Megabucks Jackpot Lures Punters with Monumental Payout in Las Vegas

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In the city of indulgence and prosperity, Las Vegas, there’s a thrill that matches the lights that illuminate the city at night – Megabucks, the progressive jackpot slot machine that lures players with its promises of monumental payouts. It’s no astonishment that the seven biggest slot jackpots in Sin City’s colorful history were won on Megabucks machines – infamous for presenting the longest odds of clinching victory, leavened by the potential of breathtaking payouts to the few lucky souls who do triumph.

A brainchild born in the spring of 1986 from the desks at International Gaming Technology (IGT), Megabucks was a response to Nevada casinos being overshadowed by state lotteries and their enticing mega-million dollar jackpots. The idea was simple and alluring; pouring a fraction of each Megabucks spin into a jackpot that could be snatched up by anyone who tries their luck at any of the approximately 750 machines scattered across Nevada. The longer the wait, the larger the jackpot looming.

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While IGT – who cradles the responsibility of paying out the coveted Megabucks jackpots – lent a majority of the information about the biggest payouts, a popular myth that casino establishments bear this responsibility must be dispelled.

Yet, the last staggering win to grace this esteemed list occurred in 2012. While wins still occur – three in 2019 in Vegas alone – ranging from $10.4 to $12.2 million, they fall shy of making the eminent top seven.

At the top of the list is a $39.7 million win on March 21, 2003. An unassuming, 25-year-old software engineer from Los Angeles, who chose to drown his identity in anonymity, made history with the biggest jackpot win ever, not only in Vegas but worldwide. With a $100 investment, a momentary distraction, and a look of disbelief, he found himself standing before a whirlwind of fortune at Excalibur.

Next, on January 26, 2000, a win of $34.9 million etched the tragic tale of Cynthia Jay-Brennan into Vegas history. A cocktail server at the Monte Carlo, her dreams of globe-trotting and newly wedded bliss were brutally usurped by a calamitous car accident merely six weeks after her jackpot hit at the Desert Inn. Today, she remains paralyzed.

On November 15, 1998. A tidy sum of $27.5 million found a home with a 67-year-old Las Vegas woman. A hundred-dollar investment on her preferred machine at Palace Station churned the third-largest jackpot, just as she nervously considered putting a second hundred on the line.

On March 27, 2002, Johanna Huendl–on her quest to taste the sweet savor of victory–landed on a $22.6 million payout at Bally’s (now Horseshoe). The 74-year-old from Covina, California waited for her breakfast when Lady Luck visited her.

June 1, 1999, marked an exceptional day for a 49-year-old business consultant from Illinois. His first-ever Megabucks spin conjured a $21.3 million fortune at Caesars Palace. The spinning tale continued on September 15, 2005, when Elmer Sherwin, a 92-year-old World War II veteran, landed a staggering $21.1 million jackpot at the Cannery Casino, having won $4.6 million at The Mirage in 1989 as well.

Rounding off the top seven, a fortunate individual clinched a $17.3 million win at the M Resort on December 14, 2012, which despite located in Henderson, is close enough to the heart of Vegas.

In the gamblers’ paradise that is Las Vegas, Megabucks continue to draw hopeful punters with a promising dance of destiny, dreams, and yen for adventure. It is an allure that ensures the opening night of each new casino is marked by throngs beelining for a Megabucks machine.