Despite fierce competition from Asia, Las Vegas is still known as the ‘gambling capital of the world’ and with good reason. Ask anyone to give a one-word association of the city and they’re sure to say “casinos”. Whether you think of Caesar’s Palace, The Bellagio or Venetian, the bright lights and big pay-outs are a massive lure for tourists. Over the years, there have been some massive winners in Vegas and here we will run through (lucky) seven of them.
7: The best things in life are free
Or so the song goes, but it was certainly the case in December 2012 when a Las Vegas woman stepped into the M Resort to enjoy a meal with some dining vouchers and went on to play with her free credits. The lucky winner remained anonymous, but it’s believed the winnings were spent on her house and family.
Total pay-out = $17,329,817
6: Lightning does strike twice
One of very few to hit the jackpot twice, Elmer Sherwin accomplished the near impossible. His first win came in 1989 when he won $4.6 million at The Mirage on its opening day and again in 2005, at the grand old age of 92, he made it a second win – this time winning over $21 million at The Cannery. He was surely the luckiest man in Vegas?
Total pay-out = $21,147,947
5: Caesar’s Palace opens its gates
In June 1999, a 49-year-old Illinois man joined an elite club when he won over $21 million at Caesar’s Palace. Unsurprisingly, he wanted to remain anonymous, but it’s reported that the self-employed business consultant only wagered $10 and spun the wheels once. It’s believed he also won a secondary jackpot of $5,000.
Total pay-out = $21,346,952
4: Happy Birthday to you
In May 2002, Johanna Heundl celebrated her 74th birthday in style, when she won big at Bally’s casino. She had only put $170 in to the machine and beat odds of more than 1 in 50 million to win mega moolah. She hadn’t realised the extent of her win, believing it was $22,000, not $22 million! Talking about her win, she said: “I just bought a new car. It’s not even delivered yet. I have a house. I could remodel, or maybe buy a new house. I will go to Europe to see my family”.
Total pay-out = $22,618,156
3: American pensioner flies high
Imagine setting yourself a limit of $100, but going on to spend $300 on a slot machine – only to win big! That’s exactly what happened to an anonymous player at Palace Station in November 1998. The retired flight attendant from Vegas had won before, hitting a $680,000 jackpot on a Wheel of Fortune slot. But her Megabucks win made the original win look like small change. Lady Luck was certainly on her side.
Total pay-out = $27,580,879
2: Cocktail waitress causes a stir at the Desert Inn
In January 2000, Cynthia Jay-Brennan made the news when she won an extortionate amount on a Megabucks slot machine, defying the odds with a 1 in 7 million chance. She is reported to have only spent $27 on the machine that paid-out in spectacular fashion. However, it wasn’t all good news for the cocktail waitress, only weeks after her win, she was left paralysed when the car she was in with her sister was hit by a drunk-driver.
Total pay-out = $34,955,489
1: No need to hack at Excalibur for software engineer
In March 2003, a 25-year-old software engineer visited Excalibur in Vegas en route to a basketball game and decided to play the slots. Ethan Miller waged $100 on a Megabucks betting terminal and ended up winning the biggest jackpot in Vegas slots history. With staggering odds of 1 in 16.7 million, it was an incredible win and to protect his winnings, he decided to take a pay-out of $1.5 million over a period of 25 years.
Total pay-out = $39,710,826
Feeling lucky? Play online at a live casino and go in search of a big win from the comfort of your own home.