largest: Back in 1998, a senior retired flight attendant who was also from Las Vegas was playing at the Palace Station Casino. By mistake, she deposited $300 instead of the $100 she intended to play with. Lucky for her, the “Megabucks” machine rewarded her error with a 27.5 million dollar jackpot win, at that time being the first ever “Megabucks” jackpot to surpass the $20 million mark. Taking into account the same woman had already won a $680.000 jackpot in a wheel of fortune machine also at the Palace Station, sometimes lightning does appear to strike twice.
The second largest: Just 3 years prior to when the present record was set, a cocktail waitress from Las Vegas named Cynthia Jay-Brennan won $34.9 million also in a “Megabucks” machine at the Desert Inn. Her story carries an amount of tragedy however. Only a month and a half after an amazing event such as this, she was involved in a car crash with a drunk driver, which killed her sister, and left Cynthia paralyzed.
The largest: This took place a little over a decade ago, at the iconic Excalibur casino. Inside the castle themed casino’s walls, a 25 year-old software engineer from Los Angeles won $39.7 million dollars in the popular IGT slot machine “Megabucks”. Depositing $100 and playing at the max bet of $3 per spin, this jackpot was hit a little later than 1 p.m. on a Friday. Suffice to say, the “Megabucks” machines are some of the most popular machines at any floor in Vegas, where on some busy nights people will even have trouble finding an open seat.